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Top Checklist Items for Overseas Travel

Travelers Today       By    David Thompson

Updated: Mar 24, 2023 11:40 AM EDT

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Photo by Victor Freitas

(Photo: Victor Freitas from Pexels)

Taking a fun overseas excursion can go a long way toward relieving stress, rejuvenating the body's energy level, and learning about other cultures. If you're planning a trip abroad, take the time to work through an essential checklist before the departure day arrives. Depending on your specific destination, it might be wise to leave the laptop at home or, in any case, take extra precautions to keep data safe while traveling. Other musts for future globetrotters include taking out a term life insurance policy, double-checking the terms of health coverage, obtaining rail passes, buying a security wallet to keep money and papers safe, purchasing traveler's checks, and taking precautions on social media sites to avoid announcing itineraries. Here are the pertinent details.

Device and Data Protection

Decide which devices are safe to pack. If you're headed to remote areas or potentially dangerous foreign cities, avoid the temptation to bring a laptop or tablet that contains vast amounts of sensitive data. Consider buying a burner phone for use during vacation. The goal is to avoid a data breach by local hackers. Plus, keep in mind that thousands of innocent vacationers lose smartphones, tablets, and laptops when they go abroad. The best way to avoid the problem is to leave the big items at home and use a burner phone while away. Always bring enough chargers to supply electricity for at least 12 hours of phone usage. Many are surprised at how often they can't find a suitable electrical outlet when visiting a foreign country.

Term Life Insurance Update

If you don't already have one, purchase a term life insurance policy before leaving. Coverage can be set to go into effect immediately, rates are reasonable, and there's no need to keep the policy after you return. For decades, carriers have sold short-term policies at kiosks in international airports. It's wiser to review an informative online blog and find out all the details at least a week before your departure day. A guide is a perfect resource for finding relevant articles about term life insurance and accessing reliable information about the subject.

Health Insurance Coverage

Health insurance policies can be tricky for those who go overseas or to any out of the country destination. That's because many insurers write restrictions into the contracts that limit coverage amounts and categories for policyholders who are on foreign soil. The only way to know for sure is to call your carrier and ask them. In many cases, even when there are restrictions, it's possible to purchase a short-term rider that fills in the gaps during the time you'll be outside the US.

Rail Passes

Rail passes can be confusing even for inveterate travelers. Every nation has its own policies and procedures about how to purchase and use them. The Japanese government forbids visitors from buying rail passes inside Japan. If you want a JR Pass, you must purchase it before arriving in the country. The situation is not as confusing in Europe and Russia, but Mideast nations can present difficulties for those who want to save on in country or regional train fares. The effort is usually worth it because pass holders typically can pay 50% or more compared to non-pass holders.

Security Wallets and Travelers Checks

Security wallets have straps and are meant to be worn over the neck or around the upper body and under clothing. Users can gain easy access to the contents by reaching inside shirts from the neck or via a temporarily opened shirt button. The slight inconvenience is a small price to pay for the wallets' ability to deter pickpockets. Use them to carry a day's worth of cash or traveler's checks, local registration papers, passports, and other essential valuables. 

Traveler's checks are usually a better choice than digital forms of payment, particularly phone-based utilities like cryptocurrency or bank cards. Credit cards can be a good choice, but unsavory merchants in some places can make copies and attempt to hack accounts later. Paper traveler's checks are still one of the best ways to pay for goods and services while abroad.

Social Media Precautions

Never announce your itinerary on social platforms before you depart. If you want to blog about a trip or post photos, resist the urge to do it in real time. Wait until returning to discuss all the exciting details and experiences. Unfortunately, victims of robberies don't always hire live in house sitters, which makes them prime candidates for a crime. Even if you do find someone to stay in your home, avoid mentioning the journey on social outlets.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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