Your vacation abroad is coming up in a couple of months. You have plenty of time to think about what popular tourist sites you’re going to visit and what you’re going to pack in your suitcase. But that doesn’t mean you should sit back and relax right now! You need to take some important steps to prepare for your trip outside of the country first.
Which steps should you take?
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Check About Health Hazards
Do your research about the destination and see whether there are any potential health hazards you’ll need to protect yourself against.
Think about a health hazard like yellow fever. There are plenty of countries around the world where you could potentially contract this illness. So, you’ll want to follow the CDC’s recommendations to get a yellow fever vaccine before you leave.
You may not need to get vaccinated before you go on your trip, but you may need to take other health precautions. For instance, if you’re traveling to an area where you may be at risk of contracting malaria, you can talk to your doctor about taking anti malarial medication. You will also want to pack items that will protect you from mosquitoes, which can carry and transfer malaria through their “bites.” Some items that you may want to bring are long-sleeved shirts, insect repellant and mosquito netting for your bed.
Learn Where the Consulate Is
Before you head on vacation, you should research where the U.S. consulates or embassies are in your destination countries. Consulates are usually situated in the most populated cities in the country.
Why should you know these locations? U.S. consulates are there to help American citizens traveling abroad. One common service they provide is assisting travelers who have lost their U.S. passports. If you ever have the bad luck of losing your passport during your trip, you’ll have to go there to get a replacement. You won’t be able to travel back home without a passport.
Going to the consulate, you can arrange to get a new U.S. passport. If your departure date is arriving soon, you’ll have to get a temporary passport for your trip back home. It’s a short-term solution to your problem. If you’re staying in that country for a lengthy period, you can apply for a regular replacement passport because you won’t have such a strict deadline.
The consulate isn’t just useful for resolving these traveling mishaps. You should go to the consulate during serious emergencies, like if the area you’re visiting experiences a natural disaster or a period of civil unrest. You can seek protection there.
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Prepare for Emergency Expenses
It’s possible that your entire vacation goes without a hitch. It’s absolutely perfect from beginning to end. On the other hand, it’s also possible that you’ll encounter some expensive emergencies that could threaten to destroy your travel budget and your fun.
To make sure you can handle emergency expenses, like a replacement passport or a new plane ticket after missing a flight, you should set up some financial safety nets.
You don’t want to go on a trip abroad without any travel insurance. A travel insurance plan can offer you financial coverage for emergencies like delayed flights, canceled flights, missing baggage and medical trouble throughout your trip.
Your credit card might offer travel insurance coverage for users. Check your policy to see whether you have this built-in benefit. You might have to use the card to book the majority of your vacation expenses in order to qualify for this coverage. If your credit card doesn’t offer this insurance, that’s fine — you can always sign up for a private travel insurance plan.
Another safety net that you should have is an emergency fund sitting in your savings account. An emergency fund is a collection of personal savings that should only be used for urgent, unexpected expenses. You can use these for various small emergencies at home or abroad.
What if you don’t have enough in your emergency fund? Well, you could use a credit tool as a backup plan. You could charge an emergency expense onto one of your credit cards and then pay down the balance later. When you travel abroad, try to use a universally recognized credit issuer, like VISA or Mastercard. It’ll be harder to use an issuer like American Express when you’re outside of the country.
Another credit tool that you could use in an emergency is a personal line of credit. As long as your account is in good standing, you can request a withdrawal (within the confines of your credit limit) from your line of credit. If that request is approved, you can use those borrowed funds to cover an urgent expense right away.
These two credit tools allow users to borrow funds temporarily and make repayments later, but they have some major differences. Look up the differences between a credit card vs line of credit to see what sets them apart. This information could help you decide which credit tool to use in an emergency.
When you take these steps, you’ll know that you’ll be starting your vacation on the right foot. Start them as soon as possible!