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Leaving the US? 8 Important Factors to Keep in Mind

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Do you plan on leaving the US for a much-needed vacation?

Then we have to talk about a couple of things. We all know that leaving the US and booking a vacation outside the country can be a stressful experience, especially a couple of days before your departure, but preparation is key.

From getting your carry-on ready and making sure your house is taken care of while you’re away, to ensuring you have enough money for your trip, the days before a vacation can be hectic. So if you plan on leaving the US, we’re here for you. We know all the tips and tricks on how to travel smoothly and stress-free, and we’ll share them with you! Keep reading to discover our smart tips!

leaving the US
Photo by M-Production from shutterstock.com

1. Check your passport

If you travel internationally, you need a passport. If you don’t have one and your trip is coming soon, what are you waiting for? Let’s assume you’re already prepared for this. We want you to grab your passport now and check the expiration date. Keep in mind that certain countries might not permit entry if your passport expires within 6 months of your travel date.

Check the date ahead of time, so you’re not in a rush in case you have to get it renewed before leaving the US. Make sure you put it in a safe space where you won’t forget about it. If you’re scared that you’ll forget where it is, you can set a reminder on your phone two days before your trip and leave a note to know where you’ll find it.

2. Make document copies

One of the most important things to do before leaving the US is to make copies of your documents: passport, ID, Social Security card, driver’s license, IDP (if you have one), visas, vaccination records (if they’re mandatory for the country you plan on going to), and everything else you might need.

Make a few copies of your documents to take with you, and leave additional copies at home with a family member or friend. Pack the copies separately from your original documents to protect yourself in case they get lost or stolen abroad.

You can also take photos of your original documents and e-mail them to yourself. This way, you’ll be prepared in case of a devastating scenario, and it will be easier to get a replacement. Better safe than sorry!

leaving the US
Photo by Geasuha from shutterstock.com

3. Have your medications in order

You can never know what medications you’ll find outside our country, and if you suffer from particular health issues and have a prescription, you need to make sure you get all of your medications in order. Keep in mind that some countries want to know whether those are prescriptions or something else, so you’d better have a signed copy from your doctor to avoid any potential issues.

Other than that, check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health site to see if there are any vaccine recommendations or requirements for the country you plan on visiting. You already know how it was with COVID-19, so it’s always good to check and be prepared.

Keep reading to discover other important things you should do before leaving the US!

4. Contact your credit card provider

A simple chat with your bank or credit card provider to let them know about your travel plans won’t take longer than a couple of minutes, and it can save you during your departure.

You’ll feel safer knowing that your card won’t be denied due to a security precaution, and it won’t ruin your vacation. Make sure you ask them whether they have affiliate banks in the country you’re visiting. Many banks have financial partners overseas, and that might allow you to withdraw money at ATMs without paying a fee.

Moreover, ask them if there are any foreign transaction fees linked to using your card outside of the US. Some debit and credit cards don’t charge fees, but others might require you to pay an extra 1-3% per transaction. In this case, the best thing you could do is carry cash. Make sure you don’t try currency exchange counters in the airport, because they might charge you more.

5. Let your family and friends know about your itinerary

Safety is always important, especially if you plan on leaving the US for more than a week. Share your trip details with an emergency contact at home, such as a family member or friend. Even if you haven’t created a detailed itinerary, inform your loved ones where you’ll be staying or what places you plan to visit on specific days, so they can ensure your safety in case of an emergency or unexpected event.

Similarly, share your flight details with people back home and update them if there are any changes to your flying schedule. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that someone at home is aware of your whereabouts, even if you’re thousands of miles away.

leaving the US
Photo by Andrew Angelov from shutterstock.com

6. Check alerts

You can’t be excited about leaving the US without ensuring your safety and protection at all times. The world we live in may not be as safe as we think, but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves and doing the things we love.

To strike a balance, visit the US State Department’s website and check for any travel advisories or alerts for the country you plan to visit. Take it a step further by registering your trip with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which will send you alerts via text or email from the US embassy in case of incidents in your destination country.

Experts recommend doing this before your departure so you can stay informed about any potential issues. This step is also crucial because it will provide you with information about the nearest embassy in case of emergencies.

7. Take care of your home

We’ve talked about your safety, but we should also discuss your home’s safety. Your gorgeous home should be put together before your trip, and that means getting rid of all perishable items in your fridge, cleaning your space, turning off the water and cooling or heating systems, and unplugging any charges and appliances that don’t need to be plugged in until you’re back.

Don’t forget to double-latch the doors, set your security cameras or alarms if you have any, close the windows, and leave a spare key to a closed one in case it’s needed.

8. Check in for your flight

Experts recommend you check in for your flight way ahead of leaving the US. This will help you avoid any unpleasant situations, like voiding the check-in counter, especially if you aren’t checking bags.

The ability to double-check your flight details in case your airline makes unexpected changes to your itinerary is one of the key benefits of checking in early for your flights. Moreover, if you’re traveling to a destination with multiple airports, such as Chicago, New York City, or Paris, early check-in allows you to confirm essential information, such as the location of the nearest airport lounge and your terminal.

Be careful, stay safe, and have a wonderful trip! Don’t forget to pack everything you need in your carry-on and have fun! Do you know any other things you should do before leaving the US? Let us know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed reading this article and you’d like to check out something else from USA Wanderers, here’s a good post for you: NEVER Do These Things While Visiting These 6 Countries!

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