Even though the world has become smaller and more globalized, international travel can be a minefield, whether for business or pleasure. There are many regulations you need to adhere to, and even navigating an airport can be a daunting experience for novice travelers or those with families and small children. Preparing and planning can help maximize the enjoyment of your trip and gives you more time to explore your destination rather than worrying about where you will get cash or what to do if you have an accident.

Here we will take a look at what you need to prepare before traveling abroad.

Passport

Sounds stupid, right, but can you imagine how many people head to the airport only to find that their passport doesn’t have the required validity or worse it has already expired? Check and check again the documents of all members of your party well before you book your trip, because often it can take many weeks to have a new passport issued, at a considerable cost.

Visas

In the modern world it is perfectly possible to travel between many countries without a visa, but certainly not to them, all. When you book your trip check the foreign office website and see if there are any visa requirements. For example, if traveling to the US you will almost definitely need a visa, whereas if you are from an EU member state, you can travel through the whole bloc visa-free.

Health

Depending on where you are traveling you may need to think about a trip to your doctor beforehand to make sure all your vaccinations are up to date, or to see whether you will need any jabs. This is highly important if you are traveling to tropical regions where local diseases are rife. If you are taking prescription drugs you should also check with your GP to ensure you have sufficient supply, and also to see if there are restrictions about taking your prescriptions abroad. It is always better to be safer than sorry.

Insurance

Insurance can literally be a lifesaver when traveling abroad, however, it needn’t be expensive. If you have a credit card you will often find you are automatically covered for certain amounts of foreign travel so check with your provider well in advance. If you are going well off the beaten track or going to be doing an activity like kayaking that could involve a significant amount of risk, it is important to seek specialist insurance to cover any eventual need. Your insurance must include medical as well as cover for the cancellation of your trip. Do not travel without insurance!

Local Currency

As with visa requirements, you may live in the eurozone so you have nothing to worry about, but the majority of people will be going somewhere with a different currency. The last thing you want to do is arrive at your destination with no funds, so prepare ahead. You can visit this resourceful website to check the local currency and exchange rates, and can then load a prepaid debit or credit card, or exchange funds in cash. It is also useful to keep a calculator on your person when traveling so you can easily work out the cost of purchases in local money.

Packing

There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination and being unprepared. You’ve headed to Spain in July, yet you’ve packed that winter coat. Madness! Check local temperatures ahead of time and pack accordingly. If you are only traveling for a long weekend, why do you need 5 pairs of jeans and 6 shirts or jumpers? Travel lightly, as it will not only save you pennies from those excess baggage charges but will also help to save the planet.

A Travel Plan

Your travels will become much more rewarding if you know what you want to do and prepare ahead of time. You don’t want to miss out on that waterfall flowing into a canyon because you hadn’t bothered to buy that guide book and do some research. Read up on your destination, don’t leave it until the last minute. Having said that, doing the unexpected is often the most fun, so don’t plan your trip to the nth degree; relax, have fun, and take advice from the locals at your destination.

As we have seen there are many things to think about before you travel abroad. Having the right travel documents is essential and understanding local health and insurance requirements will ensure you have peace of mind during your trip. Plan ahead and you should arrive with a light suitcase and a head full of ideas about what you want to see and do. Most important of all though, enjoy yourself and the new culture that you are visiting, and have a rewarding experience.