If you’re looking to explore the world beyond your own backyard, this international travel guide is essential. I have compiled a list of all the things I’ve learnt and found useful while travelling internationally.
1. Let your Bank know that you’re travelling overseas
This is one that is easily forgotten, and the most important.
It’s not fun when you travel overseas, and the ATM swallows your card. You may be lucky enough to only be locked out of your account, and still have your card, but, then you have the headache of overseas phone charges to reinstate your access.
So always notify your bank before you travel, you can do this through your online banking, phone backing or by visiting your bank.
2. Always carry a pen
Trust me! You will thank me when you get to skip the huge line for the 2 to 3 pens they provide at airport security.
When you’re trying to get through border security at some ridiculous hour, or when multiple flights have landed at the same time. The last thing you want to do is wait even longer than you have to, just for a pen.
3. Exchange some cash
Not everybody does this, and if you’re able to confirm that there is a currency exchange at the airport, then you don’t necessarily need to exchange money beforehand. However, you should be aware that airport currency exchange offices have quite high rates and fees.
I always exchange a little cash before I go just in case, to cover a taxi ride or something to eat. Many of the smaller airports don’t actually have a currency exchange, so it’s always good to check.
4. Bank fees and travel cards
I have spoken to a lot of people who don’t bother when it comes to bank fees. Others haven’t been aware of it, and some only ever use cash. It is a good idea to find out what fees your bank charges for using your card overseas.
An alternate option is to get a travel card. You can load money onto a travel card through bank transfers. There are so many options these days for bank cards that cater from international currencies. Revolut is an online bank that I’ve started using with live rates for over 27 countries, they have excellent exchange rates and a currency converter to avoid high fee. Click here for more information.
Some airlines like Qantas even incorporate travel cards and currency exchange into their loyalty programs. Check out. my post about How my Family Saves Money to Travel for more money tips.
5. Unlock your phone
So many phone providers advertise great plans for overseas travel and international phone calls.
So far, I have found them all to be expensive. I’ve always found the best value for money in buying a SIM card locally. Especially when you need data for maps, and staying connected with home.
Most large airports now sell local SIM cards, and assist with setting them up on your phone. There are now options for eSIMs depending on your phone, which you can organise in advance, so you are ready to go when you hit the ground.
6. Don’t buy a pretty passport cover
When I first started travelling I was unaware that it’s actually a requirement for border security, in all countries to see the front and back of your passport, to confirm its authenticity.
After I’d reached my third airport in Europe I tossed my passport cover, because, it just became a nuisance.
Don’t waste your money, unless you’re willing to take it out, each time you visit airport security.
7. Always pay attention to where your luggage is
While travelling with newbie travellers I’ve realised that, even though it’s mentioned repeatedly at the airports, not everyone is aware that you can’t leave your bag unattended.
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your luggage when people are handling it, or where possible, avoid allowing someone else to handle your luggage. Unless they are airport security or staff.
You don’t want a federal officer interrogating you at an airport, because, you left your luggage unattended.
8. Smart traveller (Australian)
Smart traveller is a handy website for Australians to become familiar with, it will provide you with advice on the safety and risks in particular countries, and advise when any major event or catastrophe has occurred.
For travellers that are Australian citizens. You can also use this website to register your travel dates, and provide your emergency contact details, to assist in the event of a natural disaster, catastrophe or major event while you’re overseas.
As well as looking after your health, some countries actually won’t let you enter unless you’ve had certain vaccinations. These vaccines are in addition to our well known COVID-19 vaccine, such as the Yellow Fever vaccine.
You can look this up online, but the best way to know what vaccines you need, is to go and see your doctor.
Your doctor should be able to tell you the health requirements, and risks for your travel destination.
10. Visa Requirements
You should always check if you require a visa for any country that you travel to.
Depending on your citizenship this will vary for each traveller.
I usually do this by looking online for visa requirements. When applying for a visa, always make sure that you are on that country’s government website.
Alternatively, if you’re unsure there are visa assistance services, or if you’ve booked through a travel agent they will be able to assist.Most countries will either have a basic visa for travellers on holiday with a return flight, or you can just get your visa on entry into the country.Booking.com
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