There is no doubt that an international trip can be an exhilarating experience and adventure. However, the possibilities of unforeseen and not so pleasant situations are very real, and it would be prudent to have some precautionary measures in place to deal with them.
- Getting lost in a foreign land is a very real fear. We suggest that you keep the business card of the hotel you are staying at, on your person and store the details in your phone. This way if you do lose your way, especially in a country where the larger population may not speak English, you could at least show the card and ask for directions back.
- Several countries do not allow travellers to enter if their passport is about to expire within six months. The reason being, that in case you are stuck unexpectedly in the country of your visit, at least you would not have an expired passport. It is prudent to renew your passport well before (at least nine months) the date of expiry. This is the six-month passport rule.
- It is advisable to create checking accounts with no minimum balance requirements. The providers of such accounts also reimburse you for any ATM fees. The fact is that withdrawing money through an ATM attracts steep bank fees, and withdrawing too much at one time is risky too. In addition, there is always the chance that you could be left with too much of the local currency, and changing it back to your home country money incurs a fee.
- Check before traveling as to which Credit Cards do not levy a foreign transaction fee, and carry those along if possible. Hotels and restaurants usually convert a charge into dollars – you must not allow that since the charge would become steeper.
- Ensure that the credit card company is informed of your country and dates of travel. This way, at least they would not block your card if they believe that your card is stolen and being used in an unknown location. Carry credit cards with an embedded chip, since most countries and establishments do not accept cards with magnetic strips anymore.
- Do not forget to carry your normal medication and other general medicines for things such as diarrhoea, runny nose, allergies, and other such common ailments. It is never advisable to leave this to chance, as you can never be sure of language or local hindrances.
These seem like obvious things to do, however, it would surprise you to know how many people forget these basic precautions. Another tip would be to check travel alerts and warnings issued by your home country’s foreign travel department, and keep the address and number of your country’s embassy in the country of your visit. Travel, especially to a new and foreign land should be fun, and keeping these common (yet often overlooked) tips in mind should help you ensure a hassle-free trip.