14 things to do before travelling abroad

Know-before-you-go

Fourteen things to do before travelling abroad. 

Beyond travel packing, there are things you may not know about getting ready for a trip that are important to take care of. 

Let me help you and stick around for extra travel tips!

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We purchased these products ourselves and are not sponsored by anyone:

1) Express VPN 

2) International Travel plug adapter (2 USB, 1 USB-C)

3) International Travel plug adapter (3 USB, 2 USB-C)

Similar products to what we used (Better):

4) NFC / RFID Blocking Passport Protector sleeve

#1 - Check travel advisories

Check what’s going on in the countries you are travelling to, from and transiting through. 

For Canadians, refer to travel.gc.ca, where you can find up-to-date information on risk levels, safety and security, entry/exit requirements, health, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate and assistance.  

Extra travel tip: Register as a Canadian abroad. Great for getting updates on what’s happening at home and for the Government of Canada to know who’s abroad and how to reach you.

Travel website summary:

Canada

→ Travel advisories

→ Registration of Canadians Abroad 

For Americans in the U.S.A., refer to travel.state.gov/destination for information on travel advisories. 

Also feel free to check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC’s website for information on travelers’ health per destination.

Extra travel tip: Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (a.k.a. STEP program). Great for getting updates on what’s happening at home and for the U.S. government to know who is abroad and how to reach you.

Travel website summary:

United States of America

→ Travel advisories 

→ STEP program 

→ CDC 

#2 - Check your passport expiry date

Some countries require that you have a passport that is valid for several months after the date you plan to leave. 

Verify the entry and VISA requirements of the destination / country you are going to.

Extra travel tip: Protect your Canadian passport like an electronic device.  Canadian passports are electronic devices, so make sure it doesn’t become wet, folded or damaged.

Purchase here using our affiliate link:

NFC / RFID Blocking Passport Protector sleeve

NOTE: Similar products to what we used (Better).

#3 - Get travel vaccinations

At least three to six months before you leave consult with a travel consultant at a local pharmacy or travel clinic on what vaccinations you need to protect yourself in the country you are going to.

#4 - Notify your debit & credit card companies

Call your debit and credit card companies to notify them of your travel dates and destinations abroad. 

The phone numbers of the companies can be found on the back of your cards. 

Make sure you have their phone numbers on hand when vacationing for any emergency. 

Last thing you want is your cards not working.

#5 - Get a cellphone and data plan

Ensure you get some sort of cellphone and data plan, as using the internet and making a phone call abroad without a plan can get very expensive quickly. 

Also you’d be surprised of the times when you actually need to make a phone call or use the internet. 

Best to be safe than sorry!

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Extra travel tip: 

If you don’t get a cellphone and or data plan, don’t forget to turn off your data roaming, as you’ll incur an expensive bill if your phone uses data that you’re not aware of. 

 

Use wifi along with a VPN for extra protection from high tech thieves. 

#6 - Comply with baggage & liquid restrictions

When bringing a checked bag, carry-on and / or personal item bag, make sure you comply with the dimension restrictions dictated by your air carrier.

Also comply with liquid restrictions dictated by CATSA in Canada and TSA in the U.S.A.

Here are links to CATSA and TSA for updated information on these restrictions:
 

TSA liquids rule 

#7 - Make reservations early

Some tourist or popular places require early reservations if you want to go there. 

For example, the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands encourages early reservation of the date and time you want to go as 80% of tickets are sold online and 20% are reserved for the day of. 

Another is that I wanted to go to the Pokemon café in Tokyo and they only take reservations, no drop-ins. 

Best to book early!

#8 - Know cancellation policies

Recently my husband and I cancelled our three week Asia trip for March 2020 due to Covid-19. 

We were lucky that we started cancelling tours, hotels, and flights early. 

Reason being is that some businesses cancellation policies range from cancelling 14 days in advance to get a full refund to 48 hours in advance for full refund. 

It’s important to know and have marked in your calendar or as a reminder when things can be cancelled for full refund. 

Otherwise you risk losing your money.

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#9 - Get foreign cash at home

Some countries in the world still operate mainly in cash. 

Exchange your money in your home country as it’s easier to have your money readily available rather than having to worry about where to get cash, varying exchange rates and transaction fees at your destination.

You just need to be diligent in securing/protecting your cash while abroad.

#10 - Bring travel plug adapter

Countries throughout the world have different electrical outlets with different socket types and voltage systems. 

Make sure to bring an international travel adapter and electronic devices that use the same voltage system as the country you are travelling to, from or transiting through.

Purchase here using our affiliate link:

This international plug adapter also has two USB outlets and one USB-C  outlet in addition to the plug adapter at the very front.  This feature came in very handy for our trip as all our devices plugged into these three USB outlets. 

Check out this video on other travel technology to bring!

#11 - Tell someone at home you’re travelling

Choose a person or people you trust and provide them your itinerary and email/phone number to contact you just in case things change at home or abroad. 

If you feel necessary, you can also provide them photocopies of your passport, driver’s license and credit cards that you are bringing just in case you lose them.

#12 - Don’t touch your face when travelling

It’s good personal hygiene practice not to touch your face to prevent any dirt, bacteria or virus entering your system. 

It’s unfortunate, but we can’t assume everything and everyone is clean. 

Be diligent in washing your hands with water and soap thoroughly for 20 seconds. 

For example, I got pinkeye twice from touching communal surfaces at my previous workplace how much more elsewhere. FYI, pinkeye is super contagious and not fun to have. 

Check out this video on other items to disinfect!

#13 - Know the language used abroad

There are countries out there where English is not the main language or is hard to come by. 

Do some research on what is the main language that is used. 

Try to learn some very basic words of the country you are going to, so that you are able to get around.

#14 - Subscribe / get notifications from the news

It’s important to subscribe or get notifications from legitimate news sources in the country you are going to or transiting through and from your home country. 

Now more than ever it’s important to stay up-to-date on what is happening, so that you have time to prepare for whatever may come.

Check out these other travel videos!

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