Dec. 1, 2023

30 Things To Do BEFORE Traveling Abroad | Retirement Travelers #80

Published May 15, 2023, 6:20 p.m. by Monica Louis

1. Check your passport and make sure it’s up to date. Depending on the country you’re visiting, you may need a visa. Get all of your paperwork in order well in advance of your trip.

2. Get travel insurance. This is a must for any international trip.

3. Notify your bank of your upcoming travel. This will help prevent your card from being declined when you use it abroad.

4. Learn about the country’s customs and culture. This will help you avoid any potential faux pas.

5. Pack light. You don’t want to be lugging around a heavy suitcase.

6. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking.

7. Bring a power adapter. Different countries have different electrical outlets.

8. Learn some key phrases in the local language. Even a few words can go a long way.

9. Be aware of your surroundings. This is especially important in unfamiliar environments.

10. Keep your valuables close to you. Don’t leave your passport or wallet lying around.

11. Be cautious of people who approach you. If someone seems suspicious, walk away.

12. Don’t accept rides from strangers. Stick to licensed taxis or other public transportation.

13. Don’t flash your cash. This can make you a target for thieves.

14. Be careful with your food and drink. Avoid tap water and ice cubes, and peel fruits and vegetables before eating them.

15. Don’t leave your belongings unguarded. This includes your hotel room and rental car.

16. Keep your travel documents handy. You’ll need them when going through customs.

17. Stay in touch with family and friends. Let them know your travel plans and check in with them regularly.

18. Use common sense. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and move on.

19. Don’t overdo it. Balance sightseeing with down time to avoid getting burnt out.

20. Be flexible. Things won’t always go according to plan, so be prepared to roll with the punches.

21. Slow down. There’s no need to Rush when you’re on vacation.

22. Do some research before you go. This will help you make the most of your trip.

23. Make copies of important documents. This includes your passport and insurance information.

24.Pack essential items in your carry-on bag. This way, you won’t be stranded if your luggage gets lost.

25.Be aware of your surroundings when using ATMs. This is a prime spot for pickpockets.

26.Keep your belongings close to you when in crowded areas. This will help prevent them from getting lost or stolen.

27.Carry small bills and coins with you. This will come in handy for tipping or making small purchases.

28.Be cautious of people who approach you offering help. They may be trying to scam you.

29.Don’t leave your drinks unattended. This can lead to them being spiked with drugs.

30.Trust your gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

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bev and i are full-time travelers that's

