15 Things You Need to Do Before Traveling Abroad

As we prepare for a scouting trip in The Netherlands and for our Loire Valley trip, we thought it might be useful to share a few thoughts on things to look into before you travel abroad. A lot of these are common sense, but it is still good to go over a list just to make sure that you don’t forget anything.

  1. Check your passport expiration date!
    The expiration date should be at least six months after you are expected to return from your trip. (We have no idea why that is, but it is!)

    Also be sure to either leave a copy of your passport home with someone who you are not traveling with and/or email yourself a copy of the passport. This way, if you lose it, you still can access the information.

  2. Check for travel warnings and alerts for where you are going.
  3. Bring your Meds!
    If you take any medications, make sure that you have enough with you (preferably in your carry-on bag) to cover your trip, plus a few extra days. Email yourself photocopies of your prescriptions.
  4. Don’t forget extra specs!
    If you wear prescription eye glasses, bring along an extra pair.
  5. Bring some dough!
    Bring along a little money from the country that you are visiting. We prefer to withdraw money from an ATM in the country that we are visiting in order to avoid expensive currency exchange booths. In addition, when possible, use your credit cards abroad. A travel credit card that waives currency exchange charges provides the best exchange rates.
  6. And don’t forget about your insurance
    If you have travel insurance, bring along your insurance policy information. Make sure you have your health insurance information, too.
  7. Let ’em know you will be away
    Notify bank and credit card companies of your travel.
  8. Stop your home mail
  9. Empty your wallet of credit cards that you don’t need for the trip.
  10. Turn your heat or air conditioner to away or vacation mode.  You can maybe do this with your hot water heater also.
  11. Power!
    Understand what electrical outlets are used in the country or countries that you are visiting. Pack adapters. You can see what type of plugs each country uses here.  Bring an extension cord or small power strip so you can plug all of your stuff in using only one adapter.
  12. Download local maps
    Google Maps has an offline feature where you can download maps directly to your phone. You can then use the location services even when you do not have an internet or phone connection. (Look for “Offline areas” in the menu section of the app.)
  13. Use TSA approved locks on your luggage.
  14. Pack some snacks, including chocolate
    Sometimes you just need a little chocolate!
  15. Bring your sense of ADVENTURE!