Avant de partir en voyage

What to do before your international trip

To the point Here are some things to check before you leave on your trip to avoid facing unexpected situations and frustrations!

Travel advice: things to do before you travel

1. Make sure your passport and visas are valid

The passport expiration date should be checked before leaving on a trip and before making reservations; this will avoid stress and costs for urgent requests. Most countries require that the passport remain valid for up to six months after returning to Canada.

At check-in, boarding may be denied if the carrier finds that entry requirements are not met. The responsibility lies with the traveller, and no compensation will be given.

Little tip

Some countries require two consecutive blank pages in your passport. This can be a problem for people who travel a lot or when customs officials stamp just about anywhere; the passport quickly becomes full and must be replaced well before the expiration date.

On my side, I put post-it notes and small indicators before leaving on a trip to guide the customs officer to the right page. I once had to renew a passport just 16 months after it was issued!

Nexus Passeports Milesopedia

Then, for people who change their family name following a union (outside of Quebec), you must make sure the names match on the different documents!

For babies, a birth certificate is required to apply for a passport. This document is not sent free of charge when the birth registration is made to the Registrar of Civil Status. The time required to receive this document and to process the passport application should be taken into consideration before booking a trip.

Finally, as a precaution, it is advisable to keep hard copies (in a different location) and electronic copies (on the mobile device and in the cloud) of all essential documents in case they are lost or stolen.

Also, leaving a copy of these documents with someone who is not travelling with us can help in case of a problem.

Little tip

Make a copy of both sides of your credit cards and leave this document with a trusted person who is not travelling with you. In case of loss or theft, it can be helpful because even though it’s possible to block a card on your mobile device… it can also be stolen!

2. Check travel warnings and the geopolitical situation for your security

Political tensions can quickly and significantly affect a vacation, in fact, especially your insurance coverage. The Government of Canada website keeps this information up to date.

Travel insurance policies are based on the Canadian government’s warnings to provide coverage or not. Insurance companies will look at the effective date of the notice to determine whether or not your claim is eligible.

Remember that credit card cancellation insurance does not cover you if you change your mind or feel uncomfortable about going. These insurances are designed to protect you when an unforeseen situation arises.

3. Make sure you are well covered by travel insurance

Beyond the borders of your province of residence, you must have adequate health coverage, even if you remain in Canada for your trip.

Canadian provinces have agreements for health care coverage, but your plan’s coverage may differ from the amounts charged in other provinces. Many procedures are more expensive elsewhere in Canada, and you will have to pay the excess with the RAMQ rates if you don’t have emergency medical care insurance.

Finally, it would help if you also considered the various risks of each situation before you travel. For example, I’ve taken out additional insurance to protect my trip to Antarcticain case of lost or stolen luggagemy credit card travel insurance would not have reimbursed the full amount required to replace my photography equipment and specialized clothing.

4. Registering with the Registry of Canadians Abroad before you travel out of the country

When an event may pose a health or safety risk to the traveller, the Canadian government will try to contact you if you are registered as a Canadian abroad before you travel.

For example, during my trip to Tibet, a severe earthquake and landslide occurred suddenly. I received an email asking if I needed assistance and the phone number to call for help.

5. Plan the first transfer on arrival and the first night at destination

After a long flight, we are not always in top shape to make decisions to get to our accommodation. Indeed, one can easily fall prey to dishonest cab drivers or get lost and thus add frustration to fatigue.

Before leaving on a trip, a simple search on Google can give you the way to get to the hotel, whether by public transport, by car, or have an idea of the cost by cab.

For spontaneous people who do not travel with a fixed itinerary, booking the first night at the destination is still highly recommended.

In the airport, some agencies offer you hotel rooms, but the prices will not be competitive with what is available with good planning.

6. Download an offline map (of the town you'll be in)

The Google Maps application allows you to download an offline map before leaving on a trip. This way, you will be able to find your way around without the need to get a local SIM card or find wifi.


In addition, it is also possible to search for a route based on your position without having any data. However, the calculations of the routes without Internet will be according to the route to take by car. However, this tool is still handy because it gives us an idea if we are in the right direction!

Then, I advise you to pin your hotel on your map; without internet access, finding the location of your accommodation can be difficult.

Another option is to buy an eSim Airalo card for low-cost Internet access from the moment you arrive.

