A lot of people make plans on traveling out of the country every year and yet there’s a lot of things they don’t think about before leaving. I hear stories all the time of one thing or another that someone forgot to take into account that made their trip not as enjoyable as they had hoped it would be, although they still ended up having fun. Here are 5 things everyone needs to take a look at before they go anywhere.

1. What the weather is going to be like where you’re going. It may be hard to pinpoint the type of weather you’re going to run into if you’re looking at a country a month in advance but you can still get some kind of idea by researching on the internet. There are multiple sites you can go to that will tell you what the weather is normally like during specific months of the year. When you get to within a week of your trip you should be checking as well because at the least you’ll see what’s expected for the next 10 days, which means those last 3 days when you’ll be in that area should give you some kind of indication as to what you’re in for and give you a chance to pack the right kind of clothes.

2. What the currency exchange rate is like. Many years ago almost anywhere you went as an American you were getting great deals on how far your money would go based on the exchange rate. The way the economy has gone over the last few years though you can bet your dollars aren’t going to get you as much as before. You need to find quality currency exchange tools that will give you the best information when it comes to making sure you have enough money to do what you want, and also get tips on when you should exchange your money, as some countries won’t even let you out of the airport without the right type of currency.

3. Cell phone coverage. Even though you might think that cell phone usage is international, you might find that your phone won’t work in some countries. Just because you have Verizon at home doesn’t mean you’ll be able to access a Verizon related tower in another country. This might mean your phone reverts to roaming charges, which means your bill when you get back home might be astronomical without our knowing, or it might mean you won’t have any coverage at all. If you’re hoping to be able to communicate with folks back home or even in the country you happen to be in you need to see whether you need to purchase a temporary phone while you’re there to save money or whether your company at home has special plans while you’re traveling.

4. Travel insurance. This is something you don’t think about all that often because most people who leave the country believe the health insurance they have should cover everything while they’re gone. Unfortunately, that’s not true across the board. For instance, many travel agents will recommend that you have special travel insurance when you visit Mexico because you’re never sure where you’ll end up, even if visiting a large city. If you’re thinking about driving in another country travel insurance may cover your car rentals in those countries that allow you to drive while you’re there. And of course people lose luggage all the time, and having this type of insurance might cover the costs of buying some clothes to hold you over while your airlines is trying to find out where your bags went.

5. Food and drink. This is a definite for more reasons than one. First, you need to know that the Mexican food you eat locally isn’t going to be the same food you get in Mexico. That goes for French food, Japanese food, German food, or any other food you eat. You need to make sure that your system will be able to handle spices that you might not be used to. Also, depending on where you’re going, you’ll need to make sure you can drink the water or whether you’ll need money to buy bottled water. I remember my parents going on a cruise where they found the ice was salty because the ship used sea water to make it, and from that point on drank only bottled drinks that were cold on their own. At least on a cruise ship those things were free, but in another country it could end up taking away some of the funds you expected to use elsewhere.

Traveling can be fun, but you need to be cautious. These days it’s easy to find a lot of this stuff through an internet search, so be safe rather than take chances with your international trip.

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