10 Essential Things To Do Before Traveling Internationally

10 mins read
things to do before traveling internationally(1)

You’re bubbling with excitement because you can finally travel to that dream destination you’ve been dying to go to.

But wait! It’s not just your passport, visa requirements, and bags that you need to prepare, but a couple of other things to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip.

From checking travel requirements to unlock phone services, here’s a list of things to do before traveling internationally!

1. Get travel insurance.

Nowadays, it’s better to be safe than sorry. No matter how healthy and fit you are, there’s always a risk of things going wrong when you’re in an unfamiliar place. If you didn’t know what travel insurance is, it basically covers things like medical emergencies, lost baggage, cancellations, and more.

Make sure to read the fine print and compare different policies to find the best one for you. It’s always worth paying a little extra to have that peace of mind on your trip. To get started, check out World Nomads, which offers comprehensive coverage for travelers.

2. Get your vaccinations and medications.

Depending on where you’re traveling, you may need certain vaccinations to protect yourself from diseases. For example, if you’re going to Africa or Southeast Asia, it’s recommended that you get vaccinated for yellow fever.

And if you’re headed to Central or South America, you may need malaria prophylaxis. It’s best to consult with a travel doctor at least four to six weeks before your trip to figure out which vaccinations and medications you’ll need. They can also give you tips on how to stay healthy while you’re traveling.

3. Have your phone unlocked.

One of the best things you can do to save money when traveling internationally is to have your phone unlocked. This way, you can buy a local SIM card and use it on your phone instead of paying for an international data plan, which can be very expensive.

To unlock your phone, you’ll need to contact your service provider and ask them for the code. But if they’re unwilling to give it to you, get it unlocked by an unlock phone service. They’ll charge you a fee, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

4. Get familiar with the local customs and laws.

Before traveling to another country, it’s always a good idea to research the local customs and laws. For example,it’s considered rude in some countries to show up late to a meeting or dinner. While in others, it’s perfectly normal.

It’s also important to be aware of the local laws so that you don’t accidentally break them. For example, in Thailand, it’s illegal to leave the house without wearing a shirt. In Dubai, it’s against the law to drink alcohol in public. So before you travel, make sure to do your research!

5. Learn some basic phrases in the local language.

Even if you don’t know the local language fluently, it’s always helpful to learn some basic phrases before traveling to another country. This will make it easier to get around and communicate with people.

For example, if you’re traveling to France, you should learn how to say things like “Where is the bathroom?” and “I don’t speak French.” If you’re going to Japan, it’s helpful to know how to say “Hello,” “Thank you,” and “Excuse me.”

There are plenty of resources online that can help you learn the basics of a foreign language. Or, if you’re short on time, consider downloading a language learning app like Duolingo. So important phrases you should learn before traveling include:

  • “Do you speak English?”
  • “I don’t understand.”
  • “Where is the nearest ATM?”
  • “Can you help me?”
  • “What is this?”
  • “How much does this cost?”
  • “I’m looking for a _____ .”
  • “I’m lost.”
  • “Can you give me directions?”

6. Pack light and only bring what you need.

Everybody knows that one person who overpacks for every trip. Don’t be that person! Packing light will make your life a lot easier, both while you’re traveling and when you’re dealing with baggage claim.

So before you start packing, make a list of everything you think you’ll need on the trip. Then, go through and remove anything that you can live without. For example, do you really need five pairs of shoes? Probably not.

And if you’re worried about forgetting something important, make a list of the things you typically use daily and pack them in your carry-on bag. That way, even if your luggage gets lost, you’ll still have the things you need to get by.

7. Do your research on the area and download offline maps.

For travelers who often find themselves lost, it’s helpful to research the area before you go. This way, you’ll have a general idea of where things are and how to get around. Start by looking up things like the public transportation system, popular tourist attractions, and restaurants.

If you’re going to be without data or Wi-Fi for long periods, consider downloading offline maps of the area. Google Maps allows you to do this by searching for an area and select “Download Offline Map.” Or, if you’re using a different mapping app, check to see if it has a similar feature.

Offline maps can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to find your way around a new place without data or Wi-Fi!

8. Create copies of your important documents.

Only hop on that plane after first making copies of your important document. Keep one copy in your carry-on bag and leave the other at home with a trusted friend or family member. That way, if you lose your documents while you’re traveling, you’ll have a backup.

It’s also a good idea to scan your documents and save them electronically. That way, if you lose your physical copies, you’ll still have access to them online. Here are the crucial documents you should always have copies of:

  • Your passport
  • Your driver’s license
  • Your travel insurance policy
  • Your birth certificate

9. Check with your bank about using your debit or credit cards abroad.

One of the things to do before traveling internationally is to check with your bank about using your debit or credit cards. Some banks will automatically block transactions made in a foreign country, which can be frustrating if you’re trying to use your card to make a purchase.

To avoid this, call your bank before leaving and tell them you’ll be traveling. This way, they can make a note on your account, and you won’t have any issues using your card while you’re abroad.

10. Have some cash on hand.

While using your credit card or debit card is often the best way to pay for things while you’re traveling, there are some situations where it’s helpful to have cash on hand. For example, it’s usually easier to pay with cash if you’re taking a taxi or buying something from a street vendor.

Before you leave for your trip, visit a bank or ATM and withdraw some cash in the local currency. That way, you’ll have it on hand when you need it. Just be sure to keep your cash in a safe place, so you don’t lose it!


Traveling abroad is one of the best investments you can make. Not only will you get to experience new cultures and meet new people, but you’ll also learn more about yourself and the world around you.

To make the most of your trip, it’s important to prepare before you leave. From getting unlock phone services to creating copies of your documents, these things will help you stay safe and enjoy your trip. So, before you book that flight, be sure to keep these things in mind!

Harold Gutts

I'm a staff writer here at Gentechreview. I track everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, and wearables to home theater systems.

I have a background in Information Technology and spent several years working in product development before making the jump into journalism. I love getting my hands on new gadgets and trying them out for myself, then writing about my experiences for others.

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