Don’t leave for your heritage trip without these 10 essentials:
• Valid passport and visa.
Check the State Department website
for requirements. Take photocopies of essential documents and save digitized versions to a free Evernote
• International driver’s license.
You’ll likely need this if you plan to drive a car overseas. See AAA
for more details and check with your auto insurance provider about coverage.
• Family research.
Take your family tree, photographs and other relevant documents in easily accessible digital formats on your laptop or tablet, as well as stored in Evernote or Dropbox. Also take a printed summary in a thin, easy-to-carry folder, in case you can’t access the internet.
• Contact list.
Keep addresses and phone numbers of emergency contacts, any travel companions, the local US embassy or consulate, your credit card company, and your bank in print and electronic format.
• Cell phone.
You’ll want to communicate with folks at home and make arrangements along the way. Check with your provider about international accessibility and rates where you’re traveling. Companies such as Mobal
provide international phones, rentable satellite phones and data-only SIM cards for travelers.
• Laptop or tablet.
Take along a laptop, netbook or tablet computer for quick access to websites and research documents.
• Portable scanner.
or high-quality digital camera will make it easy to scan photographs and documents along the way.
Take along cash, at least one major credit card, and perhaps a prepaid card such as Visa TravelMoney
. It’s a good idea to have a small amount of the country’s currency before you arrive; see independenttraveler.com
or ask your bank for information.
• Prescriptions and comforts.
Along with extra medication (and a copy of the prescription), I suggest a travel flashlight, a small roll of duct tape and a small personal fan (many lodging options lack air conditioning).
• Travel insurance. Check with your insurance provider or travel agent on packages that cover overseas medical expenses and evacuation, lost luggage, canceled plans and more. Call your health insurance company to see what, if any, medical expenses are covered abroad.
From the December 2013 Family Tree Magazine