By : Devin Morrissey
You’ve booked your tickets, found the perfect AirBnBs, packed your bags, and the only thing left to do is board your flight. Whether it’s to begin living as a digital nomad or a short but much-needed vacation, planning and embarking on an international trip is exhilarating. And though an exciting adventure is ahead of you, it’s important to prepare for things that could go wrong.
Unexpected roadblocks that are out of your control can easily turn a stress-free trip into a nightmare if you aren’t organized and equipped to deal with them. Here are some tips to avoid common pitfalls while you travel abroad:
Being Aware of Medical Care
While no one wants to get sick or hurt before a trip, you never know what may happen when you’re out enjoying yourself. From getting sick on the plane to twisting your ankle on a cobblestoned street, there are endless opportunities for both minor and major medical emergencies.
Get all of your medical information and items in order before you leave. Be sure to check what your health insurance will and won’t cover, and consider getting supplemental coverage if necessary. Gather any contact information you may need, in case you need to get in touch with your regular medical providers. Pack a small first aid kit with your prescriptions and basic necessities to deal with small accidents.
Managing Your Finances
Unless you’re treating yourself to a luxury vacation, traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. And while you can cut costs on the road, saving money before you go is a necessity. Budget for the unexpected. If you need to change a flight to get back home for an emergency or book a more expensive hotel room than you anticipated, you’ll be grateful for the cushion.
Bringing a credit card can help with unexpected expenses, especially large ones. However, if you use it to pay for day-to-day charges, you can incur additional fees. Credit card use varies greatly around the world, so research the common practices of your destination. If you’re visiting a region that doesn’t use credit cards frequently, your bank or local vendors may charge additional fees to use them.
If you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, consider volunteering for part of even the duration of your trip. While you likely won’t receive any monetary compensation for your efforts, the cultural rewards are endless. You have the chance to help others, connect with locals, and immerse yourself in world that many tourists never get see.
Maintaining your personal safety while abroad is tantamount to a successful trip. Make copies of all your important documents, including (but not limited to) your passport and bank cards. Keep an electronic version for yourself, and stick a physical copy in each of your bags. Consider leaving a physical or electronic copy with a trusted relative or friend back home, so if you lose access to all of your documents, someone else has the information.
Don’t be an easy target. Thieves and pickpockets will often steal out of convenience, so make things hard for them. Bags that hang off of one shoulder are easy to snatch, so carry a cross-body bag or backpack as your daypack. Avoid dressing like a tourist, and pay attention to your surroundings, especially at popular landmarks.
If someone does steal your bag or wallet, to avoid losing everything you brought, carry only the amount of cash you will need for the day and leave debit or credit cards at your accommodations. Leave your passport in your accommodations, unless it’s necessary to take it with you for crossing country borders. Store extra money and important documents in a locked safe if your hotel provides one, or in your locked luggage if not.
It may be a cliché, but expect the unexpected while traveling. You never anticipate or hope for things to go wrong abroad, but if you aren’t prepared for it, unpleasant events can become disasters. It can be stressful, but you have the ability to make international travel as stress-free as possible. Take the necessary time to prepare so you can fully enjoy your international travels.