[co-author: Carly Wilson]
So you landed your first international gig. Or maybe you’ve done this before, but not during a pandemic. Do you always seem to have trouble changing reservations, figuring out how much local currency to carry, or how much champagne to drink on the flight?
Here are 12 hand tips that you might want to refer to whenever traveling abroad:
COVID restrictions to keep in mind
Is this your first time traveling internationally with added COVID restrictions and requirements? As we all know rules and regulations from both the government, CDC and WHO can change at the drop of a hat, but these general guidelines are some of the first you should check:
- What are the destination country’s restrictions and requirements for travel into the country?
- What are your home country’s restrictions and requirements for returning home?
- Look into scheduling a COVID test if needed. Most places are requiring a negative test within 72 hours of travel.
- Be sure you have necessary safety gear: masks (disposable may be best since you may not have access to laundry), hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, etc.
- Be prepared to potentially download a tracking app onto your phone if asked to as well as the possibility that you may need to quarantine upon your return.
Plans can change at the last minute
When making reservations, make sure the hotel allows changes without penalties. Sure, that cute little boutique hotel might seem charming and quaint, but many of them adhere to a tight schedule of reservations and may apply fees for last-minute cancellations. Sometimes your best bet is one of the big hotel chains because you can always use the credit for a canceled reservation at another location. The same goes for airlines. Find out what their policy is for last-minute cancellations. Because of COVID restrictions it is especially important to look into which airlines and hotels have the most lenient policies regarding cancelations or changed plans.
Pack only what you need
Pack only what you need and maybe one extra set of clothes “just in case.” The key is to travel as light as possible, but be aware of incidentals. Yes, there will be pharmacies overseas, but you don’t want to have to run out in the middle of the night for Advil.
Check the expiration on your passport
Some countries want you to have more than six months left on the expiration date. Every country has different rules on what they want, so it’s best to find out in advance to ensure your passport is current, and you don’t encounter unforeseen difficulties. Look to US State Dept for more information.
Determine if you need a visa
Find out if you need a visa. No, not the credit card Visa. A travel visa. Sometimes the passport is not enough and the country you’re traveling to wants you to have a travel visa, too. The US State Dept has more information.
Call your banks
Call your bank and credit card companies and let them know where you’re traveling and the approximate length of your stay. You don’t want your charge card to be declined because American Express thinks your card was stolen or the bank thinks your account was hacked.
Get international calling
Check with your phone provider about an international plan. For a small fee, you can get international calling for the entirety of your stay.
Food on the Go by Trevor Price
Try the food
Try the local food. Really! It’s usually very good and better than going to the American chain restaurants. Do some research and check ahead of time to see what the covid guidelines are for the restaurants you’d like to try. Are they offering dine in with reservations, outdoor dining only or just takeout? If they are open for business make sure to take care of your reservations ahead of time.
Be polite and respectful when going through customs and security.
Know your destination
Make sure you know your destination. For example, there are two Koreas. If you’re traveling to Korea for a deposition, it’s a certainty you’re going to South Korea.
Keep local currency with you
You’ll want to keep a little local currency on you. Not all taxi drivers and food establishments take good ol’ American plastic. You can hit the ATM wherever you’re going to withdraw cash.
*As of April 2021, travel to Europe is possible depending on infection rates, but East Asia is still very strict on travel unless you are a resident or business traveler.