With today’s reliance on technology and increased state of security awareness, international travel brings its own set of challenges. Furthermore, American electronics often won’t work on international power outlets and location-based websites will usually display in the language of the country you’re in. With the help of Adam Bates, vice president of InsuranceforTrips.com, here are five tips to help make international travel a breeze:
- Download travel assistance apps for your smartphone. These can include sites like the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler app, which can help you find a foreign embassy, receive travel alerts and warnings, and help you stay safe in foreign lands.
- Download apps and save websites before leaving. Since overseas access can be complex, Bates recommends loading up on apps on your smartphone and saving relevant websites as favorites before leaving on your trip. Some apps Bates recommends are currency exchange calculators, navigation apps, translation apps, and travel review apps.
- Check your international coverage. “When preparing your trip, I recommend contacting your cellular provider and checking to see if you have voice and data coverage at your destination(s) as well as the additional cost,” Bates suggests. Often cell providers will allow you to switch to a more reasonable international plan for the duration of your trip.
- Invest in a quad-band phone. If you travel often, consider finding a phone that will work with various types of SIM providers. This is also known as GSM technology, which works in many locations throughout the world, including Europe and Asia. Tri-band phones will work in at least one network in these locations, but will be more limited than quad-band phones. Also, consider that some countries operate on different electricity from the States. You’ll not only need a converter to make your plug fit, but you’ll also need to check the voltage on your device to make sure it supports the voltage in the area you’re visiting.
- Plan for every contingency, including losing your laptop and cell phone. How would you access information on your local U.S. embassy? Bates provides travel insurance, as well as assistance, to those traveling abroad and advises they have access to live assistance in the event they need it. Anything can happen to someone traveling abroad, including medical emergencies, natural disasters, and political situations. By being prepared, a small business owner can travel abroad safely.
While planning your trip, keep in mind you may not have access to a store to meet your electronics needs. Before packing, make a list of every conceivable item you’ll need and check off each item as you pack it. Be sure to include all chargers and cables. If you have special devices designed only for use on your international trips, leaving those in a suitcase specifically geared toward your overseas trips can help save time in the long run. Just be sure you test them several days before each trip so you can address any new problems before traveling far from home.