If you’ve booked the holiday of a lifetime, you are no doubt excited, but in this excitement, it is important to remember to do and take all the things that are vital for traveling abroad.
Once you book your flights and accommodations it is time to move on the the lesser thought about specifics. Your passport, airport transfers, currency and travel insurance should be at the top of your pre-holiday to-do-list. That way all you'll have left to do is pack your bag and try to avoid jet lag!
Passport and other documents
As you’re getting ready to go on your foreign holiday, nothing will make your heart sink more than the realization that your passport is out of date or has gone missing. Such a problem can easily be prevented simply by checking your passport at least a couple of months in advance of your trip. If the passport is in date, then put it in a safe place in preparation. Be sure to check each one individually as I can assure you any time you leave your country everyone will need a valid passport, cute babies are no exception.
If the passport is – or will soon be- no longer valid, you can use the Post Office’s Check and Send service, involving a process which takes around three weeks to complete the new passport and for you to receive your passport, although alternative methods are available for those who need to renew their passport urgently, in the UK anyway. It will cost you more but if you need it expedited that can be arranged. It should be noted that that are some countries that require your passport to have six months or more validity to allow you entry into the country.
Book your transfers
With the abundance of transport available in the UK and US, it can be easy to forget that those in other countries could well be much more limited. It is therefore advisable to plan and book your transfer from the airport to your hotel in advance, especially if the hotel is some distance away. Often times the hotel itself will offer free transfer or can do it safely for a small fee.
You could alternately ask around as to what others do. Some spots it is cheaper to get it worked out ahead of time while other places in the world waiting until the last minute can prove financially beneficial, although that is always a risky strategy.
It is all too common for people to sort out their travel money at the very last minute, but the fact is that you could save a significant amount of money by shopping for the cheapest rates online, well in advance of the trip.
Again check around to see what others do. I have found that oftentimes simply using an ATM on arrival works best, especially if you have no international usage fees.
It is a personal choice whether to get insurance or not. We personally do not carry travel insurance as in most countries in the world we can simply pay out of pocket for care and barring any huge emergency it is inexpensive. However if you are from the US you may be more accustomed to having insurance. If you plan to travel in the US I highly suggest having some type of insurance as the cost of health care is outrageous!
If you are a UK citizen you can purchase travel insurance and obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are traveling with the European Union (EU), so that if you fall ill you will be entitled to subsidized or even free health care.
Planning for the unlikely event
You should also have found out whether the country you’re traveling to requires an entry visa and if it does you should obtain one accordingly. Not much worse than arriving in your final destination only to be turned away because you do not have the proper visa. Many countries offer it on arrival but alternatively many do not. Check ahead and give yourself time especially if traveling to a country that is notoriously difficult to deal with obtaining the proper visa.
If you are leaving family behind or just want to cover all your bases in the event that something catastrophic occurs you may want to look into having a will in place. It is unlikely that you wouldn't return from your holiday, but then again you never do expect things like that to happen and sometimes they do! It is so relieving to have things like that taken care of whether you are traveling or not.
So there you have it! Some unpleasant realities of traveling abroad. None too hard to deal with but if you get it sorted before you leave you can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on fun!