International travel can be challenging on a number of levels. Visas, passports, currency and other moving parts can make the preparation slightly daunting. Here’s a checklist you should go through to cover all your bases when traveling abroad…

  • First, is passports. Of course, make sure your passport is valid for the time of travel. You’d be surprised how many people just look at their passport the day they are about to leave and realize it’s expired. Also, look into the country you are visiting’s requirements for validity beyond your stay. Some require 3 month and some 6. Also, some countries are picky about where they will stamp  and require a blank page in your passport. Do some research or ask your travel agent about this.
  • Next, is visas. There are many countries that require Canadians to have visa in order to enter, this can be anything between a quick online application to a full blown process that requires you to send of your actual passport and wait for it to come back. A lot of the time they take time to process so make sure you start a couple of months before your trip.
  • And, be aware of the local currency and bring several ways to pay. I like to download the app XE before I go so I can do a quick calculation of what things cost when I’m there. You can use it offline so it won’t waste data. I also like to bring a mix of payment methods. I generally bring some cash, my debit card to withdraw more and a credit card for larger payments.
  • Another great form of currency for travelling is a KOHO card, this Canadian company has created debit-like cards that work anywhere VISA is accepted, except it’s not a credit card- so anyone can get one and you don’t have to worry about over spending. Even better, the exchange charge is only 1.5% and you can choose the colour of your card! Learn more about travelling with KOHO here.
  • Next, avoid data issues. We all heard those horror stories about thousands of dollars in roaming charges. Call your cellphone provider and switch to a temporary international data plan or if you don’t plan on using your phone unless on WIFI keep your phone in airplane mode to avoid those nasty charges. Another option is to pick up a SIM card in your destination, this works if you’re travelling for enough time to justify a month-long plan, sticking within one region where a carrier will cover you, and have an unlocked phone.
  • And don’t forget about insurance. Medical is an absolute must for a trip abroad. But it’s also a good to get cancellation and trip interruption as well to deal with any unforeseen circumstances. Shop around and find what the best coverage is for you.
  • Next, snap photos of your passport and travel vouchers to store in your phone. This will make things much easier if they are lost.
  • Finally, if you’re checking your luggage- don’t forget to rip off the bottom of the baggage tag (if you use the self check-in machine). This is your basically your receipt, and your ticket to finding your luggage again should it go missing in-transit.

Happy travels!

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