Airlines, hotels and tour operators handle information for millions of people each year. So, it’s not all that surprising when suddenly there’s no record of your tickets. It never hurts to call up and reconfirm your reservations the week before your visit and you should always keep confirmation emails on hand to clear up any possible confusion.
Technology is far from perfect, and if you’re anything like me, your phone battery is dying at every crutial moment. Print everything out and carry it with you; email confirmations, phone numbers, addresses, copies of your passport, etcetera. It might be a bit of a pain but when something happens to your phone you’ll be glad you have a backup plan.
Connecting flights are inconvienient. Whats even more inconvienient? Missing your connecting flight because you scheduled it too early. Book the second flight at least one hour after the scheduled landing time of your first flight; two hours if it’s a large or unfamiliar airport.
First, make sure your card is approved for international use—some aren’t and others have fees for using your card abroad. Depending on your situation, signing up for a new credit card, especially one with travel rewards, could save you a bunch of money.
Then, for each card you’ll be using abroad, let the company know exaclty when you’ll be out of the country. They need this information to prevent fraud. If you use your card abroad without warning your company, they’ll likely freeze your accounts for suspicious activity.
Some international ATMs only let you pull money from your primary account. Make sure you know which of your accounts that is and check that you have all the money you could need in there.
Each carrier has their own set of policies (and inflated charges) for international use—research your carriers policy beforehand. Many people choose to leave their phones off for the duration of their trips, but keep in mind that this requires some additional planning and adjustment.
Of course you know you need a valid passport, but some countries require other documents for entry. Depending on your destination, they might demand visas, proof of vaccination, or even charge fees for entering and exiting. The Department of State has a webpage where you can check requirements of each recognized country.
Obviously the best way to ensure your luggage makes it to your destination with you is to carry it on, but that’s not always an option. The best option then, is treating your carry-on like a backup bag. All important documents and expensive items should be in your carry-on anyway, but keep a change of clothes, important medication and a few toiletries in there, as well.
It’s a great idea to track down some information on the customs of the country you’re visiting, but it’s vital to know what’s happening there. You’ll want to keep track of economic issues and political unrest, you should know if the country is prone to extreme weather and you need to know where the U.S. Embassy is located. Additionally, it can be hard to find news on hazards like the counterfeit gin situation, but reading up on news from the area is important in catching on to troubling trends.