Traveling Abroad? Here’s what to do first.

For our honeymoon, we are going to St. Lucia. That requires a passport and tickets. If you go to other places, you might need shots and a few other things, but if you’re like us, you might be starting the process from scratch. I’ve done some research recently, so I thought I’d share what I know.

Passports

You’re going to want to get on this early, and make sure to fill everything out and follow the rules if you don’t already have one. We had a problem with getting our papers in because we didn’t fill out when we were coming back and put our parents current last names instead of their maiden names. They are very specific and very busy much of the time.

If you already have a passport, make sure it’s in date when you fly and has the same name as your driver license. If you’re getting married, get it in the name you currently have and change everything when you get back. It took us three trips to get the forms submitted and a month for them to come back in. We filled out the papers wrong (apparently common) and then wrote one check instead of four (also common.)

My advice, get started early.

Shots

Depending on where you are going, you might need shots before or after your trip. You might also need to avoid giving blood or having children. Going to the Caribbean, we can’t have children for six month after we get back but don’t need any shots.

My best advice is to go to the doctor, you need to talk to a professional and make sure that you are ready to go on the trip. Also, consider international health insurance if you have health problems. There are many forms, some offered by the hotel you are going to and other times can be bought from a third party. If you get hurt or just have a problem this can save you tens of thousands.

Animals

Portrait of MadDogge
When we go on vacation, he comes about 50% of the time. Otherwise, it’s Rover or a friend. 

This one is tricky. There are different rules for each animal in each country. It is best to do a lot of research and begin early. You might have to get them shots, leave them in quarantine, fill out papers, or even register their DNA. Your breed could be banned or they might not allow dogs at all.

Also, you’re going to want to check the laws on getting your pet back into the US. If you have a support or service animal, the rules could be the same of different for you. The best advice, unless your pet is integral to the trip (or it’s a very long trip or you have a service animal) is you should leave it at home and find a Rover person or friend to take care of him/her.

Phone Connection

Portland 2017 - Hiking in Forest Park - Stone House
Phones are great for photos, but costly overseas if not careful. 

Now days, everyone is on their phone, taking photos, calling, texting, surfing the web and more. If you want to take your phone, you might be paying a lot unless you enable airplane mode. We will be leaving our phones in our bags and using a digital camera to take photos (after all, I have no interest in being “connected” while on my honeymoon.)

Another option, that can help if you will be there a while or know locals,is to get a local pay as you go phone, like the ones you can get here in Walmart. This can enable you to call an Uber, call you hotel, contact emergency services, and connect with friends. You will also be able to get on Facebook if you get internet. This will allow you to talk to you friends back in the US.  If you go to the US and Canada, some wireless carriers will have the option to pay no extra fees.

Bills & Home Care

You might not think about it at first, but it quickly becomes evident that you will need someone to stop by your house during longer trips, even if you don’t have pets. Get a neighbor or a friends to take any packages into you home, get them to change the lights up day to day, make sure your mailbox stays empty. Tell them to set your thermostat the day before you plan on coming home.

If you will be gone for a while, either pay the bills in advance or leave a way for your friend to pay them for you. You might be able to turn off some things like cable off on longer trips. This will save you money each month (local beer money anyone?).


 

There is always more, if you used a travel agent, they will be able to help you. Best advice is to talk to someone who’s been out there recently. The more I learn about traveling the more I will update this blog (and this site.)

Let me know if you have anything that you do to make sure your travel is worry free.

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