travel quote john steinbeck

There are few things more exciting than international travel, and these days it’s easier than ever to enjoy a trip to anywhere from Paris to Peru. However, there are certain strategies and steps you can take to ensure that your trip goes smoothly, and here we’ve compiled 5 essential international travel tips to help you avoid hiccups on your next adventure.

Because when you set off to see the world, it helps to be prepared.

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International travel tip #1: Make copies of your passport and other important documents.

This isn’t paranoia talking; it’s common sense. Whether you accidentally drop your passport, leave it in a hotel room, or serve as the target of a sneaky pickpocket, the potential for—and associated hassle of—losing this crucial document makes it well worth taking the precaution and bringing along printed copies. It’s also a wise idea to leave a copy back at home with someone you know and trust as an extra just-in-case insurance policy, and even going so far as to email a digital copy to yourself.

You know, if you want to be able to get back into the country.

International travel tip #2: Notify your bank and credit card companies.

Before you leave, it’s crucial to let your bank and credit card companies know that you’ll be traveling abroad. After all, you not only want to make sure that your card will actually work in the foreign country where you’re heading, but you also don’t want them to get suspicious and end up freezing your card entirely when they see a charge for a bakery in France or a massage parlor in Thailand.

Because the last way you want to spend your exciting international vacation is on the phone arguing with your banker back in New Jersey.

International travel tip #3: Don’t forget an adapter.

There are few surprises more irritating than arriving in a foreign country only to realize your electronics don’t work in their outlets. If you plan on taking a phone, tablet, laptop or even blow dryer on your trip, be sure you’ve come prepared with an electronic adapter that will allow you to actually use them.

(Because can you imagine not being able to check in on Facebook and post all those selfies when you’re in the Sahara? The horror!)

International travel tip #4: Pack smart & light.

It’s enough work to get yourself to the other side of the world; don’t take your whole wardrobe with you. The more bags you bring, the more difficult every leg of your journey will be, so while you should abide by the Boy Scout motto and be prepared, don’t overpack either. Another good rule to abide by when packing is to bring as few valuables (think jewelry, etc.) as possible and to store them in a concealed pocket in your carry-on bag for ultimate security.

Also, when it comes to packing the perfect carry-on, be sure to bring a change of underwear, some essential toiletries and—if you’re heading to a destination on the water or equipped with a pool—even your bathing suit.

After all, if the airline loses your luggage, you don’t want to be stuck on the beach getting sand in your sweatpants.

International travel tip #5: Plan ahead for your health.

If you’re heading to a particularly excluded, far-away or exotic locale (versus, say, Canada), be sure you do your research beforehand and make sure you’ve taken care of any vaccinations that are necessary to enter the country. Similarly, be sure you’ve visited your doctor and made a trip to the pharmacist and have any prescriptions that you’ll need for the duration of your trip. And while you’re at your local Walgreens, it’s also advisable to pick up some basic drug-store essentials that you might need and that could be harder to find  (or more expensive) in other countries, like painkillers, Pepto-Bismol, Dramamine, etc.

Oh, and be sure to stock up on Good To Go™, because if there’s one way to ruin an international vacation, trust us, it’s constipation.