In 2017, more than 38 million Americans traveled overseas—a number that has increased each year since 2011. (According to the United States Tour Operators Association, favorite destinations include Australia, Spain, Iceland, Italy, France, and Japan.) Whether you’re one of those 38 million, or plan to join their ranks soon, there are a number of steps you should consider as part of your international travel planning to keep yourself and your property safe. A good place to start? The 10 items on the list below.
1. Double-check your documents. Some countries require that your passport be valid for six months beyond your return date. Don’t put off this check, as it can take up to six weeks to receive a new U.S. passport. Contact the embassy of the countries you will be visiting to determine whether any of your destinations require a visa.
2. Make copies. Travel consultant Terri Fogarty, owner of Euro Escapes, advises that you make multiple copies of your passport’s biographical data page. Leave one copy with someone at home, stash one in your carry-on, and have another in your checked bag.
3. Get vaccinated. Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to see if you need vaccinations—and do so well in advance, as you should receive any necessary vaccinations four to six weeks in advance of your trip. This website also posts information about health concerns around the world.
4. Register with the U.S. State Department. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service that provides security alerts and travel advisories to Americans while traveling. It also ensures the embassy or consulate knows how to contact you if there’s an emergency.
5. Get a prescription refill. Make sure you’ll have enough prescription medication for your trip’s duration. If you’ll require an extra refill during your trip, contact your physician about how to make arrangements. Always carry medications on your person or in your carry-on so you don’t risk losing them during transport. Also carry information about the prescription medications you’re on, as well as emergency contact information for family back home.
6. Have a plan for cash. As a client of The Private Bank, you can purchase more than 100 foreign currencies at a discount either online, at a Wells Fargo branch, or by calling 1-877-646-8560. Also, request a PIN for your credit cards before you leave for Europe, Australia, India, or Brazil because some point-of-sale terminals and ATMs require them.
7. Stay connected. Buy the correct power converters and adapters for your electronic devices so you can use or charge them at your destination. If you’re bringing a computer, back it up and make sure its operating system, anti-virus and anti-malware software, and security patches are up to date. While abroad, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) instead of trusting Internet connections in cafés, hotels, or other public areas that could leave you vulnerable to security risks.
8. Opt for global coverage. Talk to your wireless carrier about activating your phone’s global capability so you don’t incur roaming charges.
9. Make house plans. You may want to consider finding a house-sitter, pausing mail and newspaper delivery, paying bills ahead of time, and letting your home security company know you’ll be away. Consider waiting to post online about your trip until after you’re back home, so you don’t advertise that your house is sitting empty.
10. Reach out. Tell your wealth professional at Wells Fargo Private Bank about your travel plans, so he or she can help with any financial needs and also watch for suspicious charges.