Criss-crossing the globe is a traveler's dream. But far-flung locales require more prep work than domestic ones. I've recently hopped from Cairo to Cartagena to Beirut to Mexico to Abu Dhabi to Papua New Guinea. And in the process, I created a fool-proof pre-flight check list to ease that inevitable packing stress and ensure my adventures go off without a hitch. (Or at least with fewer hitches than usual.)
Here are the top 10 things to do and gadgets to grab before you go off the grid:
1. Shoot 'em Up!
First order of business before an exotic trip? Check the CDC's Traveler's Health website to determine vaccination requirements for your destination, keeping in mind that some immunizations require a series of shots several weeks before you depart. Make an appointment with your G.P. or a travel clinic and get those out of the way as early as possible (to save on costs, ask your doctor if the appointment can count as a simple nurse's visit).
For any trip -- even within the U.S. -- it can't hurt to stay current on your tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Td/Tdap) booster and flu shots. Tuck a copy of your updated inoculation record in your passport.
2. A Couple of Apps
Travel apps abound, but there are two essentials I never leave home without: Google Translate (language barriers? what language barriers?) and Dropbox (for seamlessly accessing all my travel docs and photos on all my devices).
3. Get Thee to a Pharmacy
Before a far-away adventure, I ask my doctor to write me a better-safe-than-sorry prescription for a course of Cipro (useful for treating intense stomach bugs, respiratory tract infections and UTIs), in the unlikely event I become very ill and am unable to reach a doctor in my destination. Obviously you should be under a physician's care before ingesting prescription drugs, so ask your doc if they're willing to consult by Skype should you become ill while traveling. And don't forget to fill the prescription before your flight!