Many people go through their life never being lucky enough to travel abroad. If you’re one of the fortunate, there are many things to consider before you leave. Be sure to follow these top five tips when planning your trip overseas to ensure your holiday is all you dream it to be!
When planning to travel abroad, the first thing to secure is a passport. The easiest place to apply for a passport is at the post office. You can fill out the application, have your photo taken and pay your fee all in one place. Along with your passport, you’ll need to pack your driver’s license or state ID. Once you arrive at your destination, carry your passport and your ID separately. If you misplace your bag, you don’t want to have lost every bit of identification that you have.
Try not to scream ‘tourist’ when you’re walking around seeing the sights. Tourists are more often the victims of robbery and/or scams than locals, particularly in countries with a high rate of tourism. Before you leave, research the culture of the country you’ll be visiting. You don’t have to buy an entire wardrobe but leave the loud, bright clothing at home if the country you are visiting is more reserved than you’re used to.
Many people don’t realize that, while you can use debit and credit cards internationally, there are incredible surcharges involved. You’re much better off using cash as often as you can. Don’t feel like you have to wait until you arrive in your host country to exchange your money. Keep an eye on currency exchange rates and change your money when it’s most beneficial. Many banks exchange money for their customers and for non-customers as well; you may have to pay a small fee. Just as is the case with your documents, don’t carry all of your cash in the same bag.
There’s no doubt that you’ll spend much of your time walking; whether it’s to and from attractions or simply sightseeing along the city streets. Consider carrying a wallet in your pocket instead of a messenger bag, backpack or purse. If you absolutely must carry a purse, use a crossbody bag that can be kept tucked close to your body. Don’t flash expensive watches, cell phones, iPods or cash as you walk. Make sure each person in your party has a cell phone and some cash in their pocket in case you get separated. Try to study the route you’ll take before you set off. There’s nothing like stopping to read a map every few feet to tell everyone that you’re ‘not from around here’.
Don’t leave valuables that you’ve brought along in your room. Do your homework and find out ahead of time if the hotel you’re staying in has in-room safes or a common safe for guests. If the hotel doesn’t offer safes, consider leaving things you can’t live without at home. Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than having your valuables stolen.
The best thing to do to maintain your safety in a foreign country is to use common sense. People often get so caught up in their good time that they lose a bit of themselves. Keep your wits about you, stay aware of your surroundings and you’re sure to have a safe journey.