right no home just travel and when we

started traveling abroad last year we

started getting a lot of questions about

how we do things so we decided to add a

how-to series to our weekly vlog yes our

weekly vlog is where we take you around

and show you all the places we go and

all the fun we have and the trouble we

get ourselves into we get ourselves into

pickles sometimes yes we get ourselves

in a lot of trouble but today we're

going to share with you

30 things you need to do

before you travel abroad

we're john and bev and we are the

retirement travelers

number one is get an ipad or tablet i

was a little resistant at first because

i'd always used a laptop but it is

amazing you can download books you can

check maps it is so handy when you're

traveling on the road

number two is to create a digital


gone are the days where you carry a big

spiral notebook with you with all your

details you need to make all of your

details digital number three is do your

banking do your accounting do everything


sign up for everything digitally

no paper

number four is to create a file in your


of all of your important documents we

have a file that we use that we have put

everything in it from social security

cards to insurance cards our passport


every document that we can think of that

we might need to be able to prove who we

are in an emergency

number five is update your contacts if

you don't like the person get rid of

them actually you want to make sure that

you have all the right email addresses

birthdays anniversaries

everything because when you're on the

road you want to send postcards and

other things make sure you have the

right information

number six is to use a vpn in the united

states vpns aren't really that important

but when you're traveling abroad you

need to know that your information on

your computer or your ipad or your phone

is safe

we use expressvpn and we love it and it

does several things for us besides keep


information safe when we're browsing

online it also enables us to set our

location back at the united states so

that we can see

television shows or news programs


websites don't allow you to reset a

password unless you're in the states

number seven is get whatsapp it's an

amazing tool for communication everybody

overseas uses it from tour operators to

airbnb hosts that is how they will

communicate with you they don't want to

make a long distance call to your

telephone number also it's great for

video chats and connecting back with

your friends and loved ones at home

number eight is make sure your passport

has an expiration date that ends six

months after you return home

a lot of countries will not allow you to

enter the country if your passport is

near expiration date the other thing you

need to know is that you need to make

sure that your passport has plenty of

pages you can get a passport that has 52

pages in it when you start your journey

or you can get one that has 28 i believe

but nevertheless make sure you have

several pages because some countries

will not allow you to enter unless you

have several pages available for them

number nine is get some extra passport

pictures taken and bring them with you

occasionally you may need them for visas

number 10 is make sure you have your

visas you need to do some research ahead

of time to know which countries require

an extra visa

most countries will allow you to get a

visa up on entry um there are websites

out there that will help you determine

which countries you need these for some

countries like china or vietnam might

require you to get a visa ahead of time

and those can take some time sometimes

they're a month sometimes more

they're also costly so be prepared for

those number eleven is make sure you

know how long you can stay in the

country you're visiting in the schengen

zone for example you can only stay 90

days out of a rolling 180. some

countries you can stay only 30 days it

really all depends so check each country

before you go

number 12 is get an international

driver's license

this is a very simple thing to do you

can go to a aaa

they charge i think 20 dollars to do it

you give them a passport picture or they

will take your picture but there has

been discussion online as to whether you

really even need one we have been asked

for it on this trip so be sure you get

it ahead of time

number 13 if you're a u.s citizen make

sure you enroll in the smart traveler

program through the state department

it's a great way to

let your government know where you're at

in a particular country at a particular

time in the unlikely event that a war or

natural disaster would happen

they know how to contact you and they

know you're there

number 14 is to get global entry you

have to apply ahead of time and you have

to allow the government plenty of time

to do a security screening on you but it

acts just like tsa pre-check you go

through the same lines at the airport in

the united states and when you return to

the united states it lets you skip the

line because you've already been


to come back into the country it doesn't

help you get into other countries but it

does help you return back to the united


number 15 is check travel advisories

through the state department of each

country you're going to visit

sometimes the information is regionally

based in the country and that's how the

country gets its rating or something

that happened in the past

read the information and make a decision

on your own are you willing to take the

risk to travel to that country

number 16 is make sure you have an

accountant or another trusted person

that can help you handle issues that

arise from the irs

you when you're abroad it's very

difficult to deal with little issues

that come up you might get a notice from

the government saying you missed

something on your taxes but you need to

have someone help you even if you do

your taxes yourself

number 17 is get a good financial

advisor markets go up and down and it's

really important to have someone you

trust while you're traveling

number 18 is arrange for someone to take

care of your home when you're away now

you could do what we're doing and have

no home just travel i mean

you know somebody thought of that and

it's very nice to just be able to travel

abroad and not have a home to worry

about that if you are still keeping your

home while you're traveling you need to

have someone who can handle all the

issues that arise

number 19 is arrange for someone to

manage your mail now the first year we

were traveling we used a service to do

this but we made a big upgrade to second


my sister doesn't so if you have a

family member that can

check your mail take pictures of it and

send it to you while you're away it is

amazingly helpful let me just say right

now bev thank you so much we could not

do this without you

number 20 is make sure you know your pin

numbers for your debit and credit cards

you may only use your debit card to

withdraw cash from atms but sometimes it

might not work or there might be a hole

placed on it and you need to know your

credit card pins as well

number 21 is make sure your debit and

credit cards do not charge an

international transaction fee you do not

want to charge every time you use your

card overseas number 22 is get a list

from your doctor of all the medications

that you're taking and carrying with you

you can also get a printout from your


but on that note also make sure that

you're carrying enough prescriptions to

last your entire trip unless you're

doing what we're doing in purchasing

prescriptions abroad

number 23 is get a good travel credit

card we use the chase sapphire reserve

it's a little pricey but the benefits

outweigh the cost we get into travel

lounges we have travel insurance and we

earn lots of points for cheap travel

it's worth it

number 24 is make a list of all of your

vaccinations when john and i began our

trip we were going through all of our

things downsizing and we came across


shot records from our childhood so we

put them in a spreadsheet and created an

essentially a master list of all of our

vaccinations and this is very helpful it

also we've put in notes to tell us when

we need the next

series of vaccinations for a particular

country so just go ahead and get all of

that organized and get it ready to go

number 25 is make sure you have all of

your travel vaccinations for each

country that you're going to visit in

some cases it takes a little bit of time

to get all your vaccinations you might

need a series of two or three shots so

make sure you allow enough time to get

your vaccinations done before you visit

a country 26 is read up on every

destination you're going know what the

tipping customs are know the exchange

rate and other important cultural

information that you need some countries

require you to wear a long skirt to

enter a temple or to enter a cathedral

and you need to know these things before

you go

number 27 is try to minimize the number

of booking sites that you use we have

found if you use too many it gets a

little bit confusing trying to keep

track of what you booked when and where

number 28 is get a good travel insurance

this can help for with trip

interruptions or if you get sick and you

have to cancel it can also assist you if

something happens on your trip and

you've lost your luggage or other things

also your travel credit card can

sometimes help with these things so make

sure you know what your rights are on

all of these things and be prepared for

them number 29 is make sure you're

signed up for all the customer loyalty

programs whether you're flying taking a

ferry taking a train staying in hotels

make sure you're signed up you have a


and keep track of them

number 30 is know your phone plan before

you go

there are various plans out there and

some of them can be quite costly they

charge you by the day

or perhaps with google fi they give have

an unlimited plan but if you're gone

full time like we are you can't use it

full time and it's not designed for that

so what we're doing abroad this year in

europe is we're buying sim cards as we

go and um it's a little more complicated

and adds more complexity to our trip but

that's what we're doing

so we have finished all 30. and if you

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along on our retirement journey around

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