No matter how many times I travel, I am always thankful that I've prepped before the trip. It puts my mind at ease and also ensures everything is in order while I'm overseas.
So if you’re on your way abroad make sure you don’t forget these key things before you head out.
Before you leave the country, make sure you have a valid passport. If you’re going to Australia on the Working Holiday Visa, enter the country with at least 15 months before the expiration.
If you need to renew your passport before you leave, you can renew it at any time. But, the US State Department recommends you renew it nine months before it expires. It may also take up to 10 weeks to receive your new passport. Plan accordingly.
CHECK VISA REQUIREMENTS
Before you move abroad, it’s likely you will need a visa before you enter your new country. Australia requires US citizens to apply online and pay a fee to get their Working Holiday Visa. It’s the same for other countries like Ireland, New Zealand, or Singapore.
NOTARIZE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Be prepared for the worst. If you lose any important documents, keep certified copies to prove your identity. I used The Postal Annex it was quick easy and cheap to get my documents certified. Once abroad keep them in a safe place. Important documents include passport, visa, medical records, birth certificate, etc.
Keep the information of your nearest embassy written somewhere safe or on your phone.
GET TRAVEL INSURANCE
I mention this in nearly every post, but it’s imperative to have travel insurance. It will cover lost baggage, accidents and more. You will thank your lucky stars for having travel insurance.
GET PRESCRIPTIONS / VACCINATIONS
If you take any medications, take enough for your entire trip. Ask your doctor to write you a note validating your medications/prescriptions. Have them include an updated prescription and the name of any of your medication including generic names or trading names.
Some countries may require you get vaccinated before you enter. It’s always better to find out if you need vaccinations when you’re in your home country. Check with your doctor and get vaccinated before you leave.
Currency & Money
HAVE TRAVEL MONEY
It’s always smart to have cash on you when you enter your new country. Local banks will give you a better exchange rate versus using banks abroad. If you don’t have time to make it to a local bank, you can also get cash at the airport, but the exchange rate may not benefit you.
KNOW YOUR CREDIT/DEBIT CARD FOREIGN TRANSACTION RULES
Many banks and credit cards have agreements with international financial institutions. Check if your bank or credit cards has an alliance with your local banks. This may save money on any transaction.
On the other hand, your bank/credit card may have foreign transaction fees. Do your research before you leave. If your bank or credit card has high fees, look for a card with no fees.
Bonus! Credit cards with rewards may provide a bonus when you use it overseas. Learn how you can maximize your points for future travel.
KNOW THE CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATE
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, track the currency. My favorite app is XE. You can add the updates to Today View of your iPhone too. Something I check every day!
KNOW THE RULES FOR USING YOUR PHONE OVERSEAS
It’s always smart to have access to a phone when you’re abroad. Providers, like T-Mobile, have agreements with foreign mobile providers. When I was in Mexico for a month, I had no trouble using my phone and I was not charged for it. If not, understand the fees with using your phone abroad. It's likely it will be expensive.
If you don’t want to use your phone abroad, you may want to cancel or suspend your service with your provider. When I first moved abroad, I suspended my service with Sprint and paid $5 a month to keep my phone number. Once I arrived, I got a pre-paid Australian sim card for my iPhone. This made it easy when I was out and about.
DOWNLOAD MESSAGING APPS
Tech / Appliances
CHECK THE VOLTAGE COMPATIBILITY
Before I left to Australia, I thought I did all the right research. I was wrong. I used my 120 voltage hair straightener with a voltage converter and an Australian adaptor. Five minutes later the light went out, the straightener started smoking, and had frizzy hair for the next month.
You need the right adapter, voltage converter, and dual voltage appliances.
Here are some essentials that have been key for my travel and living abroad.
DOWNLOAD A MAP
If you have the Google Maps app, you can download an area of a map to your phone. This feature is a life saver! When I was looking for new jobs in Australia, I had no idea where I was going. Downloading a Map of Melbourne CBD, helped me get to my job interview on time.
Open Maps, Go to the Three Bar Menu on the top Right, Tap on Offline Area> Download the Local Map or create a custom Map.
GET A GUIDEBOOK
PAY YOUR BILLS
Make sure you pay your bills or have enough money in the bank for any bills on auto-payment plans.
MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR MAIL/PACKAGES
Junk mail can accumulate quickly or you may have packages sent to you while you're away. Make sure to have you have someone to check your mail or pick up packages for you. If a friend cannot pick up your packages, redirect them to your work, or place a hold on them so you can pick them up later at the post office.
Preparing for any travel or move overseas can be stressful, but hopefully, these key reminders help you plan a smooth departure.
CLEAR OUT FRIDGE / THROW OUT TRASH
There is nothing worse than coming home to a stinky house. Make sure you clean out your fridge from anything that will mold or go bad. Once that's done throw out all of your trash from your apartment.
Preparing for any travel or move overseas can be stressful, but hopefully, these key reminders help you plan a smooth departure. Now go and have another awesome adventure!
Are you currently planning a trip or a move abroad? What are things you do to prepare for your trips? What things would you like to know before you move abroad?
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