Tips For Traveling Abroad
Here we have listed over 25 tips for traveling abroad. Use these as a guideline when planning your trip so that you can be prepared and have a safer, more enjoyable trip!
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1. Be certain that you have a valid and correctly signed passport and visas if required. Before traveling, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
2. Read public announcements or travel warnings issued by the State Department or bulletins from the American Embassy.
3. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling, keeping in mind the laws you currently abide by in the country where you live may or may not follow you! While in a foreign country, you are subject to their laws.
4. Make three copies of your passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. One copy should remain at home with relatives or friends, one copy you should carry with you in your purse or wallet, and one can be left with hotel security.
5. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency. Also leave a copy with the hotel in which you are staying.
6. If you plan on driving an automobile once you get to the country where you will be traveling, get your international driver's license from AAA before you leave your home country. Learn traffic signs in the country you will be visiting and the driving habits of the local people. It is very important to know which side of the road to drive on and be familiar with round-abouts.
7. Never leave your baggage unattended in public areas. Never take anything from people that you do not know. Buy locks that the security can unlock to check your luggage.
8. Purchase brightly colored luggage straps or tags to put on your luggage to help you identify your bags more easily at baggage claim.
9. If you have medical conditions, carry a list of your physicians phone numbers to contact your physician and a list of drugs that you are taking, in case of an emergency the local doctors will have an idea what they can use to treat you.
10. Carry prescription drugs in their original container, do not mix prescription drugs with vitamins or non prescription drugs.
11. Purchase a map of the area you will be traveling in. Get familiar with towns and roads. If you get lost and cant speak their language, you can at least point to where you would like to get to and they should be able to send you in the right direction.
12. Prior to your departure, you should register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate through the State Department's travel registration website . Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare and whereabouts may not be released without your expressed authorization. Remember to leave a detailed itinerary and the numbers or copies of your passport or other citizenship documents with a friend or relative in the United States.
13. To prevent becoming a victim of crime, try not to have on clothes that make you stand out as a tourist. Never wear expensive rings watches or bracelets, and never carry large sums of cash or a large number of credit cards.
14. Notify your credit card companies of your plans to travel out of the country to avoid any hassles when you try to make a purchase in a foreign country.
15. Always deal with banks or other reputable firms when exchanging money. When buying antiques jewelry or art, from street vendors it may appear to be a bargain but it is a good way to be taken advantage of. For your protection make large purchases with a credit card.
16. Know what the currency exchange rate is, write it down on a piece of paper and carry it with you. Many times you get a better exchange rate if you make your purchases with a credit card.
17. Know if bartering prices is acceptable. Some countries it is the way sales are made, in other countries they may be offended.
18. Learn to recognize the signs for hospital, police, and transportation in case you need them.
19. If you are traveling to foreign countries with a cell phone, you may need to purchase an access chip to make calls while you are it that country.
20. You will need to know what type of electricity is used in the country you are visiting and purchase the correct adapters before you get there.
21. Cooperate with local authorities, most can speak some English; if you need a translator ask for one. Keep your passport and identification readily available when traveling.
22. Should you lose your passport or if you do by chance get into trouble, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy immediately .
23. As much as possible, try traveling with friends or relatives - if possible always travel in groups; there is safety in numbers.
24. Ask your travel agent about trip insurance, not terribly expensive but may save you money if for some reason you would have to cancel your trip.
25. With the security being at higher levels be prepared to have all of your luggage checked. Wear shoes that are easy to slip in and out of. Avoid big belt buckles, and excessive jewelry. Do not take pocket knives, guns, scissors, mace or pepper spray through security. The result will be that they will be taken away and you could be delayed long enough that you would miss your flight.
26. Plan on getting to the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight. If you have extra time, then just get a paper and relax. Nothing worse than running through a concourse with your luggage only to find that you have missed your flight.
27. Check as much of your luggage as possible; carry on your overnight bag with any medications that you will need in case that your luggage gets lost or stolen.
One last piece of advice or "fun" tip for traveling abroad: Be sure to take time to really enjoy the area and take plenty of pictures!!! They will always bring back memories of the places you have visited. Your family and friends will want to see where you have been, and years down the road you can pull them out and say "oh look at this restaurant where we ate."
Traveling is very rewarding. You'll create memories to last a lifetime. You'll want them to be great memories, so follow these guidelines to have a hassle-free, enjoyable vacation.
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