Going abroad, be it for leisure or business, can become an arduous task without the right kind of preparation. Whether you are a first-timer looking for guidance or a seasoned globetrotter looking for a refresher course, here is an essential checklist of things to be done in preparation for a trip abroad:

1.    Vaccinations, Medicines and Insurance: going to foreign destinations means exposing yourself to potential new infections. Check travel advisories and with your doctor to ensure that you get all the necessary vaccinations as well as up-to-date prescriptions for your destination. Do not forget to consult your insurance provider regarding the extent and limits of your current plan regarding overseas insurance coverage. Go for a supplemental insurance coverage if necessary, it is well worth the expense.

2.    Travel Documents: Just one word: copies. Bring multiple copies of everything. Getting your passport lost or stolen is an all too common travel mishap. Prepare for that eventuality by having duplicate copies to prove your identity as well as speed up the process of getting a new one issued. Make a scanned copy and store it on your email as well, just in case. And when you land at your destination, contact the nearest embassy or consulate of your country to get yourself registered as an added precaution.

3.    Cash and Currency: always check out the latest conversion rates of local currency to the dollar, especially if you are headed to a first world country. This will help you plan your travel budget in advance and avoid any nasty surprises. Always keep local currency in hand and get your cash from banks or ATMs. They charge less than local currency conversion centers in general.

4.    Credit Cards and Banks:  If you are headed to the Eurozone, and have a magnetic-strip technology credit card, do check with your card company before leaving. Most major European banks have migrated to modern chip and pin technology, and your card might well be outdated and invalid in those regions. Also, notify your bank before making a foreign trip. Most banks look with suspicion at sudden unusual transactions initiated from abroad and do tend to turn off cards as a routine safety measure when these happen.

5.    Electronics and Mobile: Different countries have different technical standards for voltage and charging points and plugs. Get the proper adapters for your devices. Also, check their voltage requirements. Some may just not function in the voltage levels available abroad. Get global roaming activated on your sim card if your wish to carry your number abroad. And do as much of your travel related research and app downloads as possible before leaving your home network to save on costly roaming data charges.

6.    Luggage: in case you haven’t seen Baggage Battles, luggage gets lost at international airports all too often. Pack some essentials into your carry-on bag: medicines, cash, travel documents,  and a spare set of clothes unless you enjoy shopping for clothes while distressed about your misplaced luggage. And bring as much snacks and munchies as possible. Sampling local cuisine is all part of the fun of international travel, but be prepared for bad experiences.

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