25 International Travel Tips Before Your Flight Takes Off

International Travel Tips

Traveling internationally can be a great break for business owners. And sometimes, it can even be necessary for facilitating business growth. But there’s a lot that goest into organizing and planning for international travel. Here are some international travel tips to help ensure that your next excursion runs as smoothly as possible.

International Travel Tips

Make Sure Your Passport is Up to Date

You likely already know that you need a passport in order to travel internationally. But even if you have a passport that you’ve used in the past, you need to make sure that it’s up-to-date. Passports obtained by adults are usually good for ten years. But make sure that yours isn’t expired or even within months of the expiration date, as some countries won’t accept travelers with passports that are about to expire in case there are issues during your trip.

Make Copies of Your Passport

When traveling internationally, your passport is your main source of identification. So it’s very important that you keep it safe. In fact, making color copies before your trip can be a good safeguard. Keep a copy in each of your bags and consider even leaving one at home with a family member just in case.

Get Any Necessary Visas

Some countries also require you to apply for a visa before entering. You’ll need to look up the specific requirements of the country or countries you plan on visiting with the embassy or State Department when planning your trip.

Notify the State Department

It can also be a good idea to notify the State Department of your travel plans just so there are government officials aware of your whereabouts in case of emergency.

Bring an Outlet Adapter

Electrical outlets vary in different parts of the world. So you don’t want to make it to your destination only to find that none of your electronics work. Instead, purchase an outlet adapter that will work with the outlets in the country or countries you plan on visiting.

Check the Voltage of Your Electronics

Some outlets also have different limits when it comes to voltage. So make sure that the electronics you’re bringing are going to be able to work within those limits.

Invest in a Good Pair of Headphones

Whether you’re waiting around in an airport, on a train or trying to work in a noisy coffee shop or hostel, headphones can be a necessary tool for international travelers. Find a pair that are good at canceling out noise and are also comfortable for long wear.

Look Up Monetary Conversions

When traveling between countries, conversion rates for money are likely to change. But while you might get different rates at different times or in different locations, it’s a good idea to at least look up the rates beforehand so you know if you’re getting a good deal or if you should possibly try a different location.

Check Your Mobile Coverage

Even if you don’t plan on calling many people during your travels, you should at least have access to a working phone in case of emergencies. So you need to make sure that your phone will work in the locations you’re visiting. You may even need to sign up for an international calling plan that covers the area you plan on visiting.

Turn Off Your Regular Data

It’s also likely that your regular data plan isn’t set up for use overseas. Unless you have an international data plan, it can be a good idea for you to turn off your data and just use WiFi when it’s available.

Get Any Necessary Vaccinations

You may need to get certain vaccinations in order to travel to different countries. The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have information about which vaccinations are necessary or recommended when traveling to various countries or regions.

Get a Letter from Your Doctor for Any Medications

If you’re bringing over any prescriptions or medications, it can be a good idea to get a letter from your doctor in case you come across any issues while going through security in other countries.

Let Your Bank Know Your Travel Plans

If you head to a different country and start charging everything to your credit cards, your bank could see that and freeze your cards or accounts due to fraud concerns. To avoid this, just let your bank or card companies know your travel plans ahead of time.

Check Entrance and Exit Fees

Some countries have fees for entering or exiting that are separate from what you pay for flights. Check to see whether there are any fees involved for the countries you plan on visiting before you leave so that you can be prepared.

Have Some Currency Ahead of Time

Getting just a bit of currency from the countries you plan on visiting beforehand can also be a good idea. You likely don’t want to get too much, because you don’t want to have a lot left over and often credit card rates are better than conversion rates for cash anyway. But some places won’t accept credit cards. And converting your money in airports isn’t always cost effective.

Use Credit Cards When Possible

It’s often more cost effective to use credit cards instead of converting all of your money to the currency of the countries you visit. And since U.S. credit cards are switching over to using chips, they’re more likely to be accepted in other countries than they were in previous years.

Set Up Automatic Bill Pay

While you’re traveling, certain parts of your life at home will continue. Namely, you’ll still likely have to pay bills. So set up automatic bill pay or schedule all of the payments for a time before you leave in case you can’t or don’t have time to access your accounts while traveling.

Put Your Mail on Hold

You can also contact your local Post Office to have them put a hold on or forward your mail so that it doesn’t just pile up in your mailbox while you travel.

Check Internet Coverage

Especially if you plan on getting some work done or being available during your international travels, you’ll likely need an Internet connection. Check with your hotel to see if they have WiFi available. Or you could search around for local connected cafes.

Grab Hotel Business Cards

Even once you’ve reached your destination, don’t let unfamiliar surroundings get you turned around and lost in a strange city. In case you ever need to get back to your hotel and you can’t find anyone who speaks English, having a business card for your hotel can help you communicate where you need to go.

Get an International Maps App

A maps app can also be invaluable when it comes to finding your way around different cities. Just make sure you use one that works in the countries you plan on visiting.

Consider Supplemental Insurance

Your regular health coverage may not cover you in the event that something happens while you’re traveling internationally. But you can purchase supplemental coverage to cover you during your trip. You can even get insurance that will allow you to fly back home in case that becomes necessary.

Carry a Translator Guide

If you’re traveling to countries where you aren’t fluent in the language, carrying a pocket translator guide with common phrases in that language can be a good idea.

Arrange for English Speaking Guides

You can also hire guides to show you around and answer any questions in the language that you’re most comfortable speaking.

Make a List of Must Dos

There are so many ways to travel internationally. You can plan out every last minute, or you can be more spontaneous. But it’s a good idea to at least make a list of the main things that you want to see or accomplish. Then you can make plans to see those things whenever it’s convenient as long as they don’t require you to book ahead of time.

Bring an Extra Set of Clothes in Your Carry-on

Losing luggage is never a good thing. But if it happens, you want to be prepared at least for the immediate future. A change of clothes and a few basic toiletries can help you make it through until your luggage gets found or you can get to a store.

Passports Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

12 Reactions
  1. Wow. That’s a lot of planning! Start early.

    • Definitely – it’s always best to be prepared!

    • These are pretty legit. As an international traveler, I usually do almost all except the state dept. Always good to have a copy of your passport to carry with you so you can leave the real one at the hotel.

  2. How about checking out check-in apps?

  3. It is important to get all your things ready especially when you are travelling. This allows you to prepare for any situation that may come your way.

  4. I love these tips. I think that you have already covered everything here.

  5. I suggest you take photos of your passport, drivers license and any other important documents email them to yourself and keep copies on each electronic device you have. You are more likely to be holding on to your phoneor listening to an iPod when everything else goes…

  6. A proper planning is must before going for an international trip. We should keep in mind that we will experience new things and situation in a foreign country. From packing smartly to booking air tickets and hotels need to be done in time.

  7. Take the time to think through what you bring so you can travel light! Today’s carry on bags are roomy and can accommodate everything you’ll need for a two-week plus trip. If necessary, book a house or apartment with laundry facilities mid-trip. Carrying on can save you in so many ways. I recently had a 6-hour delay and nearly missed flight to Europe, because my friends had to wait on their enormous bags. And if you are a foursome and renting a car, it may only accommodate four carry on-size bags. Who wants to lug big bags?

  8. As far as foreign currency is concerned, I never purchase/exchange money prior to my trip. Upon arrival, I head to the nearest ATM and complete a transaction for enough money to get by for a day or two. That way, I’m never carrying large amounts of money on my person. I’ve never had a problem with a debit card or credit card at any foreign bank. Bank fees are usually very nominal.

  9. Also, it will be good if you download offline maps, as it would be really helpful if you have no local sim card or roaming