24 International Travel Hints

Traveling internationally is a big deal, but currently it is also trendy with tags like #wanderlust #suitcaseliving and #adventure. Travel expands your horizons and broadens your mind but it can also be dangerous if not done correctly. There are plenty of blogs telling you how to pack over 100 outfits in a carry-on or how to look good while flying for 14 hours. But here’s a list of things you HAVE to have and NEED to know before you go.  While some of these tips and tricks might not be as exciting as picking a location to fly to or planning out what bikini you are going to wear to those hot springs you have been dreaming of. These travel hints will keep you from falling into a nightmare versus the daydream you were hoping for.

1.  Make sure you have a passport that is valid and where the expiration date is not within the next six months! Make copies of your passport and leave one at home with your roommate, parents, or bestie. Also take a copy with you and store it separately from your actual passport. Trust me you do not want to get stuck in a city for weeks because something happened to your passport.

2.  Get a Visa from destination country make sure you also have copies of this, treat it same as your passport. This is actually also super duper important, especially if you are going to a stricter country as far as entrance and exit policies go.

3.  Sign up for the USA department of state travel alerts. This will let you know if anything major is going on that you need to know about. Also, make sure you read up on the different customs and laws that are prominent in the place you are about to visit.  Some places have very different laws and don’t care if you are a tourist or citizen.

4. Use the Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program before your travel to allow the State Department to provide updates on your travel destinations or contact you in an emergency.

5.  Make sure you tell the important people in your life where you are going, send them your itinerary, and the dates you will be gone. It is good to have people back home aware and checking in on you.

6.  Make sure you have valid foreign health insurance! You don’t want to be sick in foreign country without it. Having proper foreign insurance also means that you will be covered in the event of emergency evacuation.

7. Some places have very specific vaccination policies research these before you fly.

8. Get a letter from your doctor for any medications you may be taking and double check laws in your destination are the same, and that your medication is not illegal or under severe restriction. Remember, some destinations may have harsher laws than those you are accustomed to in the states or Europe.

9. Look into travel insurance specifically for cancellation or theft. This is a small luxury but can be a sanity saver.

10.  Make sure you enter a new country with some of the local currency already in your pocket, there are lots of currency exchange places where you can trade some of your daily cash for foreign money.

11.  Find a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, otherwise you could be in for a nasty surprise on your bill when you get home.

12.  There are lots of apps that will help you convert US money to foreign money so you know exactly how much you are spending. It can be hard to keep up with the switches in value, and there are lots of people willing to scam novice travelers.

13. Let your credit card company know that you will be leaving the country.

14.  Keep copies of ALL important papers or plastics, like your drivers license, credit cards, etc..

15.  A language a Translator app or device/book can seriously make life a little less challenging.

16. Learn how to ask where the bathroom is in whatever language prevails in the country, just trust me on this one.

17.  Figure out how you are going to communicate with people back home or who are traveling with you. There are lots of international plans you can purchase, apps you can use, or jail-broken phones you can buy and replace the sim card in.

18.  Stop home mail while traveling. This will also make it so you don't overflow your mailbox and potentionlly miss an important letter.

19.  Explore airline luggage fees and rules, no one likes surprise 200$ dollar baggage fees.

20.  Electronic adapters for the contrary you are visiting are a must have! Your plug-ins will NOT WORK otherwise.

21.  Research driving in foreign destinations.  Local conditions or Rules of the Road may be more complicated than you were expecting. Treat driving somewhere new with the same caution you would have while driving at 16 in your dad's work car.

22. Figure out of your insurance covers foreign motor vehicles, it most likely does not and you will need to attain some before sitting behind the wheel.

23.  An international destination may require you obtain an international Drivers License (permit) to supplement your state issued license. Also keep in mind foreign drivers licenses are only available to a certain age bracket. Just because you can drive in the US does not mean you can in another country.

24. Double check water safety to learn if the water where you are going is safe to drink. Remember certain countries don’t have the luxury of clean tap water. It is important to stay hydrated while traveling and often people forget this due to excitement.

While travel is one of the best things you can do for your soul, heart, and mind. It also can be tricky and dangerous. Make sure you are prepared and don’t end up as a statistic or cliché. Happy adventuring and may the airplane and travel gods be with you. #baltihints

PS: Much of the information above was obtained from the Department of state, as well as some from my own experiences and struggles.

Photography: Jacob Thomas @jacob.t

Model: Weslee Kate

Shirt: Grocery Apparel