Your Checklist: Making Your International Trip a Success
by Cassie Sclafani, on November 14, 2018
Your company just invested $16,000 in your full, unrestricted first-class fare to China. In addition to the pressure you’re feeling to accomplish your business objectives, you are trying to remember everything you will need to ensure your trip’s success. Bookmark this handy checklist for your key reminders.
Calls to Make:
Your credit card companies. Make them aware of the dates that you’re traveling and which countries you will be in. You don’t want them freezing your account due to abnormal activity. (This is a good practice for traveling inside the U.S., as well). For the best exchange rate in foreign countries, use your credit cards.
Your airline. Confirm your meal ahead of time, especially if you have a special dietary need like vegetarian or kosher.
Your pharmacy. Make sure your prescriptions are all filled.
Your phone carrier. Sign up for international data roaming so you don’t receive a phone bill exceeding your pricey plane fare upon your return.
Your doctor. Ensure your overseas travel vaccines are current.
Preparations to Make:
Credit Card Documentation. Scan in the fronts and backs of your credit cards, save them as PDFs in your iBooks folder, or email them to your Dropbox folder, under a title only you would recognize. In the event your wallet gets pick-pocketed during your trip, having those phone numbers handy to call and cancel your cards means instant peace of mind.
Travel Documentation Scans. In the event of theft, keep a paper-based version, separate from your documents, on your person. Keep a separate copy of the scan in your Dropbox folder.
A Fully-Loaded Carry-On Bag. Make sure your prescriptions, toiletries and a change of clothing are all in your smaller carry-on bag in the event your luggage is lost, or you make an unscheduled landing somewhere. Bags are routinely checked at the door if the overhead bins are full, so be ready for that.
Things to Verify:
Your passport. If your passport is within six months of its expiration date, some countries will not let you enter, so be sure it’s updated nine months ahead of your travel date. Flight attendants report there’s a small percentage of travelers who don’t have the proper travel documentation when they board, so verify you have everything you need.
Your vaccines. Some vaccines are required four to six weeks ahead of your travel date. Here’s a link to the CDC vaccine advisory.
Your safety in foreign lands. Ensure the State Department hasn’t issued a travel advisory for the area where you’re traveling.
Items to Buy:
1. Gifts for the flight crew. Whenever you fly, it’s always a good idea to take good care of those who are taking good care of you. This is especially true for international flights. Flight attendants report some of the best gifts they’ve received include boxes of chocolates, hard candies, or gift cards for Starbucks. Remember, in the event of a crash, these are the people well-trained to save your life, and newer flight attendants are doing so for salaries of $15k to $18k annually. Be gracious.
2. An adapter. There are typically seven different types of outlets, and REI offers a handy guide to help you identify which adapter you need, depending on your destination. There are many all-in-one adapters on the market, which you can find here.
3. Special diet food items. If you have a unique dietary restriction, like gluten-free, bring those food items with you. Never count on the airline to have what you need.
4. Compression stockings. If you have edema or clotting issues, aside from getting up and walking around, which isn’t always possible during turbulence or when food is being served, compression stockings are a must for ensuring your comfort.
Precautions to Remember:
- Avoid the Ambien. Travelers worried about jet lag will often use sleeping aids like Ambien or sleeping aids for the very first time on an international flight. This has resulted in legendary anecdotes amongst flight attendants, especially if the passenger has mixed sleeping pills with alcohol. Don’t be that person.
- Dehydration is common. Drinking alcohol causes dehydration, as does flying in a pressurized cabin. Combining the two means you should be paying close attention to replacing your fluids with water. While a glass of wine may relax your travel anxiety, drinking heavily on a plane has the potential for either creating embarrassing behavior, or making you vulnerable prey to those without good intentions. Avoid both.
- Pay attention to your belongings. Theft happens regularly on flights, so keep your most important belongings on your person, especially if you’re planning to nap, or even when you leave to use the restroom. Take your phone, passport and jewelry with you.
- If you have a hypersensitive nut allergy, don’t fly First Class. Nuts are routinely served in First Class, so be aware of this.
- Bring your own entertainment. On-board entertainment devices can malfunction. Bring your own tablet for watching movies.
- Milk is not always available. Parents often assume low-fat or 2% milk is a typical menu item, but according to a flight attendant for a major airline, it’s not common on flights. Bring formula if you’re traveling with a baby.
- Be discreet with your personal information. For your own protection, don’t openly discuss where you’re staying. Thieves are everywhere.
We hope delivering these reminders and actionable items will help you organize your thoughts and tasks before your overseas trip. Remembering all of these travel tips will ensure your voyage is a bon voyage.