Tips for International Travel

You’re going abroad – maybe for the first time or for an overseas business trip. In any case, you have to be prepared, from packing your passport to planning your finances. Before you travel out of the country, consider the following factors.
Travel Planning
Will you be staying someplace where English is not the predominate language? Rather than fumble with a guidebook or translating tool, plan out your journey ahead of time:

  • Always have a business card from the hotel where you’re staying. If you’re lost or need to communicate with a driver, you will be able to point to a clear destination.
  • Map out your journey before you leave with your smartphone or Google Maps. Because you might have limited data and cell phone use abroad, save and store these maps for reference.
  • Stay up-to-date on travel warnings and alerts. To be prepared, print out the address and contact information for the local U.S. embassy.

Renew Your Passport
Did you know the expiration date on your passport does not apply to all countries? While the United States lets you use the document up to the last stamped date, not every nation does, and some may deny you entry if your passport is more than six months old. To avoid getting stuck overseas, renew your passport right before you go.
Having a single copy of your passport is not advised. Rather, because these documents can get stolen or lost, bring along multiple copies – placed in different locations – and have one stored at home or with someone you trust. It is also helpful to have an electronic version stored in your email.
Financial Concerns
How will you pay and protect your financial information when you’re overseas? Consider the following:

  • ATMs: Travelers often think they have two choices: Carry a large sum of cash and convert it to the local currency or pay high fees when using the local ATM. As a third choice, some banks have checking accounts that reimburse you for all ATM fees, including from overseas. As such, think about your cash strategy before you leave and check if your bank will reimburse you.
  • Credit Cards: While travelers may think a credit card is a better option than cash, you will have to factor in the foreign transaction fee. To prepare, determine if your card adds such a fee, and how it handles exchange rates. Additionally, if you still use a card with a magnetic strip, most European banks no longer accept these for transactions and will only take EMV chip cards.
  • Fraud: It’s always a possibility that your credit or debit card could get stolen while you’re travelling. In advance, reach out to the fraud departments for all countries you’ll be visiting and have alerts issued for your accounts.
  • Local Currency: It’s a good idea to check the monetary conversion rate before you go on your trip and think about how you will manage any leftover local currency.

If you’ll be taking valuables overseas, including your laptop or any musical instruments, will your insurance policy cover them in the event something happens abroad? Don’t want until your belongings have been stolen or lost to find out! Instead, check with your agent or carrier prior to the trip and consider adding supplemental or temporary coverage if necessary.
Are you planning to travel overseas over the next few months? Before you leave, review your insurance policies with Ion Insurance. To make an appointment, give us a call at 203.439.2815.