International travel can be stressful enough without additional hiccups along the way. Some inherent stress factors include getting to the airport earlier, customs, foreign languages, vast differences in time zones, and culture shock—to name a few. But add some roadblocks into the mix and you've taken an adventure abroad and turned it into a ruined vacation. The good news is that most international travel snafus are avoidable. While no one can ever guarantee smooth sailing, you can ensure your vacation goes mostly according to plan (or is easily corrected if it steers off course) by committing to a checklist savvy travelers take care of before every international trip. Keep reading to see five of the items Condé Nast Traveler recommends checking off your list before you cross borders.
1. Call your bank and credit card companies. Few things put a damper on your vacation like having your credit card declined when you're in a foreign country. Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel dates and destinations in advance of your trip to avoid them freezing your accounts while you're overseas.
2. Check your phone plan. Before you take your phone off airplane mode after touch down, be sure you're well aware of what to expect from your current mobile plan. You should know whether or not your plan offers international coverage and plan accordingly before your trip, purchasing a temporary option if you'll need coverage and deciding to leave your phone on airplane mode and taking advantage of Wi-Fi when you can.
3. Check your credit card. Just as many phone plans come with international fees, so do credit cards. However, there are many that offer the benefit of no international transaction fees, so be sure to make that your main card for purchases or apply for one before your trip.
4. Make sure your documentation is up to date. This step seems obvious, but it is often overlooked. Your passport has to be valid not just for your entire trip, but months after your return for some countries. Don't waste your hard-earned money or precious vacation days by arriving at the airport only to be turned away from your flight. Have all your ducks in a row—including necessary entrance visas—well in advance of your trip.
5. Do your research. The above action items seem like obvious ways to avoid wasting money, but committing to some simple investigation before your trip can also save you some cash. Researching prices for things like cab fare, meals, drinks, and tours will help you steer clear of tourist traps.
Now that you're prepared to go abroad, shop the best luggage for international travel.