Overseas vacations can be a very exciting time. You will get to see new countries and how people in other parts of the world live. You must be properly prepared for your trip, as going abroad is not like traveling in the US.
Passport And Visa
Most countries will not let you enter if there are less than six months left on your passport after your expected return date. Checking the expiry date of your passport is a good idea, and actually vital, as the State Department recommends that you should renew once there are just nine months left on it. This is because it can take up to six weeks for your new passport to arrive and if you need it any quicker than that you will be charged extra fees.
You also need to check out whether you will need a visa to enter the country you are planning to visit. This information is readily available on the State Department’s website and you should make sure you apply for one if necessary.
Not all countries recognize a US driving license. If you are hiring a car you may need to apply for an International Driver’s Permit, but this information will be available from the car hire company’s sites.
Once you have all these documents, take copies of them and keep them somewhere safe separate from the originals.
Medications And Vaccines
You need to see if there are any vaccinations you need before traveling, and how long you should have them before your vacation date. Some countries will want you to be able to show that you have had the required ones, but others vaccinations are precautionary and for safety reasons only.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a great source of information about the vaccines you will need as well as having details about food, water and other consumables that you should avoid.
If you take medication, apart from checking you have enough for the duration of your vacation, you first of all need to look to see if what you take is legal in the country you are visiting. There are some drugs used in the US that are not allowed in some other countries and if this is the case with some of yours you will need to speak to your doctor about alternatives for while you are away.
Buy Travel Insurance And Healthcare
Very few US health care policies will cover you while you are abroad, and many countries will not treat you unless you are insured or can pay the bill yourself. Buying travel insurance that covers trip interruption or cancellation is the way to go. However, you should also have cover for emergency medical treatment and medical evacuation in case you need to be airlifted home.
It can be bad enough to be taken ill or be injured in an accident abroad without concerns about how you will pay the medical bill. This can be even worse if you are in a country that speaks a different language. For instance, in you were involved in a car crash you could be injured enough to need hospital treatment. Although most hospitals would not turn you away they may well present you with a hefty bill and do just the basic treatment to help you over the worst. You may be able to recover financial compensation for your injuries, but that will not make the whole situation any less stressful at the time. Avoiding injury in the first place is what you should be aiming for.
Check Travel Warnings
The US government issues warnings for areas where there could be civil unrest or some other issue that makes the country risky for tourists. You should take a look at those before you travel anyway, as they can appear overnight if something such as a volcano has erupted or there has been some other natural disaster.
Inform Your Card Providers
A few days before you leave you should inform your credit card providers of the dates of travel and which countries you will be visiting. Failure to do this could mean your card is refused if they think there is suspicious activity abroad.
Traveler’s checks are no longer accepted in many countries and it is no use having some of those to fall back on, especially if your vacation is in one of the less developed parts of the world.
Enjoy Your Overseas Vacation
With everything in place, all that remains is for you to enjoy your overseas vacation. Always be aware that laws may be different from the US and make sure you abide by the local regulations. You will find that most countries welcome visitors with open arms and if you have prepared yourself properly, it will be an experience not to be forgotten.