While overseas travel may not necessarily be an option for everyone right now, it will be available again sooner than you think. A lot of people are getting through being cooped up at home and waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic by dreaming about international trips they’re going to take in the near future, and with good reason.
The more you focus on turning this time into a planning period for your next big trip, the more smoothly that trip will unfold when you’re ready to go. It’s one thing to daydream about travel, and another to turn it into a reality. A lot goes into planning a trip, and particularly a trip overseas. It’s estimated that about $19,000 are spent every minute on tourism and traveling.
Of course, it costs a good amount of money to reserve travel and accommodations, as well as particular experiences, there is also a lot of practical issues that must be taken care of before you go anywhere.
Whether you’re leaving the country for a week or a month, you’re going to be a lot less easily available than you would be if you were going out of town for a weekend. Once you’re in another country, you can’t rush back to fix something that you forget to take care of at home. Therefore, it’s important to put more thought into preparing for overseas travel than you would when preparing for travel within the United States.
There are a lot of vital aspects to preparing for overseas travel, like getting your passport ready and making that the country you’re visiting is safe and that you’re observing customs and laws correctly.
However, there is a lot that you’ll need to take care of at home as well. Though some people live close enough to family or trusted friends that they can have them take care of their affairs while they’re gone, this is not always an option.
For that matter, there are certain things that you would be much better off resolving ahead of time by yourself. With that being said, let’s look into some of the most important aspects of preparing for overseas travel.
1. Take Care Of Your Pets
For a lot of pet parents, going overseas is difficult just due to worry alone. Whether you own a goldfish or a dog, it’s easy to spend time when you should be relaxing fretting over whether or not you did the right thing for your animal companion.
You can take care of a lot of this worry by making a plan early on and setting aside a checklist of things you need to do for your pet before you leave the country. Different pets obviously have different needs, and each pet requires a specific approach for how it should be taken care of when you leave the country.
Some pets, like fish, reptiles, and rodents don’t need a ton of care and can be left at home under the care of a petsitter. That petsitter could be a friend or family member that you trust; or it could be a professional. While petsitting businesses often offer services and even have websites that you can peruse, you can also take advantage of apps like Rover.
There, you can find a local pet sitter with tailored services and reviews. Of course, if your larger animal like a dog or cat would better off staying at home, this is a great option as well. Some pet sitters will even stay at your home to watch after your animal, though this does take a good degree of trust on your part.
On the other hand, a lot of pet parents understandably don’t love the idea of leaving their larger pets at home when they’re gone. This is where pet boarding services come in. You can board your dog or cat at a high-quality boarding facility, where they’ll be well taken care of, exercised, and even get to interact with other animals if they’re socialized.
Some veterinary offices even offer boarding services, which gives owners the peace of mind of knowing that if their beloved pets get sick, they’ll be professionally cared for. Of course, not all boarding facilities were created equal, which is why it’s important to read reviews and if possible rely upon word of mouth from friends in the area.
You can often request a tour of boarding facilities before making an appointment for your pet there. Check and see if businesses that you trust, like your groomer or pet daycare, offer boarding as another service. Returning to the idea of the petsitter, a lot of private boarders also advertise on sites like Rover. It’s become trendy recently for people to offer boarding services out of their own home, much like at-home daycare providers.
Of course, making sure that your pet is cared for while you’re gone isn’t the only thing you need to take care of regarding your animals while preparing for overseas travel. You also need to make sure that your pet’s vaccines are up to date, as a long of petsitters and boarding services will only work with pets that are up to date on their shots.
Fill any prescription medications your pet requires for as long as you’ll be gone, and buy food ahead of time as well. As long as you’re well-prepared, your pet will be happy and healthy while you’re gone and excited to greet you upon your return.
2. Plan Ahead For Your Home
There is a lot that goes into maintaining a home while you’re there. And those needs don’t disappear when you go overseas. Part of preparing for overseas travel is ensuring that everything that needs to keep running while you’re gone does so smoothly, and putting a stop on everything that can and should be paused.
Again, we recommend a checklist that you go carefully before leaving the country. One forgotten detail could potentially have major consequences. Think of the damage that could be done if your home incurs water damage while you’re gone or the amount of money that will be spent if one light is kept continuously on for a month. The more meticulous you are before you leave, the more easily you’ll be able to relax once you’re abroad.
