When you’re travelling abroad for the first time, you may be intimidated by the scope of the trip. There’s a lot to keep in mind when researching local culture and preparing to leave. Fortunately, if you follow these basic tips, you shouldn’t run into any trouble during your trip.
1. Talk to your doctor.
Before you leave the country, you’ll need to make sure that you’re up-to-date on your vaccinations. Depending on where you’re going, you might need to get additional vaccinations or screenings. Make sure you have enough of your essential medications to last for the whole trip.
It’s also important to contact your health insurance provider. Not all carriers will cover you when you’re overseas. Some countries have universal healthcare, so the insurance issues aren’t so pressing. But you need to know how you’re going to pay for a hospital visit if you need emergency care for any reason.
2. Have copies of your passport.
If your documentation is stolen or gets lost, you’ll need copies to prove who you are. Otherwise, you might not be able to return to your home country. Most people will just need their passport, but if you have any other documents proving your citizenship, it may help to bring copies of those along as well.
Another security measure is to leave a copy of your passport with a loved one. Since your passport contains personal information, make sure you’re giving it to a person you trust. You might also scan a digital copy so that you always have it accessible in your email with an internet connection.
3. Get registered with the embassy.
This is important for cases where there’s an unexpected issue in the country you’re traveling to. When you register with the embassy, your country’s government will be able to get in contact with you. It will be easier for you to get to a safe place if a natural disaster or civil issue occurs.
4. Double-check the monetary conversion.
If you’re an American, you’ll be using different currency when you travel to another country. Some countries have very close exchange rates to the US. But it’s vital that you check the conversion before you travel. For example, 300 yen in Japan is equal to about three dollars. Your US money might not go as far as you expect, particularly if you’re traveling to wealthy and consumer-driven countries.
5. Be sure your credit card will work.
In Europe, nearly all cash registers use chip technology. If you have a chip card, you should be fine. But if your card has a magnetic strip and no chip, you might find yourself unable to pay for goods at a business. In addition, if you have a local bank, call to make sure their debit and credit cards will work internationally. Let them know that you’re going to be traveling. Otherwise, your card might be shut down for suspected fraudulent activity.
6. Get your foreign currency in the country you visit.
International airport terminals often have conversion centers. While these may seem convenient, they also tend to charge exorbitant fees. The same is true of conversion terminals in urban areas near the airport. It’s better to look for an ATM or a bank somewhere away from the airport. This will allow you to get an exact conversion of currency without the same huge fees.
7. See whether there’s a fee to enter the country.
It costs money to enter and exit certain countries. Your airline ticket won’t include the price of admission. Prices can be anywhere from 25 to 200 dollars. You definitely don’t want to get trapped without money to pay to leave the country.
8. Use local guidebooks.
Guidebooks are great resources for tourists planning their vacation. It also helps to buy tickets to attractions in advance. You can use a guidebook to look at maps of the area, see places you might want to visit, and plan your trip. Downloading travel apps is also helpful when it comes to organizing your itinerary and plans.
9. Have adapters for your electronics.
Some countries use different voltage outlets than Americans are used to. Make sure you have an adapter for your chargers so you can keep your electronics charged. This is a lot easier than needing to buy an all-new charger after you land.
As long as you’re being conscious of your health and safety, you shouldn’t have any problems with international travel. It’s important to be aware of the laws and customs in your destination, as well as to procure any necessary travel visas or paperwork. If you plan carefully, you can avoid a lot of potential headache and hassle.