Making an international trip can be quite daunting; besides the paper work and travel documentation that could be lengthy if not organized well, there are other important things to consider before boarding a flight.
Travel companies usually provide advisories for international passengers depending upon the destination you are headed to. However, factoring in details pertaining to certain vital circumstances can make all the difference between an enjoyable trip and a botched trip.
Some of the broad guidelines that are useful as a checklist for you before going abroad are:
• Ensure travel documents like tickets, passports, visas, accompanying papers etc. are kept separately in a pouch that can be accessed easily
• Make at least two additional copies of all documents; one set can be hand carried while the other can be packed in checked-in luggage in case originals get misplaced or stolen. In addition, leaving a copy of the passport with a family member or a close friend can be useful in cases of lost or stolen passports. A scanned soft copy in your email account can also be extremely useful.
• If you carrying travelers’ cheques or other currency documentation from a bank, ensure that it is included in the travel documentation kit.
• Ensure Credit or Debit Cards are usable in the destination you are traveling to. It’s good to inform the bank if you are going on an extended trip for 6 months or more.
• Keep abreast of currency conversion rates. It’s advisable to cash currency or travelers’ cheques at bank branches instead of airport counters where commissions can be exorbitant.
• It’s very useful to carry some local currency as credit cards may not be accepted in all places like underground trains, buses and taxis.
• Know about entry / exit fees when you are traveling. These charges are usually not included in the ticket and can range from a few dollars to as much as a few hundreds.
Health & Security
• Getting a complete health check-up and carrying certified documents for vaccinations and medical insurance is a must. Carrying a prescription from a medical practitioner for medication you are on is necessary.
• Check with insurance provider if medical emergencies are covered.
• Remember to register with the embassy or consulate so that in case of unforeseen circumstances or conditions, your safety can be assured.
Research local conditions and factors
• Carry a map of the location and get as much information on local conditions like weather forecasts etc.
• Guidebooks on local sightseeing spots, events, festivals etc. with timings, costs, directions to reach etc. are a must.
• Try to learn a few important words and phrases if a common language is not widely spoken; carrying a translation book can be useful to make a conversation while shopping etc.
• Having some knowledge about local customs, dress codes, and restrictions can help to a great extent.
Packing & luggage
• It’s advisable to carry a set of clothes and essentials in hand baggage in case checked-in baggage gets misplaced or arrives later.
• Read travel regulations and restrictions on the number of bags that are allowed for check-in and cabin along with size and weight of suitcases and travel bags.
• Carry a snack like a roll, sandwich or cookies and a bottle of water to get you through after landing if there are delays and snags at the airport.
• Electronics like chargers, adapters, and iPods should be checked to ensure the voltage they work in matches that in the country you are going to; activating travel apps and roaming facilities on the mobile phone is very handy.