International Travel Checklist
Before you set sail for foreign lands, there are some things to consider. From something as basic as having your passport in order to driver's licenses to contacting your local embassy, international traveling doesn't have to be especially difficult--as long as you follow a few basic rules.
While you probably won't forget your passport and necessary visas, other documents may be easier to ignore. Examples include your state and international driver's licenses. You may think you won't need them, but some places may require a second proof of identity or you may decide on a whim that you want to rent a car. Traveler's checks may be a good idea if you plan on carrying a lot of money, and credit cards should be checked in advance to make sure they will work overseas. Finally--going back to the basics--make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from your travel date, as some countries may not allow you in if your passport is about to expire.
Vaccines and Other Health Issues
If you're traveling to Southeast Asia, Africa and certain South American countries, chances are you will need some kind of vaccination. These are divided into three groups: routine, recommended and required. The International Health Regulations association, which governs the world's health regulations, cites yellow fever as the only vaccine that can be designed as obligatory--and then only in certain countries. Recommended vaccines, on the other hand, make up a longer list that includes Hepatitis A, typhoid fever and Japanese encephalitis. Be current on standard vaccinations such as MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and the tetanus and diphtheria shots. People with a compromised immune system, pregnant women and children may need additional immunizations. Those traveling to areas with high incidence of malaria may need prophylactic medications in advance.
Before embarking on a long trip to an exotic location, or even if you're just going across the pond to old Paris, it makes sense to get organized and ensure that you have all necessary items to bring along with you to make the trip as smooth as possible. This includes confirmation of hotel reservations, travel insurance and appropriate clothing and footwear. You will also need to check for alerts and dangers regarding the country you're visiting, and make sure you bring along phone numbers for the nearest embassy and contact data for friends and family in case you have an emergency.
Claire Taylor is a health, wellness and travel writer with credits in publications such as "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." Taylor is also a seasoned independent traveler, as well as a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant.