International travel is one of the greatest gifts that we can give ourselves. World travel opens the mind to new cultures, different ways of thinking, fantastic foods, and well – it’s just purely stimulating in every way imaginable! Before you plan your international travel, we’ve compiled a list of the top 12 international travel tips to know before heading out on your overseas travel.

International Traveler

1. Travel Insurance

The only thing to expect when traveling is the unexpected. Firstly, check if your health insurance covers you abroad. Also be sure to check if your credit card covers travel mishaps like flight delays and lost baggage. If you’re not fully covered (read the fine print), buy travelers insurance for your trip. We used World Nomads on our around the world trip.

2. TSA Precheck / Global Entry

The last thing you want to add onto a long travel day is even longer wait times at the airport. TSA Precheck and Global Entry are absolute lifesavers and worth the $100 that it takes to acquire them. To apply for Global Entry, you’ll have to apply to the Trusted Traveler Program. Once you’ve been conditionally accepted, you’ll need to visit a participating airport for an in-person interview. Yes, this may be time consuming up front, but it is well worth it in the end. With Global Entry, you’ll automatically receive pre-check. Some credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, will reimburse your Global Entry fees.

3. Get a Great Travel Credit Card

You’re already flying, you’re already spending so let those dollars reward you! There are so many amazing travel credit cards on the market so you have to choose what the best card is for your particular travel style and airline. We use the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card where we get 3x/points on all travel & dining purchases, a $300 travel credit every year, Global Entry credit, airport lounge access, and perks at certain hotels. We also use the American Express Platinum card, which includes access to Centurion lounges (our favorite lounges!), 5x points on travel purchases, and access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts collection. Additionally, we have the Chase United Visa card where we get double the points on United purchases. As United frequent flyers, these credit cards made the most sense for us.

When choosing a credit card, be sure to look at:

  • The annual fee
  • Perks
  • Sign up bonus
  • Foreign transaction fees
International Traveler on the Beach

Earn points so that you can travel to places like this!

4. Make Copies of Your Passport

In the case of loss or theft, you’ll want to make sure that you have copies of your passport in a safe place (email, Google Drive) and/or with a trusted person. If you do have to deal with losing your passport, it will aid in the process of obtaining new identification at the nearest U.S. embassy.

5. Make Copies of Your Itinerary

Send your travel itinerary to a trusted friend, especially if you’re traveling alone. Check in with your dependable friend or family member when you get to certain destinations to let them know that you’re okay.

6. Register with STEP

STEP is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which registers your travels with the nearest U.S. embassy. In the cast that there is an emergency, i.e. a natural disaster, family emergency, riot, or attack, the U.S. embassy will contact you and alert you with the appropriate next steps.

7. Never Keep All of Your Money in One Place

It’s easy to want to keep all of your important belongings on your body, but in the case that your wallet is lost or stolen, you’ll be thankful that you have other forms of money.

8. Call Your Credit Card / Debit Card Before Departure

Prior to embarking on a trip, it’s important to call all of credit cards and debit cards to place a travel alert on your credit card. This will ensure that you won’t run into any issues when trying to use your cards abroad.

9. Check the CDC Website

The CDC is the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. Prior to traveling internationally, it’s important to make sure that you have received all of the required and recommended vaccinations. You can simply type in your destination and it will tell you all of the recommended inoculations. If you need vaccinations for your trip, check with your general practitioner to see if any of the vaccinations will be covered by your insurance. If they’re not covered by your insurance, then you can visit a travel doctor such as Passport Health.

International Travelers in Thailand

Thailand might be a popular destination, but you’ll need to get Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines before visiting!

10. Check Your Seats

If you’re going to be on an airplane for a long period of time, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible. Head to SeatGuru and make sure that you’ve booked a good seat. Bonus Tip: If there are two exit rows, the first row won’t recline. Also, the row in front of the exit row won’t recline.

11. Check Your Passport & Visa

Firstly, make sure that you have a valid passport that has open pages and at least 6-months validity. Secondly, be sure to check if you need a visa for the country that you’re traveling to. These international travel tips are only helpful if you can actually enter your destination!

12. Weigh Your Carry-On

My fellow Americans will say, WHAT?! Why?! It’s a carry-on! If you’re flying on an international airline (not United, American, or Delta), be sure to check the carry-on regulations as many international airlines have strict weight allowances on board. Follow this and our other international travel tips to enjoy your trip!

International Travel Tip - Weigh your Carry-On