Of course you’ll make travel arrangements for air and hotel. But there are lots of other steps to organizing and planning an international trip of two weeks or more.
Select or buy new shoes. If you are going to get shoes for the trip, get them first thing, as soon as you know you will be traveling, not the week before. This is incredibly important if you are traveling to the opposite season. They do not have wool sweaters or comfy winter shoes on the US east coast in summer. Trust me on this.
Get your passport settled asap, way ahead of the 6 weeks recommended by the US government.
Look into travel visas and apply for each country.
Register with the US state department.
Make travel-specific purchases online at least several weeks ahead, so they have time to ship to you.
Convert some cash to local currency. Your local bank can order foreign currency at good rates.
Get a money/debit card that replaces old fashioned travelers checks. Get a specific card that is NOT attached to your regular bank accounts, keeping your money back home safe from fraud.
Contact your credit card company and let them know where you’ll be traveling and on what dates. You don’t want them to turn off your credit card while your are overseas.
Repack your bags. Try to downsize your luggage. Every bag will cost you in fees or aggravation.
Pay bills ahead of time, or schedule online payments for when you’ll be gone.
Put your PINs and passwords somewhere safe, so you can access them if you forget, and so you can change them if you think they’ve been compromised.
For real, pack everything this time. Snacks. Jackets. Electronics. Last minute items always get me.
Buy an international data plan or research and rent a wifi connection at your destination. Find out if switching to a local SIM card is an option for your phone.
Print a copy of your travel itinerary to leave with someone at home. Email a copy to yourself, just in case.
Figure out your strategy for taking, editing, sharing, and backing up photos from all of your devices during and after your trip.
What other organizing travel tips go well beyond booking your flights?