Imagine if there was a world where all we had to do was pack a bag, make sure we have our boarding pass, and fly away to a new place without any worries about things back home. Unfortunately, we have to let reality hit us and think about the inconveniences that could happen if things aren’t straightened out before an upcoming trip. Late fees on bills, insane international bank fees, and having no service on your phone, just to name a few. We all know packing is an important part of pre-trip planning (um Instagram worthy outfits NEED to be in that suitcase, duh) but there are lot more things that need to be done too. Being too busy thinking about laying out on the beach in our best bikini with that fancy rum cocktail in our hand can make responsibilities fuzzy in our brains. So to help you remember I’ve made this list of my top 5 things I make sure I get done before I get on the plane and let all my worries slip away.
- Tell your bank (or banks) you’re going to be out of the country. You really don’t want to be stuck in a foreign land with no access to money. How much would it suck to find out your account has been frozen because your bank thinks someone stole your card or identity!
- Tell your service provider you’ll be out of the country. Unless you plan on purchasing a phone in the country you’re going to or are planning on spending hundreds of dollars on your phone bill for roaming and international costs, call your service provider and find out if there’s a temporary international travel plan you can use while you’re on vacay. It’s not so fun being lost in a place where you don’t know the language. Trust me Google maps and Google translate can be a lifesaver.
- Pre-pay, or schedule an auto-pay for any bills that you’ll have during the time you’re going to be away. This one is especially important if you’ll be gone for two weeks or more. Those late fees can add up. Save yourself some money and just pre-pay.
- Exchange currency. Some banks charge ATM fees and they may or may not be higher if it’s an international ATM. I have USAA and they always reimburse ATM fees so I don’t usually worry about this and end up taking money out as soon as I land at the airport. Though it’s nice to not have to worry about higher conversion fees in other countries.
- Make your bed and clean your house. I’m hoping this one is a given but really there’s no other feeling like that of getting home to a clean house and made bed after traveling for 7+ hours.
This list is obviously not exhaustive, especially if you have kids or pets, but for a solo traveler like myself, it covers pretty much everything. So before you start packing, do these things. It’ll make your homecoming that much better, trust me.