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10 Tips Before Traveling Internationally

When you travel abroad, there are a lot of things you’ll need to remember. From understanding customs and import restrictions to making sure your #healthcare travels with you, these tips will provide you with important information you need to know. With these handy tips, you can make sure your next trip abroad is a safe and enjoyable one!

  1. Passport importance - most countries require that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date and it is recommended that you renew your passport no less than nine months before expiration. Entry requirements may differ depending on your destination of travel and your home country. To ensure you have the right documentation, visit the embassy's website. You can also find specific information on the country of travel here. Carry and leave a photocopy of your passport at home in case it gets lost or stolen in case you need to be able to prove your citizenship.

  2. Take care of your health before travel - Visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to review potential health precautions you may need to take into the destination country. This includes whether the food or water may have warnings or whether you may need up to date vaccinations before you depart. Also, ask you medical insurance provider (carrier) if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, and you want to add extra coverage, consider medical travel insurance.

  3. Register with STEP - Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP) enrollment is free at to receive travel and security updates about your destination, and to help the U.S. Department of State reach you in an emergency. Groups or organizations can create an account and upload a spreadsheet with contact details for multiple travelers.

  4. Get guidebooks - Guidebooks usually include maps, keywords or phrases, and give you enough detail on certain sites that you won’t need to purchase the pamphlet at the venue. And download apps before you travel. Avoid downloading charges from your wireless carrier and get your apps before you leave. Suggested apps for international travel are: Google Translate, SitOrSquat, Citymapper, GeoBlue, XE Currency, WiFi Map.

  5. Make sure your credit card will work - European banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards. Sometimes banks think that fraud may be occurring if transactions are suddenly happening in Rome when you’re from Michigan, and they will turn off your card as a security measure.

  6. Bring an adapter - Countries have different size plugs and voltage. So if you want to use your Smart Phone, make sure you can charge it. A power strip can be a way to cheat and charge multiple devices off of one adapter.

  7. Combine several methods of money - Credit cards are ideal for larger purchases and debit cards can often provide you with good exchange rates. Cash is always worth carrying when your traveling abroad as not every place accepts plastic, especially important places like trains or buses.

  8. Buy tickets in advance - Know where you want to sight see and places you want to visit? By your tickets in advance and skip the lines as well as find deals targeted towards you to save on the cost.

  9. Make sure your phone works internationally. Do your homework in advance and call your phone service provider. There's usually a charge for setting up your phone for abroad usage, but it is much less than the roaming charges you’ll get if you don’t.

  10. Know who to call in an Emergency. There are tons of valuable resources to help assist you in the event of an emergency through the U.S. Department of State. Here are a few to keep in mind when you travel abroad. Medical emergencies, Victims of crime, Natural disasters, Parental child abductions, Missing persons, Arrests, Deaths, Lost or stolen passports

Part of the fun of traveling is the adventure. The best practices for travel is being prepared for those unforeseen circumstance that pop up. Be aware of what to look for, keep safe, and enjoy your travels!

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