Jet-lag is the worst, especially if you are coming from a 12 hour time difference! I returned from an international trip a couple of days ago to gorgeous spring weather, but my body doesn’t quiet understand it’s supposed to be awake when the sun is out.
Anyways, the beautiful weather and the fact that today is May 1st reminded me that the summer travel season is just around the corner. Since I just returned from a trip myself, I thought it would be a perfect time to share/review some tips to think about if you are traveling internationally! If you haven’t had the chance to travel abroad yet, I sincerely hope that all of you will get to travel at least once some day! So, here they are:
1. Your passport is the most valuable possession you can have. Protect it at all times! It’s a good idea to make multiple copies of it and store it in different places. Also, it’s not a bad idea to leave a copy of your passport and itinerary with someone you trust back at home.
2. Register with your embassy! I actually only recently discovered this, and I am not sure if you can do this will all embassies but the U.S. has a program called S.T.E.P (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) that lets you register yourself and all the details of your upcoming trip so that in the case of an emergency, the Department of State can help you better.
3. Make sure your up-to-date on all your vaccinations and get any necessary extra shots. Also, getting international health insurance and/or travel insurance is a good idea.
4. Do a little research about the currency conversion! It’s always a good idea to go to a currency exchange at home and obtain some if not all of the currency you’ll need. However, when you are going out, don’t carry all your money. If you plan to use your credit card, call your home bank and let them know you’ll be traveling abroad, and ask them about international credit card usage fees.
5. A big thing to check before hand is what voltage the country uses! For example, America uses 120 V current while India uses 240 V current. So if your electronics don’t have a built-in converter, you need to buy one! If your electronics have built-in converters, then you may need to buy different plug attachements because foreign countries tend to have different shaped plugs! FYI, iPhones and Apple computers have built in converters so all you need to do is buy a plug attachment.
6. Speaking of phones, your phones probably don’t have international calling on them. Either obtain an international calling plan from your local provider, or figure out how the cell phone system works in the country you are traveling too and obtain a phone that works there beforehand. If you try to use your local phone and you haven’t done either of the above options, you will be hit with atrocious roaming charges.
7. Bring an extra pair of clothes and absolute necessities into your carry-on, not in your checked baggage. Trust me. Checked-in baggage on international flights has a tendency to get lost all the time.
8. When traveling abroad, it’s best to drink only bottled water, and be careful with the food you eat. It doesn’t matter where you are going. Your body isn’t used to the surroundings you are in and it isn’t used to the food of that area, so, in conclusion, be smart about what you eat, and avoid any circumstances where there may be an opportunity for contamination. This is more a personal experience from traveling to India…
9. When traveling abroad, it’s very very very important to not draw attention to yourself. You don’t want people to immediately know you are a tourist. Research all the places you want to see ahead of time, and know exactly how you are going to get from point A to point B. If you are going to a country where they don’t speak the same language as you, it might not be a bad idea to try to learn a few words. Remember, the more you blend in, the less likely you are going to be cheated.
10. Know the attire of the area you are going to. This kind of goes along with the whole it’s very important not to draw attention to yourself, but also it has to do with respect for the customs of the country. You don’t want to be stared at for what you’re wearing.
In conclusion, please be smart wherever you go. It’s so easy to spot a tourist, and with all the crime and violence that is going on nowadays, I don’t want a trip of a lifetime to go bad for you guys. Be safe everyone wherever your travels take you this summer!
[Lead image via ndphoto/Shutterstock]