Travel

How To Prepare For International Travel

How to prepare for international travel

I was never a Boy Scout but you might confuse me for one because I. Am. On. It.

This traveling dad is organized and orderly. I don’t forget anything (except lip balm, every single time, see below). Basically, I have my shit pretty well together. If only I learned how to tie a knot and start a fire with rocks.

There are a handful of things (if you have 7 fingers on a hand, freak) that I do every single time I’m about to leave home to prepare for international travel and the 1 thing that I don’t do but will do now because I am writing it down here to remind myself (and you, but let’s be honest, this is all about me).

Here’s the much ballyhooed (not really) to-do list I personally use to prepare for international travel!

  • Hold mail. Click over to USPS.com and put your mail on hold (you can do this up to 30 days in advance of your trip) then look forward to the nipple-tingling thrill of that big ol’ bin of accumulated mail being delivered on your first day back home. Sometimes the very best part of a long trip is coming home to all that glorious mail!! No, that’s just me? Hmm. Weirdo.
  • Call your credit card companies. You should alert your credit card issuers of your international travel plans, dates, and countries you’ll be visiting to avoid that awkward moment when you are at the checkout of your favorite English soccer club’s team store, after they’ve already custom made the jersey with your favorite footballer’s name and number on the back, and your card is declined for fraud prevention. D’oh! Call ahead, and let Chase, AMEX, Capital One, Barclay’s Card, whoever, know where and when you are going to skip this terribly embarrassing scene. Oh, and double check that there are no foreign translation fees (if there are, check another of your cards or, if you still have 7-10 days left to receive mail before you depart, apply for a new one that isn’t going to ding you with annoying, expensive foreign transaction fees! I’m partial to my Chase Marriott Visa, but you do you.)
  • Call your bank to do the same regarding your debit card and ask what they will charge you to use a foreign ATM to get local currency. You’ll use an ATM in your destination(s) to get local currency because you are smart enough to not go anywhere near those currency desks in the international terminals of airports that hose you on the exchange rate and fees on top of that. You don’t need foreign currency while sitting on the plane traveling the foreign place you’re visiting! Just find an ATM when you land and boom! foreign currency will be dispensed all magic-like.
  • Research and buy the appropriate travel adapter power converters for the country(ies) you’d like to enjoy a phone that’s something more useful than a shiny paperweight. Then don’t forget to pack those power converters because I hear they are of no use if you don’t bring them with you. Strange how that works.
  • Clean your house. Seriously. The feeling of returning home to a tidy home is damn near as gratifying as the trip abroad itself…but slightly less so than ALL THE ACCUMULATING MAIL! Okay, I’ll stop.
  • Book your airport parking in advance to (possibly) save money or do the math to determine if an airport hotel stay the night before with free parking plus free roundtrip shuttle bus rides to and from your terminal is more economical. For example: a $120 hotel rate with free airport transportation is a better deal than $10 per day airport parking for a 13+ day trip, more so if you’re departure flight is early in the morning on a weekday (no rush hour morning commute!)
  • Learn the basics of the local language. Sure you could go all Rosetta Stone but let’s be real, who’s got time for that? Instead of full fluency, get down with hello, please, thank you and which way to the toilet? The locals will appreciate the effort and you’ll have a better experience while traveling internationally. You’ll also be less likely to pee yourself, which is nice at home and abroad. Check out the free Duolingo app on your fully charged phone to become conversational on the go while traveling internationally.
  • Finally, as I admitted above, I don’t do this often. Stop judging me. Pack your favorite Burt’s Bees lip balm (JEFF, ARE YOU LISTENING!?!) because nothing chaps lips faster than your lips realizing that you’ve left your lip balm at home. This happens to me and my lips every single time, the exact moment I remember I left my Burt’s Bees on my desk my lips become as arid as Death Valley’s Badwater Basin.

Alright, you and your lips are all set for international travel! Enjoy your trip!

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3 Comments

  1. Awesome read, have a great trip!

  2. Pingback: An International Flight Means Downloadable Netflix, Baby!

  3. Excellent tips and post!! Those are definitely useful tips when you are travelling abroad and sometimes we forget to do the smallest things and those are important as well, like the lips balm.

joc