Hi Travel Friends!
If you’re planning your first trip overseas, it can be hard to know what exactly to pack or prep. I’ve made a list of things to do and pack before you go that I’ve compiled over the years. If I’m missing anything, please comment below so that other people can get more help!
Now fasten your seatbelts and let’s get ready to travel!!!!
Things to Do Before You Go
- Get your house in order.
- You most likely have already thought about this, but make sure your mail is stopped, set-up a timed light system, pets are taken care of, etc.
- Research how the culture communicates there.
- I’m not talking about the language, but all the other ways the culture may communicate. In some cultures, there are gestures that may be innocent where you’re from, but completely rude there. For example, in Myanmar, point your foot towards someone who is older than you is disrespectful.
- Find out what plugs you need for where you’re going. If you’re planning on traveling a lot in the future, I’d recommend getting a universal plug to save some money.
- Check to make sure whatever you’re planning on plugging in can handle the voltage.
- Background story – there was this girl I traveled with and she brought a straightener for her hair. She went to plug it in and ended up blowing out her straightener since it couldn’t take the voltage level in London.
- Clear your card for overseas travel. To prevent your card from being frozen, alert your bank ahead of time of where you’re going to be traveling. Otherwise, they’ll freeze it as they’ll suspect fraud.
- Look into any possible metro or bus passes for where you’re going.
- I was able to get a bus pass to the city 2 hours away that I wanted to go to for a fraction of the cost that the tour group was charging. It’s also just a faster way to get around as the stops are usually around places you want to visit.
- Price out an overseas cell phone plan compared to picking up a local sim card.
- Now, not all phones allow you to pop a new sim card in so make sure your phone/carrier will allow you to do that before planning on picking up a sim. If your phone can, I’ve found out that it’s often way cheaper and you get more for your money if you pick up a sim card while you’re there. Depending on where you go, you can typically get a sim card at your destination airport. In India and Myanmar, I had to find a small store to get one, but they had them.
- Think about phone storage space.
- If you’re using your phone for pictures or video, you’ll eat up a lot of storage space. When I was in Australia, I had a 16 GB phone and ran out of space in about 5 days. You can either get a Google Photos account to upload pictures to or pick up an external hard drive for your phone. I used HooToo that was compatible with my iPhone. You can pick up one with 128 GB of storage for about $45 on Amazon here.
- Find out what is appropriate to wear where you’re going.
- I don’t think that this is as important if you’re going to a European country, but if you’re going somewhere else like India, this is important to know. You can wear what you want, but I think it’s more important to respect the customary attire of the culture that you are visiting.
- Get a TSA approved lock for your luggage.
- It lets airport security get in and keeps anyone else out. It’s also great to just keep your luggage secure during transportation. I’ve seen a ton of bags that are partially open when they arrive.
- Pick up solid walking shoes or inserts.
- If you’re traveling, chances are you’ll be doing a ton of walking. It’s great to pick up some walking shoes that’ll keep you sane while there.
- Start taking Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
- I have seen a lot of people get sick from traveling and I personally had to learn this lesson the hard way. It’s good to start building up your immune system with these supplements before you go and while there to keep yourself healthy.
- Think about Travel Insurance. The one that I’ve always used is GeoBlue.
- Pick up the vitamin supplement Melatonin to help you fall asleep if you struggle with being able to do that on planes.
- Grab Dramamine.
- This is a medicine (not over the counter) that you can pick up at the store for motion sickness. This isn’t important if you don’t struggle with motion sickness or aren’t going to a place where you’re not going to do a lot of start and stop traveling. However, when I was in India I really struggled with motion sickness due to the crazy traffic there.
- Learn a few words or phrases in the local language. Obviously not super important if you speak the language already, but if you don’t, it’s a great thing to do and shows the locals that you are genuinely interested in their culture.
Things to Pack in Your Carry-On
- Pack aux cord compatible headphones for watching movies on the plane.
- I completely spaced on this the most recent time I traveled overseas and only had my wireless headphones. If you want to watch movies on the plane (I think all overseas flights have the TV monitors for each individual seat now), you can only plug in headphones with an aux cord. They do hand out headphones, but they had run out when I asked for a pair.
- Get a battery pack to carry around. If you’re taking lots of pictures or using your phone to find places, you’ll want to have that extra charge with you.
- Bring a carry-on (as large as possible) for souvenir storage. I’m a chronic over packer so I typically am right at the weight limit for baggage. If you bring a carry-on, you don’t have to worry about this problem.
- Snacks. Just pack snacks. You’ll thank me mid-flight.
- Pack gum in your carry-on. Chewing gum helps with releasing air pressure from your ears when you hit that high elevation.
- Travel deodorant. This is a MUST for traveling overseas. You’ll get nasty on that long flight – trust me.
- Any medicine that you take. If it is a liquid though, make sure it complies with TSA regulations.
- Talk to locals there and get recommendations for places off the beaten path (and not on tourist generated websites) to go visit. They also will have awesome insight on where to get the best food.
- Have a photocopy of your passport in a separate location from your actual passport. In the U.S. it is not illegal to do this and is actually recommended to do by the government. If you lose your passport, it is easier to obtain a new one if you have a color photocopy with you to prove your identity.
- Carry a small backpack with you. You can store your battery packs, water bottle, and things you pick up along the way in here. A purse can be a pain to put a lot of things in and a wallet is just too small. Make sure that whatever bags you bring are secure so pick-pocketers cannot get in them.
That ends my list of things to bring and do when traveling abroad. As always, be safe, keep your things secure, and have fun!
Until next time,