Once you’ve done the fun part — choosing your destination and planning your itinerary — use this checklist to be sure you don’t overlook the nuts and bolts. Follow these tips and you won’t have to spend any travel time dealing with red tape.
1. Refill prescriptions and make sure you have enough medication to cover the trip, plus some extra for possible delays.
2. Check with your insurance carrier to be sure your policy covers health emergencies abroad. If it doesn’t, consider supplemental insurance.
3. Renew your passport about nine months before its expiration date. Some countries will deny travelers entry if their passport expires in less than six months.
4. Make copies of your passport to keep wherever you stay abroad so that if the original is lost or stolen, you can prove your citizenship and return to the U.S. Consider leaving a copy at home with someone you trust.
5. As a rule, the farther you go and the more elaborate the trip, the more likely it is that you’ll need some type of travel insurance to cover expenses related to delays, cancellations or baggage problems. Check an aggregator site such as InsureMyTrip.com to find exactly what you need.
6. Call your credit card company to let the fraud department know what countries you will be visiting and, if possible, on what dates. This way, the company won’t think your card is stolen and put a hold on transactions.
7. Check exchange rates and ask about your bank’s currency-conversion fees before you go. Also, plan to get cash at an ATM once you arrive at your destination. Do some online research to identify banks that don’t charge any fees, or that will reimburse you, for out-of-network transactions.
8. Before you go, buy any tickets available online for attractions you plan to visit; you’ll be able to skip more lines and find more deals targeted toward you.
Communication and Electronics
9. Bring along your smartphone, but be sure to turn off data usage and the “fetch new data” option before you go. Download apps such as Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, WeChat or Viber so you can send and receive text messages or make calls whenever you’re at a free Wi-Fi hot spot. You can also rent a cellphone or buy a prepaid phone card from your U.S. carrier.
10. Collect all your chargers and electronic devices, and make sure you have any necessary plug adapters and voltage converters.
This article originally appeared on AARP
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