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5 Things to Do Before Traveling Abroad

Everyone needs a good checklist for international travel. Whether you’re visiting for pleasure or business, being caught unprepared or having something go wrong at home while abroad can seem like a nightmare. Here are five international travel tips to make sure your travels go smoothly.

1. Check That Passport

Assuming you already have one, there are a couple things to keep in mind when it comes to your closest travel companion. First — and it’s an easy thing to forget — check the expiration date on your passport. Passports are valid for 10 years, and some countries don’t allow entry if your passport will expire less than six months before your departure or return date. And if you’ve used your passport plenty of times, you may want to make sure you still have some blank pages left. Have you gotten married or recently changed your name? Make sure your passport is consistent with your ID and reflects your new name.

2. Know Your Health and Travel Insurance Coverage

Do you know what your insurance will and will not cover while you’re abroad? Definitely do your research on the following coverages: health, vehicle and property insurance. Other homework items include looking into foreign car insurance, and whether your homeowners and renters policies continue while you’re abroad. (Your Farm Bureau agent can answer these questions for you!)

3. Let Your Bank Know Your Travel Dates

Contact your bank and credit card issuers to let them know you’ll be out of the country. Most banks allow you to do this online, but there’s always a number to call to let them know of your dates and planned countries to visit. If your bank isn’t aware of your travel plans, they may flag or even freeze your account over suspicion of international purchases.

4. Look into International Phone Plans

Ever dealt with a phone bill that came with international data or roaming charges? That’ll ruin your afternoon. Before you go, check into international talk, text and data plans your cellphone provider offers. Plans often range from pay-as-you-go, plans that allow a limited amount of talk/text/data each day, to spending a little extra for unlimited plan. Remember, use Wi-Fi as often as possible if it’s available, but it’s still nice to have a backup. Bonus tip: Make sure you download a virtual private network, or VPN, app for added security.

5. Keep a Running Travel Checklist

You’re most likely planning your overseas adventure or business trip far in advance, which means you have plenty of time to make sure you have everything in the bag. Keep a running list on your phone as a source for when you’re ready to pack. And if there’s room in your home, start filling a suitcase early and tossing in items like an international adapter, jackets or swimwear, travel journals, guidebooks for your specific destination, stocked-up medication and more.

No matter where you go, vacations are always exciting, but even more so when they involve getting a stamp in your passport! Your Farm Bureau agent can help you navigate your insurance questions before you go so that you can enjoy a worry-free vacation.