7. Get a plug adapter and chargers

In this technological age, we are often very dependent on our cell phone. Therefore, we must make sure that our device is well charged when we need it!

Here’s what we’re always carrying around with us on this subject:


Indeed, we often have several devices to charge, and it can be frustrating to not have enough outlets in the room or the airport terminal for all our things. Also, the plugs are not always next to the bed, so cables of different lengths are helpful!

Finally, we don’t need to worry about whether we have the one for the country we want with a universal travel adapter.

Remember to pack several adapters and power strips before leaving on your trip, especially when travelling with others. It can prevent bickering!

8. Fill medication prescriptions and validate health care needs

If you are taking medication, it is recommended that you obtain prescriptions for the duration of your trip, especially if you are not sure you will be able to get them at your destination.

Sure, there are pharmacies everywhere, but some medications or doses may not be available elsewhere.

Please make sure that your prescriptions are appropriately labelled with your name. Some substances, such as narcotics, can cause problems at the border if you do not have a prescription in your name.

Similarly, if you need prescription glasses, remember to leave a second or older pair in your luggage in case of loss or breakage.

Also, consider bringing your sleeping mask and earplugs if you need them. Although most airlines provide it, it prevents you from being mistaken if necessary.

Finally, is your destination at risk for specific diseases like yellow fever or Zika? Remember to consult a professional about vaccinations and health before you travel.

9. Credit cards, debit card and cash

Some banks ask to be notified when you travel. In this case, your credit card or bank account could be blocked to prevent fraud.

The issuer can be notified online or through the bank’s application in most cases.

avis de voyage
Little tip

We always bring three credit cards (Visa/Mastercard/American Express) and two debit cards each. In addition, we leave some cards in our luggage at the hotel when we go out.

Thus, we have alternative solutions to continue our trip in case of theft, loss, or blocked card.

Secondly, applying for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees before travelling will save you a lot of money on foreign currency fees! This fee is generally 2.5%.

Finally, while it’s best to pay with a credit card (always in local currency) to take advantage of the day’s exchange rate and accumulate reward points, it’s wise to carry some cash. This can help in case of problems. On our side, we always carry a few $20 US bills with us.

Having a WealthSimple Cash card or a WISE card can save you money on getting cash in local currency with the best exchange rate.

Otherwise, it would be best to avoid exchange offices in tourist areas. In my experience, these are often the worst rates.

10. Download our ultimate travel checklist and read guides before you go

At Milesopedia, we’ve put together in-depth articles on a wide variety of subjects. So here we present a compilation of these items, forming the ultimate list for travellers! As a bonus, a surprise awaits you at the end of that article.

There are many things you need to do to organize your trip with complete peace of mind, from optimizing the use of your credit card points to finding the best ticket prices, benefiting from the most advantageous exchange rates, or knowing what to do in the event of flight cancellation or lost luggage.

Finally, we’ve written a host of travel guides so you can plan your adventure from A to Z from the comfort of your own home!

Bottom Line

One last little tip, always bring a pencil to fill out the forms and declarations at customs! It will save you from waiting for someone else!

And you, do you have any other tips to share about things to do before going on an international trip? Come and join us in the Milesopedia Facebook community!

Who should I inform before I go on vacation?

Before leaving on vacation, inform your family, close friends, trusted neighbours and the Canadian government (list of Canadians abroad) of your departure and return dates. You should also inform your employer, and remember to notify your bank to avoid having your cards blocked abroad.

How do I plan a trip?

To prepare for your trip, start by choosing your destination and booking your flights and accommodation. Then look for ways to save, such as credit card points. Make a list of attractions to visit, check the necessary documents and prepare a budget.

How to prepare your home before you go on vacation?

Before you leave on vacation, be sure to unplug non-essential electrical appliances, turn off the water and secure windows and doors. Ask a trusted neighbor to watch your home and collect your mail.

How to prepare for a trip

To prepare for your trip, pack according to your destination’s climate and planned activities. Make sure you have all your travel documents, medicines and essential items, some money in local currency, and arrive at the airport or train station with plenty of time to spare. Make sure you also have travel insurance.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Aline Nguyen
I'm Aline, an experienced traveller, a foodie at heart, an Avgeek, a photography enthusiast and an expert on credit card programs. I use Reward Points to travel on a budget and to save money on everyday life; writing about these topics allows me to share my passion and help you. ~ 7 continents and 75 countries ~

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