International travel has never been easier. Online information abounds, and it’s no longer a problem to stay connected to life back home while you’re across the border or across the pond. However, making the necessary arrangements before you go can be a daunting task, and minor details can often be overlooked.
You’ll still need to have a plan and make some phone calls before you go, to make the most of your vacation and ensure you don’t end up in a bind far from home. Here is a list of the 13 companies and people you should contact before traveling abroad in order to have a stress-free holiday and an uninterrupted, fabulous time!
With most jobs, you’ll need to arrange time off of work with your boss or human resources department and provide plenty of notice. Depending on your industry, you may need to arrange for a temp in your absence or outline a working arrangement if you plan to maintain contact during your travels.
2. Mail Delivery Service
If you’re traveling for several weeks or longer, it’s best to stop your mail in the interim. Avoid the lines at the post office and go online to the USPS website to take care of this quickly! The post office will simply hold your mail for you until you return.
3. Newspaper Company
For extended travel, stopping a daily newspaper delivery is wise. Potential thieves see opportunity when newspapers pile up on your doorstep – a sure sign that you’re not home, making you an easy target for a burglary.
Letting your landlord know you’ll be away is helpful should there be an emergency like a fire or a pipe bursting. They’ll know to step in immediately and understand why they may not be able to reach you right away.
Like notifying your landlord, it’s good to let a trusted neighbor know that you’ll be away should they notice anything out of the ordinary at your home, like a car parked in the driveway or lights on that shouldn’t be. You could also enlist your neighbor to water any plants while you’re gone as well; just remember to return the favor for them!
6. Credit Card Company
Notifying the credit card companies of the cards you plan to use abroad is a key phone call to make before your trip. Credit card companies automatically suspect fraud when there’s activity outside of your home country, and if they can’t get a hold of you right away to verify a transaction, they may freeze the card as a result – leaving you with limited resources to pay for food, transport, and incidentals.
7. Bank/Debit Card Company
This is another critical phone call or stop in to make. Alerting your bank so they are aware that you will be traveling will lessen the chance of any problems at the ATM machines or cash registers while you’re away from home.
8. Cell Phone Carrier
Signing up for an international plan could save you hundreds of dollars if you need to stay connected while abroad. Data, phone, and text plans are available with most cell phone carriers, and they can generally be implemented at any date and time. Just be sure to check if the plans are prorated: cutting a plan short could lead to overages and higher costs.
9. Pet Sitter
For your furry ones, be sure to make arrangements and a backup plan in case of an emergency. Provide the name of your local vet along with feeding and caring instructions for the sitter. Ensure you have plenty of food and treats as well, and leave behind a scented piece of clothing or a blanket to reassure your pet that you’re coming back soon!
10. Health Insurance Provider
Not all health insurance covers international travel. Determine what you need from your health insurance company before you travel and adjust your policy if needed, or obtain traveler’s insurance for your trip. Just call the number on the back of your health insurance card to inquire.
Let a trusted friend or relative know of your travel plans: all travel dates, specifically where you’re going, and where you’re staying. That way if you unexpectedly don’t come home when you were supposed to return, you have someone who’s already aware of the basic facts and can better provide assistance.
12. Consulate/Embassy/State Department
If you’re traveling to a country that has experienced unrest in recent months, it’s wise and in your best interest to inform the State Department and embassy of your plans, as well as provide the addresses for where you’ll be and how you can be reached. This way if something happens in the place you’re visiting, they can contact you quickly and get you to safety. Notifying these governmental agencies also helps if you lose your passport. Visit here to register under the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
13. High-Demand Tours Necessary to Book in Advance
Want to take in views of New York City and climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty’s Crown? You’ll need to book several weeks in advance for a Saturday afternoon. Dying to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper, in Milan, Italy? You’re potentially looking at a several-month wait for a prime weekend slot. Book tickets for high-demand events online before you go, and save yourself a long wait at the entrance, too.
Featured photo credit: Nora Eränpalo/Holiday Started via flic.kr