Tips and Tricks for Your First International Trip!
If you’re traveling to a foreign country for the first time it can be very exciting. There are tons of sights you just have to see but always remember that there are dangers associated with being a “newbie” traveler. If you keep these dangers in mind you should be able to avoid all the pitfalls and have a wonderful time on your vacation.
A suggestion I cannot stress enough would be to invest in travel insurance – not only for flight cancellations but for medical purposes as well. Always check with the company that provides you with the insurance to verify that the country you’re visiting is covered. Also verify if your destination country’s hospitals will accept your insurance plan. It may seem tedious, but in the event of a medical emergency, you’ll be glad you put in the work ahead of time!
Another tip I have to emphasize: get to the airport early. Obviously, many things have changed since 9/11, not the least of which is airport security. Count on being searched and make sure you’re not carrying any contraband items. To check what is not allowed either in carry on or checked luggage, visit this page. It is best to view this list because as you’ll see, many innocuous household items are on it. And the last thing you want is to a) hold everyone else in line up b) watch them throw away or have to make arrangements for shipping some of your favorite things c) get refused or brought in for questioning. And keep your boarding pass and passport handy – don’t waste time searching for them.
If it’s your first time traveling abroad, be aware – there are many scam artists out there just waiting to take advantage of you. Penny ante thieves lurk about in the airport waiting to steal your luggage, wallet and passport. Be sure to lock all your luggage, but make sure to use a TSA approved luggage lock, since if you’re luggage needs to be searched, the TSA will be able to get in and out without cutting the lock. Another good rule of thumb is to only carry what’s absolutely necessary during your voyage in your wallet. Traveller’s checks (if the country you’re going to can accept them, which they usually can) are also a good idea since if they’re lost they can be fairly easily replaced – unlike cash.
It is a smart idea to make copies of all important documents before your trip. You should make photocopies of your passport, credit cards, medical prescriptions, and your medical insurance information. Photocopying your credit cards will allow you to have images of them if they happen to be lost or stolen during your trip. You will have the numbers, expiration dates and the phone number to call if you do misplace them. By copying medical prescriptions you are able to have the information for any medications you might need during your trip, should you lose any. It is important to always have your medical insurance information with you in case of any medical emergencies. Of course, as previously mentioned, you should make sure that your medical insurance fully covers any medical expenses in other countries before departing on your trip. If it does not cover you, travel insurance might be a smart choice for you.
Make sure you know the currency conversions between your currency and the currency of the country you are visiting. Also be sure you are visiting places that will accept your credit cards or make sure that you have enough local currency on you for any sudden expenses. You will also want to look into places to exchange your currency. Different places offer different rates of conversion. Banks are typically your best bet, as they usually offer the best rates. However, it is smart to look into this and do some research before your trip.
The most important tip for people planning to travel abroad is to have fun and enjoy the trip. For most people it is not everyday that they get to visit a foreign country, so try your best to take in as many sights as possible and don’t forget your camera.
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