Calling all world travelers! For Travel Tuesday this week, we’re going back to the basics. If you’re a first-time traveler who has never been out of the country, or if it’s been a while and you could use a refresher, we are here to offer it. Read on for a complete guide to prepare to travel abroad.
Of course, you must have a valid passport for international travel, but there’s more than meets the eye regarding your passport 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 tricker; sometimes this six-month rule applies to your arrival date within the new country, but sometimes, it’s based on your departure. Here is a list of countries with passport restrictions that will tell you just how far out that expiration date needs to be.
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.
Credit & Debit
Imagine arriving in a new country and immediately losing access to your credit card because your bank heroically flagged your international charges as fraudulent. It happens more than you would think.
Before you go abroad, decide which credit and debit cards you’d like to use while you travel. Then, call the number on the back of each card and relay the countries you’re 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.
Sure, 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 that travel insurance is actually required by the company.
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. Plan on purchasing travel insurance and budgeting an extra 6% of your total trip cost to do so.
This recent Forbes article has more information on travel insurance and travel finance.
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, organized by letter. From A outlets used throughout North America and in Japan to O outlets used exclusively in Thailand, you’ll want to make sure you know what outlets are standard in your destination. This color-coded map shows the standard outlets in every country!
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.
Along with knowing which outlet you’ll use to charge your devices, you will want to ensure they work while abroad.
Call your provider and ask about your options for an international phone plan. Depending on your provider and destination, 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 specific dates.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to set specific dates for your international phone plan, we suggest paying for one more day than you plan on being abroad, just in case a flight delay or similar hiccup unexpectedly extends your vacation.
You'll want to exchange your money for the local currency of your destination. A 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 a less relevant piece of travel advice.
As the world becomes an increasingly cashless place, it’s not always feasible for banks to keep other currencies on hand. They often have to special order foreign currency for customers, resulting in a fee similar to what you’d pay at the airport. At best, exchanging currency through your bank could save you a minimal amount of money.
For example, the World Wide Money Exchange at Denver International Airport is very reasonably priced. Travelers are charged a flat $10 fee to exchange currency valued up to $1,000, after which they are charged an additional 1% of the currency value.
Airport kiosks will carry currencies for popular destinations, but with 162 total currencies across the globe, you’ll want to place your order ahead of time if you’re traveling somewhere off the beaten path.
Buy & Try Luggage
Of course, we hope your Sherpani suitcase will accompany you on every adventure! Built to last and backed by a ten year guarantee, our carry-on suitcases help you travel light without sacrifice. Whenever you purchase a new suitcase, it’s a good idea to test it out before taking it on the road.
Get to know Sherpani’s carry-on luggage:
Our signature hard-shell carry-on luggage! The Meridian is available in four chip-proof colors, has an uncrushable exterior and an ultralightweight design. Before you travel, familiarize yourself with the following Meridian features:
- 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.
- Learn how to use the included 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 ridge on the lock toward the zippers. Inside your Meridian, you’ll find keys that lock the zippers in place.
- Though the Meridian was made to fit the size requirements of most major airlines, it’s always a good idea to double-check the carry-on status with your airline of choice. This is where the 2” zipper expansion could matter, though we designed the Meridian to function as a carry-on even after this expansion.
For those who prefer a soft-shell suitcase, the Latitude is for you! Made from recycled materials and repurposed plastic bottles, the Latitude is perfect for the sustainably minded traveler. Before take-off, make sure to run through the following:
- Get a feel for the retractable luggage handle and the four extra smooth 360-degree spinner wheels. Bonus points for testing the bag in public (nobody else has to know that it’s empty!).
- Purchase a lock. The Latitude features zippers that are compatible with most locks, though we recommend using a TSA-approved lock for travel.
- Activate your ReturnMe tag. This special feature will connect your suitcase to a highly successful global network that acts as an international lost and found. Say goodbye to bag tags that display your personal information and add a layer of security to your travel.
- Double-check with your airline of choice about the carry-on size requirements for your flight. We designed the Latitude to fit the requirements of most major airlines, but as all travelers know, those pesky rules can always change.
Looks like you’re ready to see the world!
Save this post to keep your pre-travel checklist all in one place. We want you to travel more and worry less, so we provide you with better travel bags for women and virtual resources to do so. Is it time to treat yourself to a new Sherpani bag? Shop our trending styles!
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By women for women, the Sherpani Travel Blog talks about all things travel. With a new post every week on Travel Tuesday, our blog is the go-to place for unique travel guides, general travel tips, personal travel stories from women in our community, and more!