Tourist Bureau Suggested Check List Before Foreign Travel
We hope the information here will help get rid of that “what did I forget feeling” that can make preparing for a trip more stressful. Please let us know if you have anything to add.
Check early with the Center for Disease Control about any needed shots or vaccinations and for any health warnings in your chosen destinations. The site also has suggestions for your prescriptions and glasses in foreign countries. Some shot sequences take weeks to complete, and some prescriptions like Malaria pills may require a doctor visit.
The CDC also maintains an international travelers' hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or, by fax, at 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299).
Also, check with your physician that you and family members are fit and prepared for the conditions of your trip (high altitude, possible motion sickness, long flights, flues, etc.). Some people like to travel with their own small arsenal of medicines: antibiotics, things for constipation or diahrea, sea sickness, antibacterial creams, etc,
The U.S. State Department issues travel alerts and warnings. You can also:
• Check about any Travel Warning advisories
• Read up on what the US government says about the country
• Enroll if you want in their STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) to be updated on any future warnings
Make sure your travel insurance, medical insurance, and car insurance adequately cover your trip. Some people take out special trip insurance specifically to cover emergencies and theft.
• Check on electrical outlets and voltage, and have the proper adaptors with you for your electronics.
• Check on baggage allowances with all the airlines you will be flying (domestic and international often have different regulations).
• Check which of your credit cards charge for currency exchanges and which don’t. You can save considerable money by only using cards that don’t charge for an exchange.
If you have questions or want materials before going, the Bureau of Public Affairs provides a list of foreign Embassies in the United States. You can also find helpful lists of tourism bureaus of places around the world and of common measurement conversions.
Learn to say "Thank you!" in the local language. It sets the right tone for your visit.
Make a list (you can use it again) of
• all the electronics you want to bring: (Cameras, phones, computers, electronic readers, game devices, etc)
• the power sources (the batteries, chargers, extension cords)
• the accessories (memory chips , discs, cleaners, and don’t forget the manuals)
In foreign countries most electronics sold will be equipped with electrical plugs for the local outlets, which will not helpful be when you are home. Most accessories (like memory chips and batteries) are also more expensive and may not be easy to get, so it often smart to bring extras.
Remember to back up any data that you are taking with you (on the computer or memory chips, etc.) and leave a copy in a safe place at home or in the office.
Check that it is all your equipment is working as you check them off on the list. One way to check that they are working is to photograph or videotape all of your equipment before packing it, and photograph or videotape all the clothes and jewelry and medicine you‘ve laid out before packing it, and then downloading those images into your computer. This could help in many additional ways besides checking your equipment: This could help with insurance if baggage is lost. It can also help you if you are on a multi-stop trip and won’t be fully unpacking at each destination. You can quickly remind yourself of what clothes, etc., you brought. And the photos could help you next time you pack for a trip – as prompts of what to bring and not to bring.
Make copies of important information and documents. Keep one copy in your luggage separate from the actual items, and keep one copy at home where someone else can get it for you. You might also want to scan it all into your computer/phone.
Possible things to include in copying/ scanning:
• Your passport
• Your airline ticket and itinerary
• All the credit cards and traveler’s checks you will be taking, PLUS the contact information needed if they are lost or stolen
• Any health vaccination information, prescriptions (pills and eyes, medical devices), and medical information
• Copies of your medical insurance, travel insurance, driver’s insurance, driver’s license, etc.
• Your contact sheet & itinerary (Also, make extra copies to leave with people at home in case they need to reach you)
NOTE FROM THE PRESIDENT of WORLD TOURIST BUREAU:
We hope the above is useful and makes your travelling better.
On a personal note, I recommend zip lock bags and address stickers for any travel. I put my address stickers on all my equipment and medicines and notebooks, and pack everything in varying sizes of ziplock bags to organize them and protect them from moisture, bugs, and dirt.
These WTB recommendations are, like life, a work-in-progress:
PLEASE SHARE YOUR IDEAS FOR BETTER TRAVEL. Write Editor@WorldTouristBureau.com with any tips we can share with others. Let us know how you would like your name mentioned if your tip is used and is unique, or let us know if you want to be anonymous about your recommendations. Thanks!
DISCLAIMER: All of the above are just suggestions. World Tourist Bureau has no responsibility for any related outcomes, but is happy to hear thanks after a successful trip!
You are welcome to download and print the above for your personal use or forward the url to a friend. Please do not duplicate any of the above publicly without permission, though.
“It’s a beautiful planet. You should visit it sometime.”
Be prepared and take the plunge!