13 Tips To Know Before You Go When Traveling To Foreign Countries by Marilyn Bohn
Traveling to foreign countries can be a lot of fun and a great cultural experience. With research and planning the trip can be double the fun and less hassle. You will come home with great experiences to put in your memory bank and to share with friends and family.
Things to know before you go:
Make sure you have a current passport. Go to travel.state.gov for general travel information. My passport had expired and I planned on traveling to Japan in three weeks. I went to this web site and used the instructions to expedite my passport. By expediting my application I had my new passport 10 days after sending in the application, photos and fees.
Visit travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs to register your trip. Registration allows you to record information about your upcoming trip abroad that the Department of State can use to assist you in case of an emergency.
Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the country to which you are traveling. While in a country, you are subject to their laws.
Make 2 photocopies of your passport data page and itinerary and leave with family or friends in case of an emergency. Take the other one with you and keep it in separate from your passport. If your passport gets lost or stolen, you can use the copy to exit the country and it will also facilitate the replacement process.
I have a friend who put her passport in the hotel safe rather than keeping it with her and the safe was broken into and her passport was stolen. Since then she keeps it in a money belt which is with her at all times.
Know your current banking information. For your credit card, make sure the valid dates will remain valid while you're traveling, know your available spending amount and remember to leave room on it for emergencies. Notify your banking institution of the countries you will be traveling in so they won't deny credit bills as they come in; thinking your card has been stolen.
Learn some local phrases. If you are traveling to a country with a foreign language, it's nice to know some of the local phrases. Knowing the "polite words" and just a few local phrases is a nice thing to know and use. They will appreciate your effort in using their language.
Know the voltage that is used for the country you're traveling to. If you are taking anything that requires an outlet; cell phone, computer, video camera, etc. make sure to purchase plug adapters. For things such as hairdryers, curling irons, electric razors, etc to purchase an actual voltage converter unless your appliance has multiple voltage currencies. I advise buying quality converts. I purchased a cheap set when traveling to New Zealand against the advice of the salesman. The first time I plugged it in; it fried the plug and my battery recharger. It pays to buy quality.
If you plan to send postcards to friends print address labels before you go to save time.
Research places to visit in the country before you go so you can make the best use of your time there and with some history of the places you will visit it makes it much more interesting.
Know what the weather will be like during the time you will be there so you can pack accordingly. Pack light, pack light, pack light. With the airlines being like they are today if you can just travel with a carry on and a backpack it will lighten your trip and make things so much easier when traveling to your destination once you have arrived in the country of your choice. Pack an extra bag inside your carry on in case you need it on the return trip.
Take a travel first aid kit; include a few basic items such as calamine lotion, antiseptic cream, insect repellent, painkillers, and anti diarrhea tablets. Pack a sufficient supply of prescription medications you are taking and store them in their original bottles. Carry extra copies of your prescriptions in case your luggage is stolen.
Check your health insurance policy and confirm the extent of coverage your health plan provides for travel. Look into receiving a travel health insurance policy, including coverage for changes to the itinerary, emergency repatriation for health reasons, hospitalization, and medical care in case of illness or accident.
With research and proper thoughtful preparation, traveling to foreign countries can be fun and rewarding. Bon Voyage!
Marilyn is a creative organizer who helps women, seniors & their families to create space and end clutter in homes and offices by setting up custom made systems. Visit her website http://www.marilynbohn.com/ for free organizing tips.