Things to Do Before Traveling Abroad

Expert Tips: Things to Do Before Traveling AbroadPlanning to travel abroad this summer? Whether you are traveling to nearby Canada or across the globe, you’ll need to do a few things before you go abroad. You want to enjoy your vacation, not spend it worried, anxious, or dealing with an unforeseen problem. We asked a few travel experts what things to do before traveling abroad, and here are the some of the best responses.

International Travel Tips: Things to Do Before Traveling Abroad

Financial Things to Do Before Traveling Abroad

Let your credit card company know your travel plans, so they won’t block your credit card when they spot unusual activity in a foreign country. – John Z Wetmore,

Make sure your insurance covers active travel and is valid outside the USA. While travelling, carry your medical profile and insurance card on your person at all times. – Tom Hale,

Always bring at least $100 in USD for emergencies, but the best exchange rates will be had from ATMs. It is almost never beneficial to change currencies in an airport. Since almost every major airport has an ATM, I withdraw cash on arrival. – Ryan Lile, The Savvy Traveler

Change your PIN – Make sure your debit card has no more than a four-digit PIN number for ease of use at international ATMs; if it doesn’t, contact your bank to change it. – Bennett Schwartz, TD Bank’s Foreign Exchange Managing Director

One thing many families take for granted is that their cell phones or other mobile devices will work abroad. This is not always the case, and if they do work then they can expect to come home to a huge international roaming bill from their wireless carrier. Families should check with their carrier before leaving and take any necessary steps, such as purchasing an international SIM card or cell phone, to make sure they can stay safely (and affordably) connected while traveling in other countries. – James O’Neill,

Passports and Documentations to Get Before Traveling Abroad

Many countries require passports to be valid for at least 6 months after the trip. If your passport is about to expire double check the rules for where you are traveling to give yourself enough time to get a new passport. – Ann Belle, Travel Turtle

Make sure everyone’s passport is current; kids’ passports expire sooner that adults’ and 5 years can pass before you know it. – Eileen P. Gunn, FamiliesGo!

Scan all your passports, credit cards & other travel documents, and email to yourself. If all your luggage and bags were lost or stolen, you could access the information from any computer. – Jacquie Whitt, Adios Adventure Travel

Look up the voltage of the outlets in the country you’re visiting. You may need a voltage converter or an adapter to use your electronics. Get it before you leave, just to be on the safe side. – Ross Hudgens Community Outreach,

Medical Things to Do Before Traveling Abroad

Pack your cold medicine…or those things you know addresses ailments. In countries like the UK, cold medicine is not sold over the counter, so, taking some basics, like Nyquil/Dayquil, Sudafed, nose spray, aspirin, etc., will save you a huge “headache” (no pun intended) finding something similar in a foreign sundries shop. – Linda Beltran, Director of Communications, Mandarin Oriental, DC (editors note – be sure they are legal in your destination country – see the tip below)

Be sure to carry copies of prescriptions, including eyeglass prescriptions with you. Well before you travel overseas, make sure that the medications or medical equipment you use at home are legal in the country you will be visiting. Even some commonly used nonprescription medications purchased over the counter in the United States are illegal or require notarized
prescriptions, a special permit and other paperwork from the government of the country you will be visiting. Always check the Embassy web site for information.- Carla Sydney Stone, International Development & Technical Assistance LLC

Be sure to check out our packing lists for travel.

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About Jodi Grundig

Jodi Grundig has loved traveling since she was a little girl. She started blogging in 2007 on her popular review site Mom's Favorite Stuff and after doing quite a bit of family traveling, decided to launch her own travel blog. Jodi resides in Massachusetts with her husband, eight-year old son, ten-year old daughter, and Havanese dog.


  1. Great post, Jodi! I did most of these things but missed a few. :)

  2. I *need* to do the scanning trick. Have been meaning to do this for a long time!!!!

  3. Excellent tips! Bookmarking this one ;).

  4. Packing cold meds is so clutch. I got sick on my honeymoon and was miserable!

    • Definitely, especially things like Sudafed that you can’t easy get at a hotel gift shop (even here in the US).

  5. Jodi you have collated useful travel tips for international travel. I would like to add some more to the list.

    1. If you are going for active travel, get your complete medical examination done before leaving your home town. Carry a medical certificate stating that you are fit.

    2. Pack activity specific clothing. For example, if you want to do a high altitude trek in the Himalayas, you will need woolens.

    3. Familiarize yourself with currency of the country you are planning to visit. You should be able to recognize all bills and coins of different denomination.


  6. Always have your proper document with you and yur credit card updated. Do not forget to bring cash also.

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