Here is Your Overseas Travel Checklist
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Traveling outside of your home country is a big deal. According to New York Daily News, Americans were half as likely as their European counterparts to travel abroad. 29% have never been outside the country. Many of the ones who have, traveled to Canada or Mexico. Neither of which is a truly major excursion. Many may have done so during a period when a passport wasn’t even necessary to cross those borders.
It is not uncommon for Europeans to visit 10 or more countries. But the situation is quite different. It has nothing to do with being more metropolitan. It has to do with cost, and the fact that traveling between countries in Europe is a little like traveling between states in the US. So when an American packs up and heads across the pond, it is a pretty big deal.
The first time you do it, you will be understandably excited, even if it is a business trip. There is a good chance you are going to sneak some leisure into that trip. You might even take your family with you. Because nerves are going to be a little high, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. Here is a checklist that will help you be sure to have everything you need:
You cannot assume that you will have all the rental car options abroad that you do when in the US. Not every country is a car culture. Bicycles and motorcycles might be more common where you are going. So be sure to take care of the rental car in advance and leave nothing to chance.
For example, if you think you are going to need to rent a car in Iceland, take care of that detail up front. First, there may not be as much availability as you are used to in the US. Waiting until the last minute could mean that you don’t get the car you want, or even that you don’t get a car at all.
You will also want to lock in the best prices which are likely going to be much better than what you would have to pay at the last minute. You also want to give yourself plenty of time to make sure you are properly licensed and insured to operate a vehicle in your destination country. Take plenty of time to clear regulatory hurdles before you show up to claim your keys.
Tips: Always make sure to book your hotel in advance. Visit Agoda for discounted rates and a wide variety of hotel options.
Give Yourself Time for the Passport
You already know you need a passport. What you may not know is how much it will cost and how much time it takes to get it. There are many fees associated with getting a new passport. The less time you have to get the passport, the more it costs. Inside of two weeks, the price is higher. If you need a passport the next day, be sure to have plenty of room on your credit card. Bottom line: start early, and expect to pay around $110. Start late, and it could be as high as $750.
Get a VPN
When you get off the plane in Tel Aviv, you will realize that you are not in Kansas anymore. That is because you will lose access to many of the services you took for granted back home. To make sure you can access all your services and US versions of your favorite websites, you are going to need a virtual private network (VPN).
Get a New SIM
When modern smartphones first became popular, there were lots of stories about people ending up with bills for thousands of dollars from carriers. Nothing much has changed. The difference is that people are getting smarter about how they use their mobiles while traveling.
The most common solution is to get a local SIM card that represents a phone plan in the place to which you are traveling. That is almost always the cheapest way to use a smartphone and mobile internet while traveling. You can also check with your carrier to see if they have a roaming deal or international plan that covers where you are going. That is the easiest thing to do. But it tends to be a bit more expensive.
Traveling abroad is always a grand adventure. Be sure to eliminate the unpleasant surprises by securing the rental car in advance. Allow plenty of time for the passport. Get a VPN for uninterrupted browsing and services. And get a local SIM to ensure a reasonable price for mobile roaming.
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