Traveling abroad can and should be a fun experience with memories you’ll carry with you for a long time. However, a big part of having a successful trip abroad is being prepared. Some things are common sense, others are things you should do to be ready for those "just in case" moments.
Traveling Abroad (photo by Frontierofficial)
A passport can be obtained at most post offices throughout the United States. Several major cities have a regional passport agency where a passport can be obtained. Those in need of a visa for travel should call the consulate of the country they intend to visit to see if a travel visa is required. If so, contact immigration services and they will provide details on how to obtain one. Remember to fill out the emergency contact information page. This is something a lot of people forget to do, but it comes in handy if these documents are lost.
Copies Of Itinerary
It is a good idea to leave a copy of your itinerary with family and friends before you travel outside of the United States. This is protection of you and gives people a way to contact you in the event of an emergency at home.
Overseas Medical Insurance Coverage
Check to see if your medical insurance applies overseas. If it does not, you may want to consider supplemental insurance or travelers insurance.
Know Local Laws/customs
A common misconception is that laws of the United States apply everywhere in the world. This is not true. When you are in a foreign country, the laws of that country apply to you. It is a good idea to have a general idea of the laws and customs of the place(s) you plan to visit. A good resource is the State Department website and often times if you are staying in one of the airport hotels, they can help you find resources about the local laws.
Learn Best Travel Options
It’s best to decide ahead of time how you will travel around a foreign country. Most countries will obviously have taxi service and car rentals, but if traveling to Europe a more efficient method is the train or rail system, especially if traveling to between different countries. RailEurope.com is a good source for schedule information.
An easy way to avoid the hassle of foreign currency is to trade in your currency before you go. Another option is traveler’s checks. Credit cards are fine, as long as you know the exchange rate so you aren’t surprised when you get your monthly statement.
Know Simple Phrases
While most countries have people at restaurants, shops or tourist attractions who can speak and understand English, it helps to know some basic phrases if you are going to a country whose primary language is not English.