airport traveller with baggage

7 basis rules to prepare for an international trip

How long have you waited for this? Travelling internationally is something everyone dreams of, but relatively few are actually able to follow through and make it happen. Consider yourself very fortunate and try to savor every moment of this life-changing experience. Here are the seven fundamental rules that you should follow before your trip gets off the ground. After you reach your destination, of course, you can expect the unexpected.

  1. Secure your passport. Getting a passport for the first time can take longer when there are high volumes of applications, especially in the spring. Under normal circumstances, the processing time at a Passport Canada office can take up to 10 days and by mail up to 20 days. However, applications can be rejected due to incomplete or inaccurate information, so fill out the forms carefully.
  2. Apply for any necessary travel visas. If your passport and visas aren’t in order, you can be turned away at the airport you’re leaving from or refused entry on arrival at your destination. Visas can take months depending on the country, so plan ahead, but be aware of the expiration date of the visa.
  3. Carry as little cash as possible. Most businesses abroad accept credit cards, and ATMs frequently offer better exchange rates due to the volume of transactions that they complete. Cash in any currency attracts the attention of thieves and pickpockets.
  4. Make copies of critical documents. Some government agencies can hold on to documents and many hotels can hold your passport during your stay. Make copies and keep them in a safe place in case you need to speak to the local embassy staff.
  5. Look over insurance options. Emergencies are a part of life, especially in the uncertain world of international travel. You may experience a hotel cancellation, lost luggage, sudden illness, or the need to cut the trip short due to an emergency at home. Make sure you have the proper travel insurance to cover you when you need it most.
  6. Know the health regulations. Just as most countries requiring a passport, some countries require proof of recent vaccinations and can detain you at customs without the proper documents. Research this many months ahead of time so that you can complete the full course of medical treatments required.
  7. Make copies of keys. Leave copies of important key sets with friends and family at home. Lost luggage and other adventures shouldn’t prevent you from reaching the comforts of home after a long journey.

There are many details to arrange related to the logistics of the travel itself and to covering responsibilities while you are gone, so a few things inevitably slip through the cracks. Don’t worry about the small stuff. Look over these rules, make sure you have enough insurance to protect you, and have a marvelous adventure.