Before You Go: 5 Admin Things to Do Before You Travel Overseas

So you’ve scoured the globe, talked to your peeps and finally decided on where to go for your first big trip. Next step is to plan this bad boy and get all those exciting admin details out of the way for a problem-free vacation. I’m a planner and love to have as much information as possible about where I’m going before I hit the ground. That said, so much of the excitement of travel comes in the unexpected: the detours, the wrong turns, the random wandering and serendipitous encounters. It’s a delicate balance between planning and allowing the universe to take your on a journey. Before you head to the airport for an international adventure ensure that you have covered the following fundamentals:

Visa Requirements: Research the tourist requirements for your destination. In countries like Turkey and Jordan, you can get a tourist visa upon entry at the border, but in many other countries like Russia, you are required to apply for an entry visa before you arrive. The website Travel.state. gov will outline visa requirements according to country. Don’t overstay that tourist visa, or else you could incur some stiff penalties and possible deportation. Once, I had to bribe a customs official in Zambia because I overstayed my trip by accident. It cost me $100 and a lot of stress that I was going to have to wash the country’s dishes.

Passport Mishaps: Check your passport expiration date. When traveling abroad, it is important to make sure your passport isn’t expired and will not expire within six months of your return travel. If you’re cutting it close, head on over to the nearest passport office with your confirmed itinerary. In most cases, you can pay an extra fee and get an expedited service.

Copy all Critical Documents: Photocopy all important documents in case the originals are lost or stolen. Take a copy with you (packing it somewhere in your luggage). Don’t take your passport with you when you’re going out to party with friends. It’s a tried and true algebraic equation: 1. had too much to drink + 2. passport = 3. lost passport.

Notify Your Credit Card Company: Let them know about your upcoming overseas travels so they don’t think your card has been stolen when they see weird international charges posted to your account. There is nothing worse than when you’re traveling and your card gets red flagged so you’re not able to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Keep your travel itinerary organized by using Just forward the email confirmations of your flight, car rental, train tickets or hotel reservations to TripIt and it will create a custom online itinerary. It’s a very handy tool to keep yourself and your travel plans well organized.

Buy Travel Insurance: One thing I never leave home without is travel medical insurance. For the cost of a few bucks a day, you could potentially save yourself a fortune if you get injured while overseas. Luckily (knock on wood), I’ve never had to use it but it’s nice to have that safety net in case something disastrous happens. When deciding on what kind of travel insurance to buy, be sure to read the fine print. Make sure any adventure activities you will be participating in are covered by your insurance company. Many credit cards come with travel and lost baggage insurance built in, so do check out what they offer before buying additional insurance.

For more travel tips and tricks, check out my new book Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Travel.