In many travel industry news lately, there has been a resurgence of travel, and international travel is part of that recovery. As the world has sprung back from the many restrictions from the Covid pandemic, so has travel. Covid restrictions have relaxed worldwide, and Americans now have many more travel options. There are many tips I can give if international travel is in your future. But after talking to a few friends currently traveling internationally, here are five tips for international travelers.
Although many Americans think of the US as the world’s trendsetter, Covid realities have proven that the US trails the world regarding Covid documentation. QR codes in the US are far more uncommon than in many international destinations. Worldwide, digital QR codes allow others to access Covid test results and Covid vaccinations. Many international destinations require this digital proof for entry rather than a photocopied or scanned copy of a vaccination report or test. In many cases, you may be denied entry or turned away from your destination without a QR code, so check the requirements and prepare accordingly.
Visa travel requirements.
Again, many Americans think that the US passport is all that is needed for travel. Although the US passport allows for visa-free travel to many countries, many international destinations require a visa upon entry. In some cases, a visa upon entry into some countries is available. However, many travelers will find the error of not considering visa requirements at the airport check-in when they are denied boarding. Other times they will discover this fact when they are denied entry and never get to leave the airport of the country after hours of travel. Travelers can apply for travel visas at the country’s embassy, consulate, or online. Please ensure you apply when necessary and be aware of scam sites using an online platform.
After years of traveling, it’s amazing how many travelers travel with little travel information. At most international destinations, a landing card or arrival card is required. This card is considered a legal document presented at immigration and used by the country authorities to collect information on passengers entering their country. This includes personal details, flight information, and travel details such as hotel stay with name and address. It’s incredible how many people simply know the destination but not the flight number of the airplane they are traveling on. Please try to have all this information and a pen in your hand-carry luggage when traveling internationally.
WhatsApp messenger service.
While not as common in the US, the WhatsApp messenger service is used worldwide. It only requires Wi-Fi in some cases but may incur international charges based on your cellular plan. Please remember to turn roaming off on your phone to avoid fees. Most importantly, WhatsApp calls are free when connected to the internet. The key to using this service when traveling internationally is downloading and setting up the app before leaving your home country. Additionally, have those you plan to stay in contact with download the app. I have found that calls and chats are easier on the app if the person you are trying to contact is listed in your WhatsApp contacts.
If you are taking prescription medications, please travel with your prescription bottle and carry medicines in your hand-carry. Many people carry weekly pill carriers with medication they may identify on sight. However, if you ever lose your medication when traveling, having the prescription bottle, which has your identification information and the medication name, will make it much easier to access the replacement medication. In some countries, you may simply go to the pharmacy with the information and bypass seeing a doctor.
These are but five tips that are useful if you’re thinking of international travel. There are many more, so look for future blog posts with even more tips and information. If you found any of these helpful.