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Don't wait until you get to the airport to inform your credit card carriers, or consider buying travel insurance. Plan ahead.

ChecklistWhy don’t I follow my own advice, and finish all preparations early? Tomorrow I leave for Asia and I’m still crossing things off my list. To make your next trip easier, here’s my

“Don’t Forget To Do” list.

1. Call my credit card company to add a “Travel Alert” to my account. So when the bank sees ATM debits and Credit Card charges from overseas they’ll accept them. I am careful to give the exact dates so they know when I’ll be home.

2. Purchase travel insurance. I like to be covered for lost or delayed bags, electronic and sporting equipment, missed connections, emergency medical and dental (so I don’t have to pay out-of-pocket),  as well as the all-important Emergency Medical Transportation. For the last two trips to Asia I have purchased my insurance through Access America and I’ve been happy with it, so I suggest you do the same.

3. Call my cell phone carrier and add the International Plan.  The charge can be pro-rated, so I make a note to call and cancel it as soon as I get home. Most importantly, I ask how much each minute will cost if I call from my destination to the USA. How much will text messages cost? I learn that I should turn the phone off, (use Airplane Mode) or I’ll be charged minutes for every phone message and text sent to me.

3. I go into the bank and get lots of crisp, clean $1 bills to use for tips and shopping (when the vendor doesn’t have change). I also take a couple hundred dollars in US currency, which I keep in my money belt or lock in my suitcase in my room, if a safe isn’t available.

4. Check my list of last minute items I’ve forgotten in the past:

  • cell phone charger,
  • night gown, toothpaste,
  • washcloth (many hotels overseas do not provide them),
  • large safety pin or clothespin to fully close hotel drapes,
  • a rubber door stopper for added security in hotel rooms.

Good luck. I hope you can learn from my mistakes.   Au Revoir.