Tips for Traveling Abroad for the First Time

Are you excited for your very first trip abroad? Not sure how to prepare beforehand? These tips for traveling abroad will help you prepare when it comes to packing your luggage, managing your money, protecting your health and researching your location beforehand.


Pack Your Bags for a Trip Abroad

• Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag. To be cautious, pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag just in case your airline loses your luggage.
• Take 2 Forms of ID. Before you make it to the airport, make sure that you at least have 2 forms of ID for when you get to your check point.
• Bring snacks. You never know when you will need a quick bite on the plane. Stick to nonperishable items like crackers, chips, granola bars, or other things that are packaged. Veer away from perishables like fruit or vegetables because these are usually not acceptable to fly with.
• Pack Your Electronic Chargers. You do not want to be left running through stores in a new place for a charger when you could be getting a tan on the beach. Make sure this is at the top of your packing list as well!
• Check Voltage of Electronics & Bring Adapter. When you travel abroad, sometimes countries will have different voltages than your home country’s devices. It is good to check the voltages of the electronics you will be taking and purchase an adapter to use in the sockets of the place you will be staying at. You can easily find these at your local electronic store.
• Getting a bag check. Each airline has its own set of guidelines as to how many bags can be checked or carried on for free. Make sure to look up what your airline’s rules are to avoid any incremental fees.
• Activate your phone’s global capabilities. Talk to your cell phone provider to see how you can get your phone to work internationally. There might be charges to do this so make sure to check before leaving for your trip!

Manage Your Security & Health Pre-Travel

• Get Vaccinations & Fill Your Prescriptions. Double check and make sure that you have all the proper vaccinations for the country you will be traveling to and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions.
• Check in with your Medical Insurance Provider. Ask your medical insurance provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, and you want to add extra coverage, consider supplemental insurance.
• Make sure your passport and visa are up to date. Some countries require your passport to be valid up to six months after your return date. Make sure to renew your passport or visa before your travels to avoid being denied entry into the country that you are trying to visit.
• Make 2 copies of your passport. If your passport gets stolen or lost you want to be sure that you can get back into the country or be able to prove your citizenship. One copy should stay with you and leave the second one with someone your trust like a friend of family back at home.
• Register with your embassy. If there’s a problem in the country you are visiting, registering at an embassy will make it easier for your government to contact you and get you to safety.

Track & Use Your Money Abroad

• Look up the monetary conversion before you go. Gain an understanding of how to convert your money to the currency of the country you are visiting before your trip.
• Make sure your credit card will work in the country you are visiting. 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.
• Go to a bank or ATM in the country you are visiting. The conversion centers in airports or around cities tend to be very misleading. You won’t get charged as many fees at the ATM or the bank, and the conversion will be exact.
• Always have local cash. Not every place takes credit cards. Especially public transportation centers that provide trains or buses.
• Call your bank and credit card provider. Sometimes banks think that fraud may be occurring if transactions are suddenly happening in South Africa when you’re from New York, and they will turn off your card as a security measure to make sure no one stole your card.
• Check the country’s entrance/exit fees. Some countries require travelers to pay to enter or leave the country. These fees are not included in the price of your airline ticket and can range from $25 to $200.

Research the Area You’re Traveling To

• Buy tickets now for the places you want to visit or see. If you know you want to visit a specific attraction – like a must-see monument, museum, show, etc. – that requires you to purchase tickets, get them beforehand so you have one less thing to worry about when you get there!
• Reference guidebooks. To get a good feel for the place that you are visiting, check out guidebooks that can give you the inside scoop. These books are a great way to become familiar with places to see, the culture, food, and other places to get around to on your travels.
• Research events going on while you are there. You do not have to plan your every move when going to a new country, but it doesn’t hurt to see what local things will be happening. It is a great way to meet locals and enjoy the place you are visiting.

We hope these tips for your first trip abroad were helpful! It is always exciting to plan your next adventure in a place that is completely new to you. Do not forget that your passport is the first step in planning for an international trip! If you need help with getting your passport, reach out to Sam’s Passport to get started on your application.