Traveling overseas can seem daunting. However, there are many resources you can use before and during a trip abroad to make your visit less stressful, whether you are traveling for work or for pleasure. Three important considerations when traveling outside of your home country include understanding local customs and requirements, knowing how you will pay for things you need while traveling, and preparing ahead in case you become ill or unexpected events arise.
DO YOUR LOCAL RESEARCH
Research the country’s visa and passport requirements before booking your trip. Most countries require that your passport not expire within six months of your trip, and some countries require you to obtain a visa prior to your visit. Review this information ahead of time to ensure you can meet all requirements prior to traveling.
In addition to preparing proper documentation for a trip abroad, learn about local customs of the places you plan to visit. Find out what is and is not permitted. Learn about proper attire given both the local culture and weather. Research the available modes of transportation.
Since voltage and outlets tend to be different outside the U.S., you should check the compatibility of your electronic devices. You may need to bring adapters.
The U.S. Department of State website is a reliable source of information for learning about your destination. Additionally, its Traveler’s Checklist provides some helpful website addresses and phone numbers for overseas travelers.
THINK AHEAD ABOUT CREDIT AND CURRENCY
How will you pay for items or obtain money if an emergency arises? All credit card companies and banks now track client spending habits. If they see unusual activity on your card, they may freeze your account. Be sure to alert them about your travel destinations ahead of time.
Besides notifying your bank and credit cards before you travel, learn whether you can use your ATM card to access local currency. Since some countries are more prone to fraud than others, you may not be able to use your cards in certain ones.
Finally, you may want to obtain some local currency before your trip, in case you encounter unexpected needs or difficulties. While the exchange rate may not be the most competitive, airport foreign currency exchanges are very convenient and tend to have a large variety of currencies from around the world.
CONSIDER YOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY
Preparing for your health and safety is most important when planning to travel to a foreign country. Before you leave, make an appointment with your doctor to see if there are any vaccines you may need. The U.S. Passports & International Travel website contains lists of vaccines and medications recommended for each country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website also provides helpful health information for travelers. It’s also a good idea to call your insurance company before your trip to discuss what to do if you get sick or injured and determine if you need additional travel coverage.
For your safety, you may want to register in advance with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, also known as STEP. This free program lets you register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to receive updates and information about safety conditions and events that may affect your travel. It can also help your family and friends get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
Lastly, if traveling for work, you should reach out to your employer’s human resources team to learn about resources that may be available to you. Many companies purchase some level of business travel insurance or assistance service that can help employees who become ill or injured while traveling or if unexpected events occur. Most providers now offer a smartphone app that offers up-to-date event notifications, access to medical care and other support services.
If you have questions about protecting yourself or others on business travel overseas, please contact your Hylant client executive, Global Client Executive Erin Cruz or Global Benefits Specialist Tanja Lumpp.