Firstly, think about the ways that you can cut down on your bills while you’re away. While some things can’t be paused or stopped completely, you don’t want to spend more money on services and utilities that you won’t be using than you absolutely most. For this reason, turn your HVAC system down or off before you leave. While you may need to maintain some degree of air circulation, you certainly don’t need your heating or cooling systems on full blast when you aren’t even home.
Think too about extra, like your a curbside pickup service. You won’t be accumulating trash while you’re away from the home, so why would you need to pay for that? Most companies will allow you to put a pause on those types of services temporarily while you’re gone.
You should do the same for things like newspaper delivery services, mail delivery in general, and of course any subscription services you might receive. We’re all rather fond of our subscription boxes, but if you’re going to be out of the country for a month or more, why bother having them delivered, especially if they contain food.
You should also do a basic check of your home’s inner workings while preparing for overseas travel, to ensure that everything is running as it should be and you don’t have to worry about coming home to the results of some major malfunction.
Your water heater system should be inspected, especially if you’re going overseas during the winter and you’re worried about pipes freezing. Additionally, any high-maintenance parts of the home should be double-checked. It might be a good time to knock out things like regular septic maintenance. Why put it off when you could have it taken care of before you leave?
3. Check Your Alarms
All alarm systems could be checked to ensure that they’re working before you leave the country. Although this doesn’t just refer to security alarms, they’re obviously one area that you’ll want to ensure is well-equipped before you travel abroad.
There are steps you can take to make sure that your home is less likely to be targeted by burglars while you’re abroad. If you lack a garage, your car being in the driveway or parked on the curb will be enough to dissuade many. Furthermore, visibly present security cameras will make a lot of burglars decide against your home, as they won’t want to worry about the risk of being caught.
Also, having a friend or loved one check on your home regularly will give you peace of mind and potentially ward off anyone who might be casing the home. If you’ll be leaving for an extended period of time, it would be worth it to consider a house sitter. Not just because you’re worried about your home’s security, but because they can help with maintenance. Ultimately, however, the presence of a high security system makes a lot of homeowners will safe when they leave the country. But every system requires maintenance; therefore, it’s up to you to make sure that your system is working as it should be before you leave.
Security alarms are not the only types of alarms you should preemptively check, though. A part of preparing for overseas travel is making sure that your fire alarms are working properly. This is often much easier, as fire alarms can be taken down and examined without much of a hassle. If your fire alarm isn’t working, it usually will require a quick change of batteries and nothing more. But it’s important to remember that even when you aren’t home, your fire alarms need to stay in working order.
4. Take Care Of Your Cars
Once your pets and your home are taken care of, you need to turn to your cars. If you’re going abroad, you’re most likely not taking your vehicle with you, unless Mexico or Canada is on the menu. Therefore, you could potentially pay to have your car looked after just as you would your pet.
This could be a good option if you’re leaving for an extended period of time and lack a garage. However, most car owners simply leave their cars at home, with all of their security measures in place. But there’s more to preparing for overseas travel regarding your car than just making sure that it’s as secure as possible.
You will need to maintain your vehicle insurance policy while you’re gone, even if nobody is driving the car. Insurance policies are required by law, and if you’re traveling out of the country for an extended period of time you need to keep up with it. If you don’t already have the payments automatically withdrawn, you may want to do so, as it can be difficult to remember when you’re on vacation.
Furthermore, you should have an auto repair service check out your car for any issues before you leave. If you’re preparing for overseas travel, it can be easy to put off maintenance and repairs when it comes to your vehicle. But many of these problems will only become worse as your car is left idle for an extended period of time.
If you don’t want to come home to mechanical issues, just have all the necessary repairs done preemptively. Should you leave for a particularly long period of time, ask a friend or loved one to check on your car periodically, or maybe even give it a test drive; though in that case, be prepared to have the number of a towing service handy just in case it needs to be taken to the shop.
Preparing for overseas travel may seem like something of a hassle, especially once you’re done with the fun parts like selecting a location and activities. But remember: it’s all worth it in the end. Once you’re able to relax and enjoy your vacation, you’ll be glad you put in the effort.