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While most trips go smoothly, you should always prepare for less than ideal, but common situations. Don’t leave for your next trip without this short, but important trip checklist. I go through this things to pack for vacation list before every trip I take, and being prepared in advance has saved me more than a handful of times!
Especially when it comes to money and your travel documents, being prepared for any situation that comes up on vacation is invaluable. You want to enjoy your trip, so take a few minutes in advance to prepare with this practical travel list.
These essential overseas travel checklists will make sure you don’t forget anything important; especially if you’re looking for tips for traveling abroad for the first time.
So let’s get cracking with a trip checklist that hits all of the most essential things to do before traveling abroad!
If you don’t download offline Google Maps and Google Translate to your phone as one of your top trip checklist items you’re missing out! If you don’t have access to data while traveling, you won’t be able to find live directions or translate phrases.
To download an offline Google Map, open Google Maps and tap the three lines in the top left corner. Tap “offline maps” then download a custom map. It will allow you to select an area, like Paris, for example. Then you can download the map and access it even if you don’t have data. This is a perfect tip for a Europe travel checklist so you will never get lost even if you can’t access the internet.
In the same vein, if you’re traveling somewhere where you will need to speak or understand a different language, you can download language packs to access offline from Google Translate. To download the offline language, open Google Translate, click Settings (or the gear icon), then tap offline translation. It will give you the option to download offline translation files for dozens of languages.
Make sure to download these vacation list offline resources from home BEFORE your trip. You don’t want to arrive in a different country without a map and a way to communicate with locals!
Many other countries will not let you travel on a passport which has less than 6 months of time left on it. So check your passport expiration date now, and if it’s coming up on 6 months before it expires, renew it asap. When I renewed mine earlier this year it only took about two weeks from the day I mailed the application to when I got my new passport booklet back. Not all passport renewals will go that smoothly, so leave time before your trip to process any necessary renewals.
Check out if you can renew by mail or in person at the State Department’s website.
And make sure you know if you need a visa to travel to other countries as well. When my friend and I went to China last year I was a total Chinese visa noob and didn’t realize we’d need them. We had to pay an extra fee to get them expedited. Oop.
So be sure to put passport and visa check ups high on your trip checklist–especially if you’re looking for practical tips for traveling abroad for the first time!
One of my top things to do before traveling abroad on my international travel checklist is to pack 2-3 credit cards plus my no-ATM fee debit card.
All of my favorite credit cards do not have foreign transaction fees and come with built in travel protection. They also accrue travel reward points as you use them, so you’re banking future travel by spending now!
Always at the top of my Europe travel checklist is to pack 2-3 credit cards. It’s best to keep one in your wallet and one somewhere else in your room. The important thing is that they’re separate. If you lose your wallet, you’ll have a backup card ready to go! Keep some cash with this backup credit card, too.
One of the first things I do when I land in a new destination is use my Charles Schwab ATM debit card to take out money from the airport ATM. I do it at the airport for a few reasons. You’re likely not going to get pick-pocketed or scammed at an airport since it’s a highly controlled environment. I also like having some local currency in my wallet before even leaving the airport. Some countries still use cash more than cards and you don’t want to get stuck without a few bucks.
The Charles Schwab ATM card, also reimburses you for any ATM fees anywhere around the world. It’s saved me hundreds of dollars over the years. You accept the fees (usually $2-$5 per withdraw) when you use the ATM machine, then Schwab reimburses the fees into your account automatically.
Many credit card companies allow you to add travel alerts or report travel dates directly in your online credit card account. This is important so the credit card company doesn’t flag your foreign transactions as fraud. The last thing you want is to make one charge, have your cards turned off, and have to figure out how to make an international call to the bank to turn it back on.
While we’re still talking about cards and wallets, leave anything non-essential in your wallet at home before you depart for your trip! This includes things like library cards, local metro cards, work IDs, and anything non-essential to your trip checklist. If you lose your wallet you will just need to replace a few items and not everything.
Google Drive and Dropbox are the technology of travelers for a reason! Take photos of all of your important documents and cards. This includes your passport, front and backs of credit and debit cards, health insurance cards, AAA cards, driver’s licenses, or anything which should have a backup copy.
As part of your trip checklist you can even screenshot or print confirmations for all of your tours and tickets and digitize copies into the same “travel folder.”
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