8 Simple Steps to a Safe Trip, Part One: Before You Go

Leaving & Coming Home, Packing & Wardrobe, Passports & Visas, Planning — By on August 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

By Susmita Baral
LG News Intern

Many round-the-world trips begin with a complete break from the life you’ve been leading up to that point: selling your car, giving up your apartment lease, putting your belongings into storage, etc. But what if you’re about to go on a trip that’s not quite so extensive? What should you do before you go? Here, LG News Intern Susmita Baral outlines eight steps to take before getting on that plane:

Preparations for a Trip1. Take Care of Your Affairs

Take care of the life you’re leaving behind before going on vacation. This includes holding your mail at the post-office, temporarily deactivating accounts like Netflix if you’re gone for over a month, making sure all your bills are paid up and that you’ve designated a house sitter or someone to drop by to make sure things are okay while you’re gone.

2. It’s in the Cards

Don’t bring any extra credit cards besides the ones you plan on using and safely store the cards you’re leaving behind in a lock box or secure location.

Before leaving the country, call your credit card company to do the following:

  • Let them know that you’ll be using the card abroad or in a different area—many credit card fraud alerts prevent travelers from using their cards in foreign countries.
  • Find out how to report a stolen card abroad since 1-800 numbers don’t work everywhere!
  • Find out your credit card limit—travelers have been accidentally arrested for exceeding their credit limit in foreign countries.
  • Ask if there will be any extra fees charged to your account when the card is used abroad. Many card companies add an extra processing fee called the foreign transaction fee so asking this question can help you decide which card to take and save you big bucks.

3. Phone on the Go

Keep the following numbers entered in your phone: Hotel, Airlines, Doctor’s Office, U.S. Embassy (or your native country’s embassy), and National Passport Information Center (1-877-487-2778). If your credit card company has a unique number to contact in the event that your card is stolen or a transaction doesn’t go through, then add that number as well.  

Money and Passport4. Don’t Pass on the Passport

Between pick pockets and unsafe hotels, one of the worst things that can happen to you while abroad is losing your passport. As a precaution, keep photocopies of your passport with yourself, with a loved one back home and email a PDF to yourself so that you won’t be stranded in a foreign country.

5. Digital Details

Organize copies of all receipts (hotels, rental cars, etc), a copy of your passport details, hotel addresses and phone numbers, emergency contact numbers and your embassy address and numbers in one consolidated email. This way if anything goes wrong, you have everything you need in one organized email.

6. Keeping in Touch

Leave your planned itinerary with hotel numbers and all pertinent information with a close friend or family member, and let your friends know whom to contact if they need to reach you. This way if anything goes wrong (a mishap at your house or a problem with children you’ve left behind) they can reach you easily—especially if you’re going to be without internet connection.

If you’re from the US, consider signing up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (https://travelregistration.state.gov = it’s free!) so that you may be contacted whether it’s because of an emergency in the U.S., or because of a crisis in the area you’re visiting.

7. Luggage Lockdown

Put your name, address and telephone numbers on the inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Many airlines require you to label your luggage with their brand tag so consider printing out your name, address and telephone numbers on stickers so you can easily stick on airline tags.

Note: Make sure each opening/zipper has its own personal lock so that no one can steal your possessions.

8. Check[List] It Out

Make a checklist of everything you’re taking with you. The benefits of this are twofold: In the scenario that your luggage is lost or you can be reimbursed for your possessions, you’ll know exactly what you’re missing. And in the best case scenario where your luggage is neither stolen nor lost, the checklist can help you when you’re packing your bags for your trip home to make sure you don’t forget anything!

Thumbnails courtesy of the Traveletes and A Official Passport

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