5 Tips For Overseas Travel

Recently I travelled from Sydney to Chicago. Many things happened on this trip that with a little forethought I could have avoided. As such, here are my 5 tips to consider when you are travelling overseas!

  1. Check your passport

This might sound basic but I ran around trying to update my passport to my married name. Finding someone who knew me for long enough and was either enrolled to vote or had an Australian passport was harder than I expected. Once I finally found someone I still had my first application rejected then when I was doing the second application I needed more paperwork, so more running around. Then the lady working there told me legally I was allowed to travel on my current passport, as long as I took my marriage certificate too.  That would have been nice to know beforehand!

Check what the requirements are properly so you don’t end up running around like me unnecessarily.

  1. Get the best card

I already knew my bank didn’t charge much for overseas transactions so I wasn’t worried. I found out when I got back I could have saved myself a bit if I had gone with a different bank. Check which banks have the best exchange rates, lowest fees and are the most accessible. There are different cards such as credit cards, debit cards, prepaid travel cards and your regular atm card. The fees can be as much as $5 per transaction and the currency conversion rate varies as well as the commission your bank will charge, so check it all carefully.

  1. Notify your bank

When I traveled in 2005 to the USA my bank at the time did not care that all of a sudden I was spending a few thousand in another country. This time my credit card was frozen instantly. When I went to check out, my credit card would not process, despite me knowing the money was there. After a few calls it was sorted and thankfully the hotel were very accommodating. So make sure you tell your bank where you are going so they don’t freeze your funds!

  1. Travel insurance

I have traveled once before without insurance when I was young and naïve. Thankfully nothing happened, but we came close. Luggage was sent to the wrong city (Seattle instead of Honolulu) among other things. With insurance it would have been replaced. Without insurance we would have lost over $1,000 worth of stuff. Also if we had gotten sick in the USA it can cost you tens of thousands of dollars for something basic, hundreds of thousands for something serious. Don’t risk it, but before you pay for it, check with your credit card as some offer free travel insurance.

  1. Freshen up after getting off the plane

This one is pure vanity on my part. It had been 26 hours between when I left my house and when I arrived at the hotel for the conference, so I was definitely not looking my best. My make up was smudged, my skin decided it hated me on the flight and I got maybe 1 hour sleep. As I stepped out of the taxi and went to head inside the hotel I ran into a bunch of bloggers and did not make a good first impression. Take a small freshen up kit and use it before leaving the airport or even the plane.

Kylie Ofiu is an author, blogger and writer. On her blog she writes about ways to make and save money. She also writes for Mozo, a savings and travel money comparison site.

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14 People have left comments on this post

» Jason MurdockNo Gravatar said: { Dec 2, 2011 - 10:12:04 }

I’d add a couple more to this. A lot of banks now offer low or no fee currency exchange at branches. My bank charges $2 for ever $100 USD changed into a common foreign currency, like the Euro. I got $300 changed into Euros before I went to Germany and having that pocket money helped a lot.

Also, check the airport you’ll be coming into, the bigger ones offer great services. So if you have a connecting flight via a large airport, you might be able to get a quick shower between flights.


» ScottNo Gravatar said: { Jan 10, 2012 - 03:01:41 }

#5 I agree with this the most, with #4 coming in second, yet, I don’t think it is only about vanity. I believe ones’ attitude is the most important thing. So even if it is vanity, it will enhance your mood.

Get out of the musty airport and stinky cab and shower, and relax if you need it.

No more wearing make up on long flights =). Deodorant is still recommended as a carry-on. (If that’s even allowed lmao).


» HarryNo Gravatar said: { Feb 27, 2012 - 02:02:51 }

Hi, Nice post! I noticed a broken link on your site. Please email me back and I would be happy to point it out to you.




» Mary @ Buy Sell FundsNo Gravatar said: { May 22, 2012 - 06:05:37 }

Thanks for reminding about getting the best card. It’s highly significant but not minded most often. I also freshen up usually before leaving the plane.


» "Tom"No Gravatar said: { May 23, 2012 - 02:05:28 }

No doubt useful tips for the travel prone crazy people like me. The most important issues out of all are, getting a best card and travel insurance. All the travelers across the world who plan for overseas trip, should 1st make sure of planning the insurance. Otherwise most of time problem occurs and it gets highly difficult to get out of it. ( Personal experience says obviously) 🙂


» Nick CurcioNo Gravatar said: { Jun 7, 2012 - 02:06:11 }

Believe it or not, we work with quite a few clients who leave town, travel overseas (usually to visit with family), and come home to a foreclosure notice in the mailbox! It’s a scary thing, but unfortunately a reality. The best advice from your post is for folks to contact their bank(s) before they leave town. A little bit of due diligence may ensure coming home to find your home where you left it.


» Pam@PennysaverblogNo Gravatar said: { Mar 19, 2013 - 06:03:04 }

Good travel tips. Definitely a good idea to inform your banks when you plan to travel out of country. It can save a lot of grief.


» STEVEN J. FROMM, ATTORNEY, LL.M. (TAXATION)No Gravatar said: { May 18, 2013 - 10:05:32 }

Great tips. Another tip is to make sure that your ATM card can be used in foreign countries. To that end be sure to have two cards with money available to be safe.

Also, the Capital One card does not charge an international percentage fee like most other cards do, so you may want to get one.


» Modest MoneyNo Gravatar said: { Oct 4, 2013 - 08:10:27 }

Its not just your passport you should be checking, ensure all your paperwork is in order and you have the necessary vaccinations!
Travel insurance certainly can’t be overemphasized…a lot can and does go wrong.
Excellent tips!


» P. ChanNo Gravatar said: { Jun 10, 2014 - 02:06:10 }

It’s good to get tips on anything when it’s coming from the writer’s personal experience. Thanks for sharing.


» RobNo Gravatar said: { Aug 13, 2014 - 10:08:53 }

Checking your passport is absolutely essential! I had a friend who almost missed her honeymoon because of an expired passport. Fortunately, she was a citizen of two countries and was able to travel on the other one. LOL.

Keep your money close, and have several backup strategies, and your travels should be just fine.


» SheBudgetsNo Gravatar said: { Feb 23, 2016 - 06:02:14 }

Great list. In regards to #2 I think it’s important to carry multiple types of cards, more specifically an Amex and a Visa. Both are widely accepted across the globe, but there have been multiple instances where I have gone to make a purchase and the store wouldn’t take Amex citing the high fees.


» David K.No Gravatar said: { Mar 13, 2016 - 03:03:23 }

“Notify Your Bank”!!!!!!!!!!! So true!!!! and I will stress it more and more. As you can imagine, the exact same thing happened to me when I was travelling to Asia, I was in Singapore when I realized the credit card company were acting responsibly, and they blocked my card. It took a few hours to sort it out but I must say that since then, whenever I hear of a friend that is planning to travel for a while I warn them and ask them to give a call to their bank. Great article – thanks!


» RevaretNo Gravatar said: { Jun 29, 2016 - 08:06:33 }

Thank you for this very useful tips for overseas travel. One other thing I’ll add is make sure to do proper research on the immigration policies and procedures of the country you are visiting. Having the right information before you leave can save you a lot of trouble.