Travel Tip: How to Prepare for an International Trip

You know the feeling of how chaotic everything seems a couple of weeks leading up to a big trip? Welcome to our lives. I don’t know about you guys, but we’re traveling to Spain & Portugal in 2 WEEKS from this Thursday & our to-do list is LONG! We have most everything planned and ready to go, but that final checklist is so important because you can’t risk forgetting anything major. With us currently getting ready for an international trip, we thought we’d give you guys some insights as to what 7 big checklist items we all need to make sure we cross off before checking into our flights:

1.PASSPORT / VISA READY

Now, if you haven’t done this in advance, you’re probably not going to make it that flight. But, if you have everything ready to go, make sure you remember where you keep that info. Don’t wait till you leave to pack that passport- have it handy and ready to go! For more information on travel documents, check out our Travel Tips: 10 Steps for Planning Your Next Trip  post for more details!

 

2.BOOKING ARRANGEMENTS

You know how Santa Claus makes a list and checks it twice? Well, I check it about 10x. Between my flight information and my lodging information, I make sure I have everything I need and all related app’s are downloaded! I’m extremely OCD and a planner for a living, so I always re-look everything over a million times and make sure everything is perfect, ready to go!  You don’t need to be like me (its sometimes a curse) but it’s good to pre check everything just in case you need to make any last minute modifications.


3.OUTLET ADAPTERS

Now this is one of those “common sense” things, but let’s be real- this is often one of the last things people think about.  The more you travel, the easier this becomes as you collect adapters. But if you’ve never been to a certain part of the world and you want to charge your phone, camera or straightener, you better hop on Amazon and get the right outlet adapter! Here is a reliable list of each country and their outlet types!

 

4.HEALTH 

Depending on your passport and the country you are visiting, you may or may not need to get some vaccinations before, or after, your trip. Depending where you go and when you come back, be sure to check out the CDC website ahead of time for more information regarding health tips and vaccine requirements.

5.LANGUAGE

Thankfully, most countries speak English, or at least most major cities have English speaking employees (i.e. Restaurants, museums, hotels, etc). Regardless, we like to educate ourselves with some basic words & phrases when going to a new country. I, Allie, am bilingual so that helps me a lot when I go to countries with a Latin language influence because it’s easier for me to communicate. Regardless, we recommend downloading Duolingo on your mobile phone- It’s a free and easy to use app that guides your through basic words &phrases in many different languages.

 

6.INTERNATIONAL PHONE PLAN

Most phone providers nowadays have some kind of international plan. AT&T Passport  is what we use while abroad and since our trips are less than 30 days at a time, it works well for us. You can pick between 3 packages- the difference between the 3 primarily comes down to how much data you want to pay for. While abroad we leave our phone on airplane mode and use Wi-Fi when we can, this helps us not over use data and keeps the cost fixed. If/when we need to google maps something or just google something in general, then we turn off airplane mode and use the data accordingly. Wifi is fairly common in bigger cities, so just do some searching for where you can hop on!
Fun Fact- There are cities out there that provide WiFi! Just do your research 🙂

7.MONEY 

The best advice we can give you is to invest in a travel credit card. We talked about Chase Sapphire on our last post Travel Tip: How To Plan The Perfect Honeymoon , but we will gladly endorse them again. With Chase Sapphire Preferred you can use your credit card anywhere while traveling and rack up your points as you get 2x the points while traveling! The even better part is NO INTERNATIONAL FEES!
As for the cash portion- DO take some cash with you! Chris and I save our coins in between trips and then cash the coins in at our bank for bills. Usually, we get about $300 worth in coins and we use that cash to travel with (sometimes paying in cash is easier than card). Use XE to monitor exchange rates and then see with your bank how much they will charge you to exchange there. Honestly, we usually just exchange ours at the airport when we land, but there are many locations and options for currency exchange.

Depending where you are going or what you are doing, there’s so much to be done. Packing can be stressful enough with what you want to take and what you need to remember. Hopefully this list helps your prioritize and get all the important details arranged!

-Allie & Chris