Travel Tips

Everything You Need to Know Before You Go Abroad

Calling all world travelers! For this post, we're going back to travel basics. Whether you're a first-time traveler who has never been out of the country, or if it's just been a while since you've crossed a border, we are here to offer a refresher on what you need for international travel.

Read on for a complete guide to prepare to travel abroad. 

Eight Things to Remember Before You Go Abroad 

From vital documentation to odds and ends, these details will set you up to see the world!

Number One: Passport Details

Of course, you must have a valid passport for international travel, but there's more than meets the eye regarding your passport's expiration date. Did you know that some countries will not admit travelers who carry a passport that will expire within six months of their travel?

It gets even trickier; sometimes this six-month rule applies to your arrival date within a new country, but sometimes, it's based on your departure. The United States Passport Service Guide provides a list of countries with passport restrictions. Depending on your destination, it will tell you just how far out that expiration date needs to be.

A US passport against a light-colored wooden background

Keep in mind that passport restrictions can change. The safest way to know the current rules for your destination is to contact the embassy of the country you’re traveling to or the airline taking you there.

Number Two: Credit & Debit

Imagine arriving in a new country and immediately losing access to your credit card because your bank has mistakenly flagged your international charges as fraudulent. It happens more than you would think.

A woman completes a transaction by tapping her credit card

Before you go abroad, decide which credit and debit cards you want to use during travel. Then, call the number on the back of each card and relay the countries you are visiting along with the dates you plan to be there. When your bank and credit card company know to expect foreign charges, they are less likely to be flagged as fraud.

You'll also want to store your cards in RFID-protected card sleeves to keep your information safe from cyber skimming while abroad.

Number Three: Travel Insurance

At one point it may have worked out for you to travel without purchasing trip insurance, but those days are no more. After the pandemic rocked the travel industry, we're all a little hesitant to take the gamble of going uninsured. If you're traveling with a tour group, chances are good travel insurance is actually required by the company.

A woman sits in her car with a road map unfolded in her lap, her legs extending out the open window

Life and its subsequent curve balls are unpredictable. From cancelations to extensions, there are a million reasons why you may need to rearrange your travel. You should budget an extra six percent of your total trip cost for travel insurance. Here is a recent Forbes article with more information on travel insurance and travel finance. 

Number Four: Outlets & Chargers

Not all outlets are created equal; you'll find different ones all over the world. In fact, there are fifteen types of commonly used domestic outlets around the globe. They are organized by letter, from A outlets used throughout North American and in Japan to O outlets used exclusively in Thailand. Before you travel, you'll need to know which outlets are standard in your destination. This color-coded map shows the standard outlets in every country!

Outlets in Copenhagen, Denmark

After you know which outlets you will encounter while abroad, it's time to purchase an adapter. Now, you can choose to "unplug" on vacation, but only if you want to.

Number Five: Phone Plan

Along with knowing which outlet you'll use to charge your devices, you will want to ensure they work while you're abroad.

A woman looks down at her phone from an outdoor patio

Call your provider and ask about your options for an international phone plan. Depending on your destination and provider, service may even be included. If you need to upgrade to an international phone plan, you can do so indefinitely, or set it up to begin and end on your travel dates.

When setting a date for your international plan to end, we suggest opting for one extra day than you plan on being abroad. This gives you some wiggle room in case a flight delay or similar hiccup unexpectedly extends your vacation.

Number Six: Currency Exchange

You'll want to exchange your money for the local currency of your destination. One common travel tip is to exchange your currency with your bank or credit union to avoid the fees charged at an airport kiosk. While it's true that some banks will exchange their customer's currency for free, this is becoming an outdated piece of travel advice.

In an increasingly cashless world, it's not always feasible for banks to keep foreign currencies on hand. They often have to special order a currency for a traveling customer, resulting in a fee similar to what you would pay at the airport. At best, exchanging currency through your bank could save you a minimal amount of money.

A woman's hand holding a variety of colorful foreign currencies
Take the World Wide Money Exchange at Denver International Airport as an example. They will exchange currency valued up to a thousand dollars for a flat fee of ten dollars. After that, it's an additional one percent of the currency value to make the exchange. The reasonable pricing allows you to take the extra errand of a bank run off your to do list.
Airport kiosks will carry currencies for popular destinations, but with one hundred and sixty-two currencies in circulation across the globe, you'll want to place an order ahead of time if you're traveling somewhere off the beaten path.
Number Seven: Vaccinations & Medications

Naturally, different areas of the world struggle with different diseases. So when you travel, it's possible to come in contact with a disease that isn't a concern back home. This is a completely normal part of travel, and is due to the simple fact that different diseases thrive in different conditions.

Be aware that the some destinations require proof of vaccination upon entry, but don't take our word for it! The CDC's website includes a list of recommended vaccinations for every country. Always refer to expert voices and opinions regarding travel vaccines and other medical information.

If you take prescription medication, you should alert your doctor of your travel plans. They can help you make a plan for taking medication while abroad and prepare you for what to expect in this regard.

Number Eight: Buy & Try Luggage

Of course, we hope your Sherpani suitcase will accompany you on every adventure! Built to last and backed by our Fearless Lifetime Warranty, Sherpani luggage helps you travel light without sacrifice.

No matter the brand, it's a good idea to test out your suitcase before you travel. Here's an example using one of our favorite women's suitcases:

Meet the Meridian!

Sherpani hard-shell carry-on luggage, the Meridian

Our signature hard-shell luggage is perfect for international adventure! The Meridian suitcase is available in two sizes: a 22" carry-on and a 29" checked bag. It's made from ultralightweight materials and comes in bold, chip-proof colors to match your travel style.

Before you take off, familiarize yourself with the following Meridian features:

  1. Try the retractable luggage handle and the four extra smooth 360-degree spinner wheels. Take your suitcase for a walk around your house (or heck, down the block) to get a feel for your new travel companion.
  2. Learn how to use the TSA-approved locking zippers. The metal zippers snap into place next to the built-in lock, they pop out again when you push the plastic tab on the lock toward the zippers. Inside the Meridian, you'll find keys to lock the zippers in place.
  3. The carry-on Meridian was made to fit the size requirements of most major airlines, but it's always a good idea to double-check the carry-on size requirements for your airline. This is where the 2" zipper expansion could matter, though we designed the Meridian to function as a carry-on even after this expansion.

Ready to grab your new favorite suitcase?

Shop the Meridian Carry-On 
Shop our Meridian Bundle & Save Big on Both!

Looks like you’re ready to see the world!

Save this post to keep your pre-travel checklist all in one place. We want women to travel more and worry less, so we are paving the way with helpful resources and the best women's travel products around. No matter where you're setting off to explore, Sherpani will help you make the most of your journey.


Discover More from the Sherpani Travel Blog:

For more about airline size restrictions, see our personal item size guide.

Learn about theft while abroad and learn how to reduce your risk.

Dive into a specific destination with these Egypt travel tips for women.

 By women for women, the Sherpani Travel Blog talks about all things travel (and all things Sherpani!). From unique travel guides to general travel tips to personal stories from women in our community, this is a space to celebrate our belief that travel restores the human spirit.

Reading next

Why Wireless? How Sherpani Anti-Theft Technology is Different

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.