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Booking an international vacation has become an exciting possibility again for those with pent-up wanderlust. Your out-of-country travel experience may depend on where you want to go and your level of preparedness.

More than ever before, an out-of-country vacation requires additional logistical and financial planning, with backup plans in place. The idea may seem daunting at first but consider the possibilities before casting aside a much-needed vacation. There are options that may be perfect for you. All it takes is an idea, an open mind and a plan.

Here are five considerations when travelling outside your country:

1. Reflect on the kind of vacation that suits you right now

Much has changed in the past couple of years, including how we vacation. What you may have been comfortable with in the past, may not be the type of trip that suits your needs today. If you are just beginning to research options for an upcoming vacation considerations such as staying at a large busy resort vs booking an independent rental or wandering a busy mall vs exploring the great outdoors may impact your overall vacation experience and comfort level.

2. Stay abreast of changing travel requirements

While many pandemic restrictions have been relaxed for travellers, you should expect entry requirements and rules to be different for each country. Before you book your trip and again, before you travel, visit the government website of the country you plan to visit and the airline you’ll travel with to confirm the documents you must have on hand to enter the country. This could include COVID-19 vaccine proof and negative Antigen or PCR tests. The same requirements might be needed for return to your own country. There are costs and time-frames associated with these tests so ensure you factor this into your overall travel budget. The additional cost burden of this for a family vacation as compared to a solo or couples trip is no small feat

As we’ve all experienced during the past two years, conditions and rules may change quickly. While on vacation, it’s important to keep track of any updated requirements in your own country which may impact your return home.

3. Have a backup plan and emergency funds in place

Just in case you, unfortunately, contract COVID while on vacation, be sure to have a contingency plan in place. Each country has its own rules and regulations in terms of what you must do if you test positive. You’ll likely be required to remain in your destination country for an additional 10 days so it’s wise to have thought ahead of time about where you would stay and have the funds in place to cover your additional days.

If your employer allows you to work remotely, you may want to consider packing your work laptop while on vacation in case you have to remain and isolate in your vacation destination for a period of time. Each place of employment will have different guidelines for remote work so ensure you understand your employer’s position on this before you depart on vacation.

4. Re-establish your travel fund

As discussed above, the current travel environment means you may want to budget for additional contingency costs — be sure to factor this into your travel fund. For a proper travel fund, the best savings method is to set up a standing order to a separate savings account. It doesn’t matter how much you put aside each month, more important is consistency and the action of building a fund.

Related Story: The Golden Rules of Saving for tips on building your travel fund.

5. Consider a Travel Rewards Credit Card

Managing travel costs are made much easier with the support of a credit card linked to all your accounts. Using the card easily facilitates booking allowing you time repay the debt in manageable instalments (instead of emptying your travel fund all at once). Some cards also offer travel rewards that come with benefits you can redeem in the medium to long term. Learn more about personal credit cards here.

6. Purchase Travel Insurance

Be prepared for the unexpected. Purchasing Travel Insurance for you and your family may be part of an essential backup plan. In the event of an unplanned illness requiring medical assistance in the country you’re visiting, insurance may assist with unforeseen expenses. The initial extra cost of the insurance may save a lot of headaches. In this instance, your credit card(s) may also serve as a financial cushion for extra expenses.

If you’ve reached this far, you may be thinking, “Is all this worth it?”

The answer lies in how much you want or need a holiday. Anything is possible with careful planning and a smart financial plan. Safe travels!

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

Asma Ali is a freelance writer based in the Caribbean.