Travel | Travel Tips

Preparing for Overseas Travel After Two Years at Home

When the Queen (reference here) first swept across the globe, countries had no choice but to close their borders in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly disease. Two plus years later, most nations are reopened with minimal health requirements for entry. However, many people remain reluctant to travel, given the sense that things could easily change at the drop of a hat.

Sooner or later, those who haven’t traveled due to the pandemic will resume their international adventures. But after a two-year-long pause, will they be prepared?

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young woman with a camera and a map

If you’re gearing up for an overseas trip after months stuck at home, it’s essential to have a checklist for what to have planned and prepared prior to your departure.

I have traveled internationally twice since the pandemic started and have 2 more international trips this year, so here is my general list of suggestions:

Travel Documents

Most people don’t have their passport’s expiration date memorized. It’s possible you need to renew yours prior to resuming travel. Fortunately, most governments make the renewal process much easier than the original application process.

woman with passport sitting in the airport

Simply mail them your old passport along with a recent photo and your renewal application. Do so with enough time left before your trip to reapply if necessary. (General rule of thumb is you need 6 months left on your passport.) You may also be required to show proof of vaccination before entering a foreign country. With this in mind, consider bringing your vaccination card.

Adequate Research

Every international traveler has an obligation to research the culture, history, and language of their destination. While you don’t need to be fluent in French or an expert in anthropology upon arrival, it pays to have a sense of local customs, etiquette, and tradition.

woman reading book on bed

Doing so will limit confusion and enhance your experience. It’s also the polite thing to do!

Health Concerns

Unless there’s a legitimate medical reason for not getting vaccinated, would-be world travelers need to be up-to-date on their vaccinations and booster shots. Doing so protects themselves and loved ones from the threat of infection. It also helps strangers you’ll never know.

woman getting vaccination

If anything, consider the risk of getting stuck overseas due to infection or failure to show proof of vaccination. In addition to the big C, you may also need to receive vaccinations against other pathogens, depending on the destination. Check which vaccines the CDC advises for those traveling outside the United States.

Useful Technology

Most modern smartphones act as all-in-one devices for navigation, communication, payments, purchases, and more. Given these conveniences, make sure your device has service where you’re headed.

Using apps outside the US requires data on your cell phone. Plan accordingly with your cell phone provider. If you own your phone, then think about buying a sim card for Europe (we buy ours from Amazon).

woman using smartphone in station

You may also want to pack additional gadgets, such as a noise machine and noise-canceling earmuffs. Both help with sleep in opposite ways.

While most hotels and restaurants have USB chargers, consider packing at least one plug adapter in case you need it in a pinch. While you don’t want to pack any bulky pieces of tech you won’t need, having a few handheld items of importance can go a long way in helping make the journey more enjoyable.

Find my suggestions in my remote tools article.

Appropriate Attire

Experienced world travelers know that climate and weather change from one region to another. For instance, the southern hemisphere experiences summer during the time of year the northern hemisphere experiences winter. If it’s snowing at home, it might be sizzling where you’re headed!

girl in loungewear

If you’re traveling someplace for the first time, check the local weather forecast. Doing so helps you pack appropriate clothing items for your trip. Smart travelers wear women or mens loungewear while going from point A to point B as it is the most comfortable in transit clothing for very long travel days!

Grab my travel planner to help organize what clothing and accessories you bring on your trip.

Realistic Expectations

A lot has changed in two years. Restaurants around the world are understaffed, hotels continue to operate below capacity, and health and safety protocols remain in place depending on the destination. It’s essential to brace yourself for these and other changes that have happened since the last time you did some traveling.

With that said, most major cities dependent on tourism have gone out of their way to make things as accommodating as possible. Even if it’s not what you expected, it’s still an experience worth enjoying as much as possible. You’ll probably only be there once in your life, so make the most of it!

person walking with suitcase through crosswalk

If you are headed to Paris, I have written an entire article about what to expect.

The pandemic took its toll on global travel. But with borders reopened and infection rates dropping, it’s time for world travelers to resume their adventures. Just make sure to plan accordingly! And have fun!

girl excited about travel

More reading:

How about you? Have more tips for how to prepare for overseas travel? Do share!

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16 Comments

  1. It was so frustrating for so many not being able to travel for a while. This is a great post full of useful info. I’m so glad we are all able to start traveling again!

  2. I have only been to Florida since Covid first started. The thought of going overseas sounds overwhelming but I really want to travel to Europe!

  3. Such a great and very timely post! As everyone missed traveling, this is definitely great for travelers to refresh traveling essentials! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  4. Research is very important when traveling after so long. So much has changed all over the world and you want to make sure you are ready.

  5. I definitely do all the research before I travel. I want to know everything I can before I go so there are no surprises and I feel prepared.

  6. This is so perfect! I’m surely going to keep this in mind! Thanks for sharing this with us! Such a very informative post!

  7. Good tips! We’ve been to Mexico and several Caribbean Islands and everyone was so happy to see us. Looking forward to more travel.

  8. It has been so long since I’ve been anywhere. I wanted to go on a day trip over the summer but it just didn’t happen. Maybe next summer. 🙂

  9. Wow… this is helpful and I have to say I have never left the US. I would love to go to Spain though so these tips are much needed!