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I leave in four days to go to Europe for my friend’s wedding. Even with all my planning for the last few months, I still have stuff to do! Aside from the usual pack your bags, there are things we sometimes forget about, especially when you don’t have months and months to think about it. This is a quick list of things to do before traveling!
1. Put Your Mail on Hold
Put your mail on hold so that it doesn’t pile up in front of your door or in your mail box. Aside from the eye sore of having a pile, you do this so that no one knows you’re not home. I’ve very luckily never been robbed *knocks on wood* but anyone knows if you have a pile of mail sitting for days and days you’re likely not home. You can put your mail on hold on-line these days for most locations using the USPS hold mail.
2. Alert Your Bank
Let your bank and/or credit card company know that you’ll be away else they may freeze your account when they see a charge from an out of the ordinary location. You can do this online or by phone.
3. Travel Credit Cards
Check if you’ll get charged for using your card out of the country. If so, you may want to switch to another card without fees. Before going to Europe I had to figure out the best way to deal with how I’d pay for everything. When I went to Vancouver a few years ago I stupidly neglected to research international credit card fees. Needless to say, I came home with about $35 in charges. Mind you I was only there for a few days! So, to avoid my mistake, make sure to do your research before your trip on travel credit cards.
I found that the Chase Sapphire card charged no international fees. Making it a great travel credit card. The card is free for the first year, $90 every year after that. You can of course cancel the card before the first year to avoid paying if you’re only getting it for a trip. Chase also had a deal on the card, spend $2,000 in the first three months and get $400 back. I definitely was going to spend that, between costs for my Aunt and I, so this was great news for me! The card was easy to use in Europe, only had one problem at a small boutique shop in Paris. I didn’t need that dress anyway!
4. International Debt Card
For my international debit card I opened a Bank of America debit card account which allowed me to make cash withdrawals. With this account you can only make transactions online or at the ATM. Note, you can’t transfer money between banks on your iPhone. They haven’t found a secure way of doing this yet. So if you’re only bringing over your iPhone, not a laptop, make sure to transfer all the money you’ll need before you go! Barclays and BNP Paribas are the international partners of Bank of America so they won’t charge you any extra fees making it an excellent international debit card. There are tons of these banks in London and Paris. Ireland, unfortunately didn’t have any partnership with Bank of America. Luckily, I only visited the ATM there once so it wasn’t too much of a ding to my pocket. Check the Bank of America website for international partners in other countries.
5. Credit Cards
Write down your credit card numbers. This way if they get lost, you can contact your credit card company and know what card was lost! Also, take out any credit cards or cards you won’t use on your trip. I always take out my Kohl’s and Target cards that I know I won’t use on vacation. Lightens your bag and if something does get lost, you haven’t lost everything!
6. Make a Copy of Your Passport
I always make a copy so that heaven forbid I loose it I have a copy. I give a copy to my mom and keep a copy in my suitcase. Always better to be safe than sorry!
7. Pay Your Bills
Make sure your rent, credit cards, car and all those payments are made before you leave! Last thing you want to think about it whether your car is paid or not while you’re in Rome.
8. Buy a Travel Converter or Adapter
Which ever you have, take it with you and make sure it works for all the countries you are visiting! You don’t want to get there and have to buy one when you have a perfectly good one waiting at home!
I hope having this list of things to do before traveling helps you in your travels!