Traveling Internationally? Do This First!

Today, I depart for Indonesia. These last couple of days have been spent printing itineraries and copies of my passport, making last accommodation bookings, notifying my bank, and more.  Some of us are the planning type, while others of us prefer the fly-by-your-seat style. Regardless of your traveling style, here are some things you want to do before your embark on your adventure!

Make Copies of Your Passport

The first time that I made copies of my passport, I viewed it as just another step on my to-do list. Unfortunately, Clay and I learned firsthand in the bus station of Santiago, Chile that theft is a real and sobering thing. Thanks to the copies of our passports that were made, obtaining a new one at the U.S. Embassy was significantly smoother and more painless. Place a copy of your passport in each of your bags, and be sure to trade a copy of your passport with your traveling partner!

Hiking Panorama Ridge with my travel buddy in BC. Always swap copies of your passport!

Utilize the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

The STEP program is offered by the U.S. State Department and is a wonderful resource to ensure you have the safest trip possible. With this, the State Department continually updates and alerts you of any hazards or threats existing in the country you are visiting. Notifications come straight to your email. Not American? Look into similar resources provided by your own government. For example, the Registration of Canadians Abroad is a similar service.

Taking in the views at San Rafael Waterfall in Ecuador.

Make an Appointment with a Travel Doctor

Prior to my trip to South America, Nepal, and now Indonesia, I made an appointment for a consultation with a travel doctor. Tanya, at Capitol Travel Medicine in Alexandria, VA knew exactly what I would need to protect myself from maladies in each corner of the world. From Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever, and Dengue Fever vaccines to prescriptions for Diamox altitude acclimatizing medicine and more, travel doctors will make sure you are up to date on vaccines and will equip you with the medicine you need to stay safe and have a successful trip.

Next stop – Lobuche. Two days until Everest Base Camp! Hours after this photo was taken, altitude sickness kicked in.


There is insurance for everything. Travel insurance, renter’s insurance, medical evacuation insurance, and more. Make sure that you have what you need for a safe and smooth trip. Some homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies cover personal belongings and are wonderful types of policies to have to protect yourself from loss, damage, or theft while traveling. Medical evacuation service may be important to consider depending on the type of trip you are planning and the activities you will be participating in.

Hitchhiking our way through Chile and making friends along the way!

These tips and ideas will save you time and money if and when things do not go according to plan as they s̶o̶m̶e̶t̶i̶m̶e̶s̶  often do while traveling! An informed traveler is a smart traveler – use all of these resources to your benefit. For example: skip the $800 three-series rabies vaccine and opt for medical evacuation insurance.

And now,it’s off to Indonesia! I will be taking a blogging hiatus for the next couple weeks – I know there will be plenty to share once I return!


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