Stuff You Might Want to Have Before You Travel

Stuff You Might Want to Have Before You Travel - picture of plane flying over water

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Let’s face it, the world has become a much smaller place. With the advent of the airplane, traveling all over the world has become almost routine. Discount vacation brokers have made vacationing overseas affordable for almost everybody. Although world travel hasn’t become old hat to us yet, we are beginning to get our globe-trotting legs under us. The more we travel, the more we learn. Here are just a few of the things that we think travelers should make sure to have before planning that next international vacation!

Things You Need to Travel Internationally

1) Passport

This probably goes unsaid, but just in case you didn’t know, you are going to need a passport to travel outside of your home country. Make sure to apply well before your expected date of departure as it could take up to 6 weeks to receive your new ID. You may also want to make sure that your photo looks decent. You’ll have to live with it for the next 10 years or so, so be sure to freshen up a bit before you get that picture snapped. Unfortunately, I am speaking from experience on this one.

2) Credit Card with No Foreign Transaction Fees

So, you’re on the trip of a lifetime. You are overseas in…let’s just say London. You’re stoked to go out and see the sights of the city. You’ve got tickets for waiting for you at the will call of your favorite West End theater. You go to pull out your wallet to pay for the tickets…and it is gone! Missing! NO! What are you going to do? How are you going to eat? Transferring money overseas can cost you an arm and a leg. If only you had opted for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, you could have avoided those high fees!

Not only will opening a traveler’s card make you sound cool to the ladies (or the gents), but it can be a lifesaver if you travel frequently. Plus, it makes currency exchanges a breeze…because…well…it’s figured out for you. You may even be able to find credit cards offering sweet signup bonuses that can help you travel for free to your destination.

3) Decent Luggage

Whether you are going to your mom’s over Thanksgiving weekend or to Caribbean for a second honeymoon, you are going to want to have a decent set of luggage. It doesn’t have to be super fancy or anything. In fact, we purchased our luggage off of Craigslist. Still, your bags are going to need to be big enough to carry the stuff you want to take with you. Personally, I love expandable luggage because you can get a little more space out of it when needed. Be careful though. Airlines will restrict both the size and the weight of your bags and you’ll be charged more if you go over these restrictions.

These are just a few of the things that you may want to have in place before your next big adventure. I am sure that there are a ton of items I am missing, so help me out here! Share your travel “must-haves” in the comments below!

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  1. This post reminds me that I need to renew my passport.

    I always wanted a Swiss bank account, just so that I could use the phrase “Deposit the money into my Swiss bank account.” Then the government had to go and ruin everything by taking away all the cool anonymity associated with Swiss accounts.

  2. The passport information couldn’t be more true! Also don’t forget to sign it when you get it. I was on my way to Mexico and the lady at the ticket counter said I couldn’t go and I was freaking out and my parents were freaking out and mad at me because they had told me it was solely up to me to get all my passport stuff taken care of. Turns out, I just needed to sign it to make it “official” and the ticket lady was giving me a hard time for a laugh….After I got over the images of punching her in the throat, I had a wonderful trip 🙂

  3. Good points! In lieu of an international account, I use my bank’s correspondent bank. It is like going to my bank although it is overseas. My wife also keeps a back up set of cards just in case one of us loses our stuff. We also keep a copy of all our documents such as our passports , cards etc.

  4. I don’t have number 1 or 2. and #3 is questionable.
    I’m definitely not ready for international travel!
    Have a great Easter Greg!

  5. Spot on! Don’t forget a few credit cards and especially don’t forget to call the credit card providers and let them know where you will be! there’s nothing worse than trying to use a CC in a foreign country and having it blocked! I Like the idea of having a foreign account.HSBC is a great bank to do that with, they seem to have branches in every country we have traveled too (mostly Mexico and the Caribbean).

  6. Yup decent luggage is a must. We got some good quality hard shell suitcases from Costco and they were such a great investment.

  7. Great post, I’ve got all my bank accounts still open for that reason. When I go back home it will come in handy. I also send cheques to the kids for holidays and birthdays which makes it so much easier for me.

  8. I´ve had my own passport since I was a small child, so no problemo!
    I have a Dakine bag on wheels that`s just awesome to travel with. It has several compartments which makes packing and unpacking so much easier. I´d recommend to get the biggest suitcase if you`re wondering which to get. I chose 100L sized. My bag wasn`t cheap, but it was a gift from my mom, and it has lasted for 4 years, and I`ve travelled a lot the last 4 years, so it`s durable.

    I´d also recommend getting travel sized containers for shampoos and such. It`ll save you a lot of unneccessary weight.
    I also have a Samsonite Carry-On which is great to transport my valuables (Mac, Camera etc). What`s a clever thing to do, if you`re a woman, is to bring a small crossover handbag with a zipper that`s always turned your way (i.e. so no-one can come in behind you and unzip it without you knowing), that you can use both during travelling (good place for travel documents) and during your stay in a forreign country. This way your handbag is easy to bring along, and it`s a lot more safer, as thiefs have to do more work if they want to steal your handbag!

  9. I have never had a passport but I will be getting one later this year. The Canadian government is introducing a passort with a 10 year expiry date and I like the idea of a photo of myself taken in my 40s representing me through most of my 50s.

    I have no plans to leave the country or even travel within Canada because I have no money and will continue to have no money but I do like to read about travel and hear about my friends’ big adventures.

  10. Definitely on the passport and luggage, and some countries require visas or immunizations so it helps to do the homework on that (from experience, as well). That’s a great idea about the international bank account! Happy Easter to the fam 🙂

  11. The passport rules have changed in recent years (in the US, anyway) so make sure you are up to date if you are planning an international trip. Also, some countries want your passport to have an expiration date more than 6 months from the start of your trip, so make sure you do your homework on that, too!

    Quality luggage can make a world of difference, especially if it is going to be handled often. Those more expensive brand names will repair or replace the bag if it is damaged. Look at flight crew luggage. Brand names always.

    I would add electric adapters, if you are traveling overseas. Their plugs are way different than our plugs. There are adapter kits available that cover several different countries. Make sure you don’t leave them in the hotel by looping the cord through your keys. You won’t drive off without the car keys…

  12. Even though we didn’t HAVE to have passports when we went on our cruise we got them just in case we needed to fly out for whatever crazy insane reason. With the recent happenings with cruise ships in the news maybe it wasn’t such a bad safety item to have in case of an emergency…

  13. I don’t know that I’d open an international bank account just to travel to another country for a few weeks/months, but I think it’s crucial to have your passport and a great luggage. And something to secure valuable belongings, too.

  14. State Department-suggested vaccinations, local friends who can suggest where to stay and what to do, knowing if your credit/debit card charges fees, bottled water, availability of DIY laundromats, local prepaid phone… just to name a few personal finance-related things you might want to have

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