Traveling abroad is always an exciting time. Whether it’s your first trip or your twentieth, there’s a lot of planning that’s required beforehand. This checklist will help you with the preparation, allowing for a stress-free trip.
Six Months Before:
- Get your passports and other necessary travel documents well in advance.
- If you already have a passport, be mindful of the expiration date. Some places will not let you travel if the expiration date is within one year of your trip.
- Make two copies of your passports—one for yourself, and one to leave with someone at home.
Four Months Before:
Learn the Culture
- Learn basic words and phrases of the foreign country.
- Research any holidays that will be taking place during your stay.
- Learn basic etiquette—how much to tip, modesty, and how to greet certain people.
Two Months Before:
- Inform your doctor of your travels, and check to see if there are any required vaccinations.
- Pack enough of your medication to last your entire trip, plus a few extra days. Keep medicine in its original packaging.
- Look into travel insurance—it could be worth the money.
One Month Before:
Manage Your Money
- Notify your bank and credit card companies that you’ll be traveling abroad.
- Research the exchange rate before you leave.
- Take out a small amount of currency beforehand in case you need emergency funds as soon as you arrive. You can get most currencies at your local bank, or they can order it for you.
Three Weeks Before:
- Find places that offer free Wi-Fi.
- Get an international phone and data plan.
- Purchase converters and adapters that will be able to be plugged into outlets in a foreign country. Be mindful of your electronic power wattage as well.
Two Weeks Before:
Avoid Jet Lag
- Change your sleep schedule. Start going to bed earlier a few days before traveling.
- Pack a neck pillow and blanket to help you sleep during the flight.
- Reset your watch to the destination’s time zone upon boarding the plane.
Debunking common jet lag myths
- Stop eating half a day before your flight, and only resume once you arrive at your new destination.
Fact: Skipping food all together won’t help. Instead, eat healthily and don’t overdo it.
- Take sleeping pills.
Fact: Jet lag is much more than a lack of sleep. It’s based largely on light, which sleeping pills won’t help with. They will end up making you feel worse in the long run.
- Fly in business or first class.
Fact: Sure, flying in a higher class will help limit travel fatigue, but will it help you avoid jet lag? Probably not. Again, jet lag is bigger than a sleeping issue.