Getting nervous before an upcoming international trip is quite natural. The thoughts of being in a foreign country, adhering to the foreign laws, and living with complete strangers can build anxiety in no time. Furthermore, it has been clinically proven that stress and anxiety can cause forgetfulness. That’s why I say that it never hurts to be prepared in advance to handle the forseeable tricky situations, when traveling abroad. So, here’s a checklist for your next international trip:
1. Collect your Passport and Visa
- Make sure that you’re carrying the passport with you and at any time, it’s within your reach. Don’t make the lethal mistake of checking it in with your luggage. Also, make sure that you have the visa stamp on your passport, if it applies. Typically, the visa has to be applied for weeks or months before the travel and you should have the visa successfully granted before the dates of travel. Although, in some cases, a Visa on arrival is also issued.
2. Carry local currency in cash
- Many countries, especially in Asia, are not yet digitally transformed and still follow cash payments as a norm. So, instead of having to find a suitable ATM in a foreign land and paying an unreasonable service fees for every transaction, carry a reasonable amount of cash in the local currency.
3. Pack Appropriate clothing
- I was in Sweden and realized upon arrival that I don’t have a warm enough jacket to save me from the biting cold weather. Embarrassing, I know. When I went to buy a jacket at one of the stores in Sweden I realized how expensive Sweden is. I ended up buying an extremely overpriced jacket that I’ll barely use again. Bad value for money! So make sure that you’re well prepared, keeping in mind the weather conditions of the place that you’re visiting!
4. Install the Local apps
- London has banned Uber. China has banned google maps, Uber, twitter, gmail and Facebook. But there’s always an alternative. For example, China uses didi for local cab services. So make sure that you’ve done the research for the local apps for cab services, hotel search, maps/ navigation services, local search engines, e-commerce websites, hospitals and social networking in advance. Make sure that you install these apps before the trip commencement!
5. Inform your credit/debit cards
- Foreign transactions on your credit/debit card, without prior intimation, can be mistaken as fraudulent activities and cause a temporarily block on your card services. Thus, keep your bank informed in advance. Additionally, the banks can provide you with benefits, such as, waiver of international transaction fees, and travel fraud protection!
6. Get international medical insurance
- Check with your medical insurance services if you’re covered for international medical insurance for the country that you’re traveling to. Make sure that you have a list of hospitals that you can go to, in case of an emergency. While typing this I’m realizing how boring it might sound, but, it’s better to be prepared than to be sorry, right ?
7. Clean your place before leaving
- You return from an amazing trip, all charged up with fresh positive energy to change the world, and as soon as you enter home you’re put off the by the sight of your messy room, uncleaned dishes, or unwashed clothes. Avoid that! Make sure your house is as clean as the hotel room that you’re going to get used to living in for the next few days!
8. Brace yourself for the jet lag
- From my personal experience, jet lag can last upto 7-8 days. I don’t have a fool proof solution, but, a few things that have worked for me are – a cold shower right after the longest flight, sound sleep if the arrival is in the night, and if its day time arrival then avoid sleeping at all and going for a walk/run instead. I wouldn’t recommend taking any medicines or pills to fight jet lag. Keep it as natural as you can!
9. Prepare a travel itinerary
- Traveling to a new place can get extremely overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. There’s always so much to do in so less time and that’s when it helps to have an itinerary that you can follow. Although you don’t have to strictly stick to the plan and there should always be room for exploration and detours!
10. Learn the common local phrases
- Eat, live and speak like a local when you’re traveling! Make sure that you’ve learned how to speak the common phrases in the local language such as hello, thank you, pardon, sorry and more! Locals always appreciate a genuine attempt by a tourist to speak in the local language and learn more about the culture!
I hope that this helps! If you feel like I’ve missed to add something important in the checklist or you’d like to share one of your personal learning experiences then wrote in the common section below!