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It’s 10:25 p.m. on Friday night, and your departing flight is at 5 a.m. the next morning.

Once again, you haven’t packed yet.

If you’re flying domestic, that’s not a problem. You will most likely travel by car. Pack an extra day of outfits and if you forget anything, it’s sold when you arrive. If you’re headed out on an international travel adventure, you’re a bit behind!

Planning international travel should ideally be done months ahead, including thinking through:

  • Logistics/Routes
  • Communication
  • Micro-climates
  • Currency
  • Medication and Vaccinations
  • Travel Insurance
  • Etiquette

Let’s break each component down.

Logistics

Personally, logistics is usually my greatest stressor. That’s becase outside of major cities, you can’t expect Lyft or Uber to pick you up at every whim.

Sometimes, renting a car and driving is not an option either with international license requirements, opposite traffic patterns and the need to know how to drive a stick shift in most other countries.

As someone who has walked through monsoon floods and skidded backward in mountain mud, I suggest you plan your mode of transportation ahead of time!

logistics

Communication

Your domestic cellular network may offer free overseas data service abroad. If not, consider purchasing a local SIM card starting at ~$7 USD abroad.

Micro-Climates

When visiting islands like Hawaii or Costa Rica, expect micro-climates in which local weather on each coast may vary greatly. I always pack a waterproof windbreaker.

Currency

Always exchange currency at your local bank or outside the airport. Depending on how much you travel, it may be worthwhile to enroll in an online bank account that reimburses ATM fees abroad.

Medication and Vaccinations

Vaccinate at least one month before visiting areas that may pose a health risk.

You can always refer to the CDC website for the latest information.

Travel Insurance

Many travel credit cards already include travel insurance, so check your card benefits. I highly recommend signing up for a travel credit card if you do not already have one.

The peace of mind cannot be overstated. My cousin had to be air-lifted from her Bali honeymoon destination over to Singapore to correctly diagnose and operate on appendicitis.

Etiquette

Be mindful of local culture and customs, especially customs around dining and personal space.

If you do your research and plan ahead, international travel will be a breeze.

Next time, we will go further in-depth on apps to help you plan travel.

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