Preparing for an overseas trip

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So, I’m heading overseas for a long weekend trip, and I thought it would be interesting to share my “process” for preparing for a trip.

In this case, I’m heading to Seoul, South Korea. I’ve been there before, so the preparation is a little easier. Generally, I keep a word document (which I then e-mail to myself so I have it resident on my iPad during travel). I start with my outbound flights:

Outbound Itinerary

Outbound Itinerary

After that, I identify the currency, because I like to get my local currency from an ATM. I usually pull it from the first legitimate looking (usually HSBC) ATM I see. I don’t typically worry about any of the fees, because I have USAA, which reimburses me most ATM fees (up to $15 a month).

South Korean exchange rate as of 6/23/2014.

South Korean exchange rate as of 6/23/2014.







Next I consider airport transportation. Sometimes I’ll just go with the offering of the hotel, but in Seoul, there is a great “Korean Air Lines (KAL) limousine bus” routing, that covers many hotels.

KAL Limousine Bus Transfer Information

KAL Limousine Bus Transfer Information

Next I include the hotel information and the local US Embassy information — because this one document is supposed to have everything I need when I travel — and you never know when you will need that info.

Hotel and Embassy Addresses

Hotel and Embassy Information

Usually I’ll also include local touring information, I usually break it down to the “Must Do’s”, “Nice to Do’s”,  “Shopping”, and “Eating” I won’t bore you with graphics for all those though.

Since this might prove useful, I will make it a point to create a “template” for this in the next week or two, and we’ll figure out a way to post it.

What do you do in preparation for a trip–overseas or otherwise?





11 thoughts on “Preparing for an overseas trip

  1. I make 2 photocopies of the front and back of every credit card I will bring. Then I leave one at home and pack the other separately from where I carry the cards, first blacking out the three digit code from the backs of the cards on the copy. Then, if I lose a CC, I can report it or call/email those at home to have them report it.

    I always bring paper copies of all tickets and hotel reservations. I know, probably not necessary or easy to get access to a digital copy, but I like having them.

    I bring the cards I’ll need to get access to lounges.

    If I am traveling someplace that is off the beaten path and therefore want to bring meds I might need in an emergency, I bring printed instructions on dosages, etc. For example, when we traveled to China for a month, my doc gave me prescriptions for a few “all-purpose” antibiotics and heavy duty pain relievers, explaining for which purposes they should be used. I was grateful to have them when my husband got sick, and then when I sprained an ankle, although I do think the topical medicine a friend bought in a Chinese apothecary was really what did the trick, since it sure healed much quicker than I expected!

    • Elaine, those are great tips! I just keep a copy of our passports on the iPad and in my gmail but you are right, paper copies make a huge difference, i may go back to including paper copies.

      As far as the meds – you have a great doctor. I had one similar, it makes a big difference, even if you aren’t going off the beaten path, for example, if you go to Europe and get a sinus infection, you want to be able to start taking antibiotics soonest so you can fly home more comfortably.

    • Paper copies? Yikes. I suppose you mimeographed them too? Get Roboform or Lastpass or something secure. Then you have them on your phone, tablet and laptop with all your vital info.

      As for the blogger’s list, can’t imagine needing any of his list in any modern country with internet access. Especially not South Korea. That’s like bringing your own oil to Saudi Arabia.

      • Paul, you can never be too prepared. That said, I seldom pay for overseas data (and don’t have T-mobile), so I like to have all the information available locally. It’s a preference… I also like to carry a flashlight, which has been helpful since I’ve had hotels lose power a dozen or so times, and have even had an airport lose power at 0-dark-thirty (no emergency backups in the rental car return garage too!).

      • We travel a fair amount and have run into many situations when we could not access wifi in a “modern country.” Laptops get stolen; phones break or have no charge; for some unknown reason you can’t get online – things happen. Not all airports have free and/or working wifi, and I prefer not to pay roaming charges, so pulling up an eticket or hotel res on my phone is not always feasible. Carrying a few pages with the essential info has come in handy many times. And they weigh a lot less than all the electronics 😉 !

        • PS – I do, however, skip the paper for non-essential info like sightseeing ideas, restaurant reviews, etc. That comes with me, but only on my ipad. If for some reason I can’t access it, I can improvise.

          And yes, we carry color paper copies of our passports. Depending on where we are, we might lock the real passports in a hotel safe or leave them behind in the apartment we have rented, and carry only the copy.

          • Cool. Yeah, I do the printouts so I can take 1 page and fold it for a particular day (my wife and I like to walk randomly, so it’s nice to have a 1 page reference than a large tourist map.

  2. Can you share your must sees etc? I bought the United F class feul dump/mistake fare for my mom and I at the beginning of Aug and am trying to decide whether to actually spend much time in SIN. I really bought it to do a stopover in Tokyo, but haven’t made the changes to the ticket yet.

    • Kim,
      For Seoul, our must see was taking the USO’s DMZ tour. It’s actually run by Koridoor Tours and we felt it was fantastic. I would also recommend seeing the changing of the guard at the palace near Insadong, I think they do it every hour or two. We checked out the electronics market in Youngsan this time, and while walking there from Iteowon, we happened upon the war memorial with a bunch of fixed aircraft, tank and ship displays which we very much enjoyed.

      For Singapore – definitely try a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar (which is inside the Raffles Hotel), and try the night zoo, it’s definitely an experience!

  3. Pingback: 10 To-Do's - International Travel Checklist - Tagging Miles

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