ONE MONTH OUT
□ Order a hard copy map of your destination at Amazon and/or upload city/country specific apps
□ Confirm flight, ground transportation, accommodation and restaurant arrangements and reservations
- Determine your airport-hotel transportation
□ If you’ve booked through a travel consolidator, verify your reservation directly with your hotel
□ Book tickets to major attractions online
□ Request certificates for hotels booked with points, if necessary
ONE WEEK OUT
□ Purchase trip insurance, if appropriate
- Contact your insurance provider to determine your existing travel insurance coverage
- Go to Rick Steve’s website for an overview on travel insurance
- Go to Insure My Trip for a comparison of travel insurance policies, and to request a travel insurance quote
- I always purchase emergency evacuation travel insurance ($7/day) from FrontierMEDEX if I’m traveling to a third-world country
□ Ensure you have the correct converter adapter for the country(ies) you’ll visit
□ Scan your vital passport pages and email the file to yourself and one or two contacts. Print a copy to store in your checked bag
□ Organize your itinerary; email the document to yourself and one or two contacts. It should include:
- Airlines, flight numbers, flight arrival and departure numbers, flight confirmation numbers
- Hotels; arrival and departure dates; addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses; confirmation numbers; deposits paid and balances due
- Other reservations: destination-to-destination travel arrangements, restaurant reservations, etc.
- Miscellaneous destination-specific research notes (tipping guidelines, recommended restaurants, public transportation instructions, etc.)
□ Buy snacks (I don’t travel anywhere without KIND bars and nuts)
□ Notify your credit card companies that you will be traveling to a foreign country
- Safe keep your credit card information (account number and international customer service telephone number). I use a password-protected app on my iPhone
- Know which cards do not charge for overseas transactions
- Know your PIN numbers
□ Withdraw cash
- I typically withdraw enough cash to last me the trip, so as to avoid hefty credit card cash advance interest and/or fees. I keep the money in an envelope in a hidden compartment in my carry-on bag, which I lock
□ Confirm arrangements with petsitters, nannies, housesitters, post offices, newspaper delivery, etc.
□ Obtain an international driver’s license if you will be renting a car abroad (go to the American Automobile Association for a list of locations to obtain a license). (By the way, you still need to bring your state-issued driver’s license)
□ Register your trip with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Recording information on your trip allows the Department of State to assist you in case of an emergency and provide travel updates
□ Plot places that you want to visit (stores, restaurants, museums, etc.) on your hard-copy map
□ Determine your communication strategy
- Do you need to buy a SIM card?
- Does your current service offer international service?
- Do you have a Skype account? Do you have sufficient credits?
- Download WhatsApp for free messaging (and have your home-based contacts do the same)