What is your medical coverage while you’re out of the country? Make sure you know what is (and isn’t!) covered, what you need to do if you need to see a doctor or file a claim, and write down (in several places) the international customer service number in case you need to get ahold of them. The waiting room of a foreign hospital is not the place to be trying to track down that information. Have it on hand, even though you hope that you never have to use it.
Ask the post office to hold your mail while you’re gone. Nothing says “Hey these people are out of town--come rob them!” like a big stack of mail or newspapers outside your door for weeks on end. The USPS can hold your mail for you and then deliver everything all at once when you’re back in town. You can even request this service online and, you know, never have to actually talk to a postal worker. Behold, the magic of the internet.
Let your bank and credit card company know you’re going to be traveling, and when and where, and make sure you have their international customer service number. You know what’s really not fun? Having your only source of payment cut off while you’re in another country. Avoid this experience by letting the company know ahead of time that you’ll be out of town. This is another thing you can take care of online. While you're at it, make sure you know what their foreign transaction fees are, and what your max daily ATM withdrawal is.
Leave your itinerary with a relative or friend. We always leave a copy of our itinerary (including flight info and hotel names and phone numbers) with both sets of parents, just in case they need to get ahold of us, or even just want to play along from home.
Take care of the bills that will be due while you’re out of the country ahead of time. Especially if you’re going to be gone for any extended period of time, or if you’re going to be away at the end/beginning of the month when a bunch of payments come due. I have most of our bills set to auto-pay anyway, but stuff like our rent is due at the first of the month every month, so before we head out of town I always put a check in the mail with a note asking our landlord not to cash it until it’s due. Paying your credit card bill from a spotty wifi connection in a developing nation is kind of a pain, not that I’ve ever had to do that before (I’ve totally had to do that before).
I was reminded of these because D and I are headed to Europe for two weeks for Christmas and New Years and I'm going kinda crazy with prep and excitement. What are your holiday plans? Is there anything my list is missing? Add it in the comments!