Travel, journey concept. Famous monuments of world countries. Vector illustration

Travel, journey concept. Famous monuments of world countries. Vector illustration isolated on white background

If you’ve been thinking about traveling abroad but have put it off due to the pandemic, think again. To be sure, travel is more complicated due to the pandemic, but there are still ways to take that dream trip – if you plan ahead.

We have decades of experience in planning trips abroad as part of Valley Bank’s Prestige Program, a senior-focused program that features all-inclusive price tags and a number of added bonuses. We’ve been running Prestige, one of the few programs of its type in the Southeast, since 1988. 

Based on this experience, here are six things to consider if you are thinking about traveling abroad:


Do your research to understand pandemic-related protocols. 

Travel to different countries can be challenging these days, since each jurisdiction has its own rules on what’s required to enter the country, and what’s required to go to restaurants and other public places. Take the time to research each country’s rules and apply for the proper passes ahead of time.


Consider traveling with an organization that specializes in planning trips abroad. 

Doing your travel with an organization that does the planning can relieve a ton of your stress. Some trips are more structured than others, so you can pick one that balances planned activities with time to explore on your own. Given the complexities of international travel – not to mention the language barriers in some countries – this can make your trip a lot more fun.


Think about your technology needs ahead of time.

Will you need the capability to make international calls and texts? Get with your cellphone carrier ahead of time to set up an international plan where you can pay by the day. And how about charging your phone and laptop? Many countries have electrical outlets that are different from those in the U.S., so research your needs and get a converter for your chargers if needed.


Working with a travel provider can get you exclusive experiences. 

Since programs like Prestige partner with travel providers that focus on assisting travel clubs, you can expect that the transportation, meals, accommodations and guides will be hand-picked for their excellence. Being a part of a group also means you can often bypass lines and get access to opportunities the average traveler would not have the opportunity to enjoy.


Bring copies of your passport.

Have copies of your passport along with your original, and for extra peace of mind, keep a copy at home with a relative or friend who could send it to you if needed. Don’t let losing your passport ruin your trip – dealing with that is a major hassle.


Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on bag.

This move will come in handy if your checked luggage is delayed in getting to your destination.

Whether you are returning to travel for the first time in months or are a seasoned expert, it can be a lot less stressful if you travel as part of a program like Valley’s Prestige Program, which has taken travelers to places like Africa, the Amalfi Coast, the Greek Isles and the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada. You can get more information by asking a Valley banker or by visiting

~Nannette Smith Sheaffer is the Prestige manager and marketing specialist for Valley Bank based out of Birmingham and has accompanied Prestige customers around the world.