Things to Prepare Before Traveling Abroad for First Timers

Things to Prepare Before Traveling Abroad for First Timers

Traveling Abroad for the first time? This detailed and curated travel guide will help you prepare everything for your upcoming trip.

Research about the Destination

1. Always book your tickets 3 months in advance for places you know you want to visit or see. Booking/Buying online saves you the time in queuing and gives you a hassle-free transaction without any sweat.

2. Research special events going on while you’re there. My favorite research! This will help you make sure that you’re not missing the best events going on in a city — fun things like festivals, ceremonies and natural events. Also be sure to research as a few national dishes to try. You don’t want to leave the country without experiencing what its known for.

3. Get guidebooks. Guidebooks are free and more often includes touristy place, maps, keywords or phrases, and give you enough detail on certain sites that you won’t need to purchase the pamphlet at the venue. And always download apps before you travel to avoid downloading charges from your carriers.

Electronics

4. Charge your electronics before you leave. This way if you need to book a cab, you have plenty of battery or if you’re bored during a long flight or trip, you can easily read or watch a movie on your device.

5. Bring a charger adapter. Countries have different size plugs and voltage. So if you want to use your phone, make sure you can charge it.

6. Check the voltage of your electronics. Be sure to bring a not so high voltage electronics so that you can use it. Or ask your accommodation if they support your electronic voltages.

7. Download the klook app. The klook app can help you find great deals in a variety of countries, and has options for transportation, local cuisine and activities.

Klook.com

Luggage & packing

8. To check a bag or not to check bag. Each airline has its own set of guidelines as to how many bags can be checked or carried on for free. Make sure to look up what your airline’s rules are to avoid any incremental fees. And, if you are connecting during your trip, know the luggage rules/fees for those airlines as well — especially for regional or low-cost carriers.

Cebu Pacific Airline Rules and Regulations

Philippine Airline Rules and Regulations

Air Asia Airline Rules and Regulations

9. Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag. In case of lost luggage, bring an extra.

10. Bring snacks. If you are in the airport, bring some snacks with you. You can save money and you can actually avoid indulging yourself with unnecessary foods that are way above the budget.

Currency/Money

11. Look up the monetary conversion before you go. Finding out that one Philippine Peso is equal to just .05 cents … bad surprise. Make sure you do your math before you travel to get a sense of where the conversion rate is at.

12. Go to a bank or ATM in your country before visiting. The conversion centers around the city or in the airport tend to be a huge rip-offs. You won’t get charged as many fees at the ATM or the bank, and the conversion will be exact.

13. Always have local cash.  Always carry a small amount of cash with you. Not every place takes credit cards. Especially important places like trains or buses. This way if your ATM card does not work, you can always use your cash and exchange it into the local currency.

14. Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting. Philippines banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and almost none of the businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards.

15. Call your bank or credit card provider. Sometimes banks think that fraud may be occurring if transactions are suddenly happening in a foreign country when you’re from the Philippines, and they will turn off your card as a security measure.

16. Check the country’s entrance/exit fees. Some countries require travelers to pay in order to enter or leave the country. These fees are not included in the price of your airline ticket, and can range from PHP 1250 (SGD$31.25, US$25, € 21) to PHP 10,000 (SGD$250, US$200, € 167).

Health & Security

17. Check-in with your doctor and insurance carrier. Double check and make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions. Also, ask you medical insurance provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies.

18. Bring copies of your passport. Better safe than sorry, and making a copy of your passport is good for two reasons: 

1. If you lose your passport, at least you have a copy.
2. Some accommodations may require a copy.  While most places have a copier, there are some instances for example during our Singapore Trip, we checked in at AirBnB and we have to find a place to make copies to give to our host.

19. Leave a copy of your passport. For extra backup, leave a copy of your passport at home or with someone you trust. Consider making an electronic copy you can store in your email account as well.

20. Register with your embassy. If there’s a problem in the country, this will make it easier for your government to contact you and get you to safety.

21. Check the weather at your destination. Check the weather 3 -7 days in advance. This way you can decide whether to bring an extra layers or raincoat.

22. Printed copies of your accommodation. You really need to do this especially if you are in the Philippines(third world country problems) because the immigration will totally look for this. This way if you don’t have cell service or wifi, you don’t have to worry. You are prepared and that makes everything much easier.

23. Printed copies of your tickets. As what I previously said, the immigration officer will look for your tickets too so better print copy as well because sometimes, it will not always work to show a digital copy of your reservation.

I have read on a blog that they had a trouble on trains that don’t accept confirmation number from a digital copy on a smartphone and it led them to buy a whole new ticket and it was super expensive. Let their mistakes be your guide and don’t let the same error happen to you (glad I have read it though!)

24. Give a copy of your itinerary to a friend or family member at home. In the event of an emergency, it is wise to have someone at home know your whereabouts. This also puts your family’s minds at ease knowing what parts of the world you are in.

25. Passport Pages. This may seem obvious, but depending on how much you travel it is important to be sure you have the correct pages available in your passport, especially if you need any visas. Most countries will not put a visa on a page other than a visa page, meaning an “amendments page” will not work (something I’ve read on a blog).

26. Check the expiration of your passport. If your passport expires within 6 months of your trip all countries will not allow you to enter. (During my recent trip to taiwan with friends, the airline did not allow a friend of mine to fly because his passport will expire in 5 months.)

27. Visas. It is very obvious but is often overlooked. Every day, people are turned away from a country because they don’t have the proper visa, and if this happens, you cannot even leave the airport.

28. Documents. Such as Government-Issued IDs, Proof of Profession, Certificate of Employment, Bank Statement and Employee ID.

Pack These Essentials

While the contents of your checked bag will largely depend on the climate you’re visiting, you’ll want most of your trip’s essentials on hand in your carry-on. Start with this international travel checklist of items to pack:

Passport and visa

Medications

Insurance and ID cards

Cash, debit cards, and credit cards

Pen to fill out customs forms

Portable charger

Earplugs, eye mask, and sleeping pills

Electrical converters and adapters specific to your destination

Headphones

Antibacterial wipes

Sweater/scarf in case the plane is chilly

Cell phone and charger

Consider taking a photo of your packed suitcase in case it gets lost. That way, airline employees will know what to look for, and you’ll know what was inside in case you don’t get it back and need to file a claim.

And just to make sure you don’t forget any of these steps, we have created a printable checklist for you!

shellwanders

Bon Voyage wanderers! Set your soul free.

Always remember to “Develop your One Days to Day Ones!

XOXO,

Civil Engineer by Profession. Blogger by Passion. This young girl channeled her energy in blogging when her favorite girl group disbanded. Join and Catch her next wanders.
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