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Whether you are going to the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe or Asia, traveling overseas is exciting and by taking care of a few things before you leave, you’ll have a smoother vacation.

  • Check your passport 

If it due to expire soon, you may be denied entry into certain countries even if your passport will expire within three to six months of your ticketed date of return. Get it renewed if you’ll be cutting it close.

  • Take copies of important travel documents with you

This is something that I ALWAYS suggest doing.  Make two copies of your passport, rail pass tickets, itinerary and travel insurance confirmation.  Pack one copy and leave the other with a friend or relative at home, to be faxed or emailed to you in case of an emergency.  I even suggest scanning  all of your important vouchers, passport and perhaps even credit card info and emailing them to yourself.  This way, you can always access your important info and print them if you need to. 

  • Contact your debit- and credit-card companies 

Call your bank and credit-card company to advise them that you might be using your credit or debit cards overseas. This will help to  ensure that they don’t decline any purchases thinking that your card was stolen.

  • Find out your credit limits and any currency transaction fees involved in using your cards.  

While you have the bank on the phone, confirm your debit card’s daily withdrawal limit, request an increase if you want, and ask about fees for international transactions.

  • Are you renting a car?  

In most cases, your US driver’s license will be sufficient  but some countries, including Austria, Greece, Italy, and Spain, also require an International Driving Permit. You can get an IDP at your local AAA office for about $15 or 20.  Consider renting a GPS or taking yours with you- but first check to make sure that it will work in your destination.

  • Make a list of all of your prescriptions and take them with you.  

This is also something else that you can scan and email to yourself.   Make sure you bring enough medication for your entire trip and then a few extras just in case.

  • Bring a spare pair of contact lenses and glasses with you.
  • Check with your health insurance company to see if you will be covered for emergency medical care
  • Review your  travel insurance coverage- make sure your policy # and the emergency phone # is readily available.
  • Check with your cell phone provider to see what charges you might incur for international calling, texting or data usage.  You might want to sign up for their international plans to reduce the huge phone bill upon your return.  If your phone won’t work in the country that you will be visiting, you might want to consider renting a cell phone that will work there.  There are a number of private companies that provide that service in addition to many of the local mobile providers.    If you’re bringing a smart phone or tablet, consider download any tools that might come in handy on the road, such as translators, maps, transit schedules, e-books, Internet calling apps, and free audio tours