Traveling Overseas Smartly
When traveling overseas there are many things that you should consider before departing, but with so many things to think about, it’s easy to overlook something. The majority of the best tips for traveling overseas have to do with your personal safety, as there really is so much to think about when you are far from home, and immersed in a culture far different from your own. While there are many things that you may need to get done, there are ten tips that you can follow in any order that will help you have the best experience overseas possible.
Tips For Traveling Overseas
· Make sure that you have a signed, valid passport and/or visa. Remember that it might take some time for these things to be completed, so as soon as you start to think about traveling overseas this should be your priority. Without your passport or visa, you will not be traveling.
· Research the countries that you’ll be visiting, and get specific in your research if possible. It’s also a great idea to read any Consular information sheets, travel warnings, and public announcements relevant to the areas in which you’ll be traveling in, around, or through. It’s a good idea to take down Consular or U.S. Embassy phone numbers, just in the event that you might need them.
· When you are researching, take note of local laws and customs of the areas you’ll be visiting. Many Americans forget that the United States constitution and laws do not follow them during their travels; you will be subject to the laws of the areas that you travel, regardless of how unconstitutional they may seem.
· Make two to three copies of your passport identification information and keep them in another location from your actual passport. Should you lose your passport, this copy will expedite the replacement process. Also, you might want to give friends and family at home a copy just in case.
· Leave a copy of your itinerary with friends and family so the know when to expect you home. Also, leave lodging information with friends or family so that you can be reached in the event that there is an emergency at home. Leaving this information is a good safety check because friends and family members will be able to track you down easily.
· Visit your doctor for a complete physical and any vaccinations you may need a couple weeks prior to your departure. Going ahead of time will allow you to recover from any ill effects that may be caused by vaccinations. Also, some vaccines must be given more than once, so be sure you leave enough time to have all scheduled vaccines completed before your departure.
· When you are traveling, do not leave your luggage unattended for any amount of time. And, remember that even when you are in another country, you should never accept a package from a stranger, regardless of what their explanation may be in giving it to you.
· Prior to actually leaving on your international travels, you should register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate. Registration is the best way to make your whereabouts known so that family or friends may locate you in the event of an emergency. It’s important to note that the U.S Embassy will not give friends and family your contact information, instead they will attempt to contact you, and this is why you should leave a copy of your itinerary with friends and family members.
· Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or clothing when you are traveling overseas. You’ll find that many locals assume that tourists are very wealthy, and wearing expensive items may make you the target of crime. You should also carry a minimal amount of cash and credit cards, remember to use a hotel safe for money or credit cards you may not need on your person.
· When you exchange money for local currency, be sure that you are dealing with individuals or companies that are authorized to do such exchanges. Many Americans find themselves in legal trouble when they exchange money with people that are not qualified to do so.
· If you get into any type of legal, financial, or medical trouble, you should call the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible and they will help you make the best decisions for your specific circumstance. Carry the U.S Embassy contact information with you in your money belt is a good idea, as you never know when trouble is going to strike.
Traveling overseas is fun and exciting, and when you have a respect for the precautions you must take, it can be quite the carefree experience. Planning ahead and taking precautions will increase your enjoyment of other cultures and customs. Traveling overseas takes some preparation, but it’s usually well worth the time and effort.
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