12 Tips for Easier International Travel
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, going to another country always has some idiosyncrasies attached. In order to navigate them more smoothly, here are some tips regarding your hotel, passport, airline, and more, so your plans go off without a hitch.
1. Booking Flights
The first thing you’re likely to do is book your flights. You can use a travel site like Expedia to find the cheapest airlines but then check the airline’s site itself. If it is a foreign airline that has the best deals, check out the price from within the country as well. In some cases, it’s even lower.
2. Passport and Visa
Be sure you know the visa requirements to enter your destination. That may seem obvious, but included in this is the fact that same countries require you to have six months left on your passport.
3. Booking Accommodation
In addition to finding a hotel in the location you want and with business services (if needed), make sure that the staff speaks English. They can be your biggest help once you land. Also be sure to get a business card on arrival so you have your location handy.
4. Getting Cash
Many people now prefer to take cash out of an ATM as needed. The downside to this is fees which can include your bank, the ATM, and currency exchange fees. In some cases, your bank may have an affiliation with one in the country you’re going to which will allow you to save some money.
5. Exchanging Money
It may be cheaper to wait until you get to your destination to exchange money and, once you get there, it may be cheaper at a money exchange place or at a bank, depending on the country. Ask your hotel before you get there which they recommend.
6. Notify Your Banks
Always notify the issuing banks for debit cards and credit cards to make sure that they don’t block your card when you use it internationally, thinking it’s stolen or cloned.
7. Passport Copies
It’s a good idea to make copies of your passport when you travel, and put them in different places, just in case the unthinkable happens and it gets lost or stolen. This can make replacement much easier.
8. Credit and Debit Card Information
It’s also a good idea to have your debit card and credit card numbers written someplace, along with the number to call if they need to be cancelled.
9. Don’t Take Them With You
Rather than take your passport and credit cards everywhere you go, consider leaving them in your hotel room safety box if they aren’t strictly needed for your day’s or evening’s activities.
10. Phone Plan
International travel is far easier if your phone works wherever you’re going. Check into your company’s alternatives for your destination or, if that doesn’t work, ask your hotel if there is a decent local, short-term option. Internet access when WiFi is not available can be key. Internationally, WhatsApp can be an extremely useful way of coordinating with people on the ground and at home.
11. Getting Around
Check with your hotel, and ask for a local map if warranted. While Google Maps is often extremely useful if you have that internet plan on your phone, it’s not always 100% accurate in other destinations.
Besides your prescriptions, it’s smart to bring some basic items that you might need in an emergency, especially something for the stomach, diarrhea, and a pain reliever. While there are sure to be drugstores, if something you ate hits you in the middle of the night, it’s best to be prepared.
International travel can be enjoyable, even when it’s a business trip, if you’re properly prepared. Making friends with your hotel, having your passport ready, and choosing the right airline are among the ways of ensuring the most painless experience possible.