SALT LAKE CITY — With the arrival of spring, many people are thinking of summer vacations and planning spring break trips. Whether you travel close to home or across the globe, it is good to be prepared and to plan ahead.
For those planning to leave the country, here are six tips for traveling internationally.
Carry credit cards rather than cash
A credit card is often safer than carrying cash because it can be tracked or declined. Credit and debit cards also may offer a better exchange rate for foreign currencies, according to AAA Travel, the largest leisure travel organization in the U.S.
You should contact your bank or credit union as well as your credit card company and inform them that you will be traveling outside the country. In an effort to stop fraudelent spending, many companies will put a halt on credit cards or debit cards that make unexpected purchases outside the U.S. or in a large number of different locations. So make sure that you contact your agencies to prevent any issues before traveling.
Know U.S. Embassy and consulate information
Make sure you have the U.S. Consulate and/or Embassy address and contact information for the area where you are traveling. In the event of an emergency in that region or if you lose your passport, the U.S. Embassy or consulate will be able to assist you in leaving the country.
Copies of passports and trip itinerary
AAA Travel also suggests keeping copies of your travel agent and travel insurance information, along with hotel, airplane, and other travel and itinerary documents with you at all times. This will come in handy if you get lost or can't remember the name of the hotel you are staying at (which can happen a lot in unfamiliar territory with languages that you don't speak.)
It is also wise to leave a copy of your passport and itinerary with family and/or friends in case you lose the documents you are carrying. You can also scan your documents and email them to yourself. AAA suggests keeping an emergency contact name in your wallet.
Don’t leave documents in luggage
it is smart to carry a photo ID, such as a driver's license, with you at all times. Lock the original documents and your passport in a hotel safe, and always keep the traveling copies of your documents separate from the originals.
In the event that you are robbed or pickpocketed during your international journey, you don't want to be carrying everything on you. Take either your driver's license or your passport and leave the other in your hotel safe.
Double check that you have the appropriate visas for you and your children before leaving the country. Some countries have special guidelines and restrictions and you want to make sure that your visa corresponds with those guidelines before you get on the plane. You can check here for a list of visa guidelines.
It is always a good idea to buy travel insurance that will protect you and cover costs from unexpected trip interruptions, baggage loss, medical emergencies and airline refunds. Getting some type of travel insurance is especially wise if you are going to be traveling out of the country for more than a month or if you are traveling to multiple countries during your trip.
By planning ahead for any international traveling, you will avoid stress and be able to more fully enjoy your trip.