Update Your Passport
A standard rule of thumb is to make sure your passport has at least 9 months of expiry left before you start making your travel plans. If your passport is due to expire in six months, after your return date, your designated country might reject your passport.
Renewing your passport can take up to six weeks after you submit your application. You can even request an urgent service for an extra fee and get your passport as early as in 2 weeks. To renew your passport, visit the U.S. Department of State website for more information.
Most countries offer an on-visit visa to US citizens. But in some countries, you are required to get a visa processed before traveling. Check the visa requirements for your intended country before traveling. Visa requirements might change depending on the nature of the visit- business or tourist visa.
Even if a travel visa is not required, we suggest that you check the travel requirements of your designated country before traveling. For instance, most Muslim countries have a travel ban on carrying alcohol. You could save yourself a lot of hassle, or possible imprisonment if you check this beforehand.
Check Your Financial Situation
Travel can take out a big chunk of your money on tickets and accommodations. When you intend to travel, you should start saving money and start a saving account if you haven’t already done so.
You might save issues in opening a saving account if you are in the Chex system. Before applying for a saving account, read on how to get out of ChexSystems to avoid getting your application rejected.
Get Your Credit Card Travel Ready
Your credit card might not work in all countries. Every bank flags certain countries as ‘high risk’ countries. If you are traveling to a high-risk country, you have to inform your bank of your travel plans. Otherwise, your credit card will be rejected.
It only takes a 5-minute phone call or a visit to the bank to do get your credit card travel ready. You can even do this while traveling through your registered number. However, this will take more time. The stress-free way is to do this before you travel.
To save up on ATM fee, you can switch to a bank with a no-ATM fee. Search for banks in the Global ATM alliance for this.
Who Will Pay Your Bills?
Even when you are traveling, there will be bills to pay. You don’t want to come back home with no electricity. To avoid this, you can either automate the billing system or you can set up an online bill payment system.
If both of these aren’t suitable, you can also assign someone from your family and friends to pay your bills while you travel. Calculate your utility bills on an average basis and leave the amount with the person. Keep in mind that since you won’t be using any services, there will be a significant reduction in your bills.
Consider Travel Insurance Plans
We understand that travel insurance might look like another expense, but they cover more than just your medical expenses. Your travel insurance protects you in case of:
- Sudden trip cancellation
- Missed or canceled flights
- Protection from natural or man-made disaster in your destination country. You can reclaim your travel expenditure if you can’t make it to the destination.
- Sickness or Injury during travel. Even if you don’t get sick very often, you could catch a virus or a bug. And there’s no guarantee you might get a knee injury while trekking the mountains in Bali.
- Delayed or Lost Baggage
- Lost Passport
- Your travel company is declared bankrupt
Vaccinations and Prescriptions
Every country has a different set of vaccination requirements. Before making travel plans, you should check the vaccination and other health requirements of your destination country on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. A good idea is to get your vaccination six weeks before you travel. That gives you maximum protection and gives you a grace period from any side effects.
You should also be reading about health and safety risks of your intended country. Talk to your physician about these risks. He may prescribe medications, in case of an emergency. Take these prescriptions with you while traveling, even if you are taking the medicines along with you.
Above all, don’t forget to enjoy your trip! Take lots of pictures and upload them on your social media.
Article written by Jess
(Photo by victorcamilo via Flickr)