International Travel Tips
There is nothing like getting out of the country. Visiting a new city, a brand new country with new food, new cultures, new people can be exhilarating. However, it can also be fairly stressful, and you want to make sure that you have everything, and are prepared for anything that may happen while traveling abroad. Luckily, we have pulled together international travel tips to make your future travels easier and less stressful.
See your doctor before you head out.
Depending on where you go, you may need certain vaccinations to visit, and while you may already have them, you might need to pick up a copy from your doctor's office. If that's the case, go in for a quick annual exam if it's been a while. You'll knock out two things on your to-do list at once. This will also give you a chance to get refills on any prescriptions that you may need during the trip.
Make copies of your passport.
You'll want to leave one at home with a friend or family member, and you'll also want to bring a couple. You need to be prepared for any situation over there, and unfortunately, many tourists get hit by pickpockets or thieves and lose vital things like credit cards and identification, which can make it very difficult to get back to the U.S. when your trip is over.
Register with the embassy.
Depending on where you work, this may be a requirement, especially if you are with law enforcement or special services. It's also good for any citizen because it lets the government know that you are over there, and if there is an issue like an attack or terrorism, the government can get you to safety.
Check to make sure your credit cards will work, and find out what the fee is if any.
This is important, since you may not have the cash available, and you want to be able to purchase souvenirs as well as meals over there. This is also a good time to let them know where you are going, and for how long, so your cards will not be shut down in event of fraud.
Get some local money.
You could wait until you are at the airport, but the rates are higher. Instead, call your bank, and get some money there. Certain restaurants and small cafes won't take credit cards, so you want to make sure that you can pay for anything you need while over there. In some cases, buses or trains are cash only as well.
Buy tickets ahead of time.
If you are planning any excursions or activities, want to see any historical sites, order these ahead of time. You can skip lines, see more, and maybe even get a discount when you bundle certain purchases.
Research things to see ahead of time.
This is a trip that you won't want to wait to decide what to do. Research what is the best thing to see at the time you're going, and see if there are any celebrations going on at the time. This will help you fill up the itinerary and decide the best days for sight-seeing.
Research the country ahead of time.
Look at their news, check out their politics. Be aware if there is political unrest there, and if there is, take necessary precautions to avoid those areas and be more alert of your surroundings. If there are protests at night, plan to be in your hotel by a certain time each evening and plan your trip around those restrictions.
Bring an adapter.
Don't assume that wherever you are staying will have one for you, and they aren't so easy to find when you're in a different country. Instead, be prepared and bring one yourself.
Keep your phone on airplane mode or activate your international travel plan.
Depending on if you need to make phone calls or receive texts, this can be a money-saver. If you have an iPhone, keep in mind that iMessages will send on Wi-fi, so you can easily keep in touch with those back home as long as you are connected to Wi-fi, and stay on airplane mode.
Try to bring carry on bags only.
Most airlines allow two carry-ons for international travel, and this is the best way to ensure that you don't lose your luggage. Many roller bags can be carried on, just make sure to double check the dimensions while full. If you overstuff the bag, you may have to gate-check, and that can be a serious delay, and a headache if your luggage gets left.
Get a map from the hotel.
This should be the first thing you ask for when you check in. Also, make sure to get a card with the hotel's name and address on it. This will help if you are lost and trying to get help finding your way back.
Bring some medicines.
Unfortunately, international travel means you will be exposed to a plethora of germs, so bring some medicines just in case. It's much easier to have your own Tums, Tylenol, and DayQuil than trying to find the foreign country version of it at the store. This is by no means everything you need for international travel tips, but it should make your upcoming trip a bit more stress-free.
International travel can be daunting, but don't let it overwhelm you. It is also a wonderful way to see the world and expose yourself to new cultures and experiences.