Brian and I are in the throes of planning our Italian getaway. With a few months to go, we are finally narrowing down our route and starting to look at train tickets. We originally planned to rent a car, but have since decided against it since the trains are so efficient!
As I’m sifting through our research, I take note of the things we want to check off before we head across the border.
In addition to making sure we have scanned copies of our passport ID pages, getting our reservations in order, and preparing our finances, we also consider a handful of other precautions that will help us easily transition into an awesome adventure.
Though there are many basic to-dos while prepping for an international trip, I thought I’d highlight a few of our favorites that sometimes go under-the-radar and aren’t widely known.
5 Key Steps To Enjoying Our International Escape
1. Schwab It Up
Brian and I opened a Charles Schwab Checking Account to avoid paying foreign transaction fees and ATM fees worldwide. We have our international travel funds stored in an Ally High Yield Savings Account to generate extra interest while saving. Before we leave town, we transfer whatever balance we need into our Charles Schwab Checking Account for easy access once abroad.
2. Credit Card Check-In
We slim down our wallets to bare necessities. Instead of taking all of our credit cards, we make sure to bring 2 widely accepted credit cards: 1 Visa and 1 Mastercard.
The two credit cards we travel abroad with are the IHG Rewards Club Premier and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Both credit cards offer great travel benefits and no foreign transaction fees!
Before we head out of town, we check-in with our bank and credit card issuers to let them know we will be traveling internationally to avoid any confusion or declined purchases.
3. Stay Connected
Staying connected is a huge help in communicating with travel buddies, making plans, or just plain ‘ol research!
Our T-Mobile phone plan includes unlimited text, talk, and nationwide 4G data. It also includes unlimited text and 2G data in over 210 countries!
We double-check that our destination is covered under our plan. If not, or if we decide we want to upgrade our connections, there are other options to consider such as: purchasing local SIM cards for our unlocked phones, upgrading our plan to allow for better international coverage, or relying solely on Wi-Fi.
4. Pay Bills
When you’re traveling abroad, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your adventures and lose track of time. This is especially the case when you have a few weeks worth of exploration to dive into.
To avoid any potential missed payments or late fees, Brian and I make sure to pay our bills ahead of time or schedule payment by the due date. Even when payments are scheduled, we set reminders on the due date to make sure payment was successful!
5. Pack For Versatility
We travel with a backpack! Yep – even internationally! Brian and I haven’t checked a bag in ages. We even managed a 2-week trip to Ireland with just our backpacks. Checking a bag can be a total pain, not to mention that there is a chance that your bag might not show up where you are.
We avoid the annoyance of a checked bag and enjoy traveling light. When traveling light, it’s important to have versatile clothing that can easily be mixed and matched and dressed up or down.
When you’re not weighed down with extra baggage, you have more freedom to roam.
There are, indeed, a number of to-dos you will likely want to check off before you travel abroad. Anywhere from the mundane, basic ‘pack-for-the-weather’ to the more crucial tasks of checking for visa requirements or securing travel insurance, there are a handful of tips you might want to think about before taking off.
Today, I’ve shared with you just 5 ways we prepare for our international travels. There are all kinds of great material and resources out there to help you prepare for your next big trip. Head on over to 50 Things to Know Before You Go Abroad from Savored Journeys for a more comprehensive travel checklist!