Traveling internationally for the first time can be scary, but if you consider such an adventure, it means you are ready to get out of your comfort zone. Instead of letting anxiety ruin this moment for you, learn everything you need to know about traveling safely, so you can have the best time. The following of seven useful travel tips so you can stay safe while enjoying your trip.
Get practical with your official documents
Practicality is essential when traveling internationally, and this goes beyond avoiding bringing your whole wardrobe with you. Although you should keep this point in mind, think more about the things that will give you access to board planes, buy something, and travel anywhere.
Your passport is one important document. Make sure you keep it safe but don’t stop there. Make copies of your passport and carry them with you. Moreover, leave prints at home with family members. Consider having an electronic copy of your passport on your phone as well. Copies of your driver’s license is a right call too. You want to have proper documentation in case a policeman stops you because your backpack has flown off the roof rack of your rental car and ended in the middle of a highway.
Make sure your passport has enough blank pages and a validity of longer than six months. Sometimes visas take an entire passport page. Moreover, take extra passport photos. You may need them when applying for your visa. When it comes to your time, be practical too. Don’t forget to take something that will entertain you during your long flight. Traveling is exciting, but not while you are waiting at the airport.
Carry money in every shape and form
When it comes to money, don’t just rely on credit cards. Carry local cash with you. Certain services such as trains or buses may not accept credit cards. Carry coins with you as well, as bus drivers may not enjoy having to break down notes. If you wish to convert your money, try a local bank or an ATM instead of the airport’s conversion options as the charges are often higher.
For credit cards, check with your local bank to see if you can use them abroad. Let them know where you are heading so that they will not block your card due to suspicious activity because your card is used in Bali rather than your usual location. Remember, take more money than you think you will need.
Besides your local bank, call your phone carrier to check about international charges. See if they offer better plans while traveling or if it is better to buy a local SIM card.
Connect with who can keep you safe
Traveling is magical, but not when someone steals your wallet. While you should be open to the experience, you must also stay safe and be wary of the people who want to help you. One way you can stay safe is by enrolling in the STEP program. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service led by the US Department of State that connects you to local US Embassies. If something happens, the local US Embassy can send you text messages warning you of scams, dangerous activities, or help during natural disasters.
Ensure you are physically ready to travel
Before heading anywhere exotic, check you have taken the necessary vaccinations. If you take prescription pills, ask your doctor to provide you with the proper documentation proving you need the pills. Make sure you have enough for the trip as you may not be able to acquire your medicine in a foreign country.
Other small but essential preventative measures include packing an extra set of clothes in your hand luggage, so you have something to wear in case your main luggage gets lost. Carrying snacks with you just in case the local cuisine is not entirely to your taste is also a good idea.
If you are traveling somewhere exotic, you may also wish to ask your pharmacist for a probiotic. That way, your stomach has a substantial load of good bacteria in case the food you eat doesn’t agree with you.
Do your research
Your research should go beyond your itinerary. For example, you may not be aware that some countries require you to pay entrance or exit fees. These fees can range anywhere from $25 to $200. Be prepared to pay these fees. They are not included in the ticket price.
Moreover, if you are one to carry various electronics, make sure their voltage is high enough. While adapters are essential to use electronics in foreign countries, it is also necessary that your electronic devices have enough of a voltage to work in certain countries.
Other things to research include tourist scams and local customs. Also, consider creating a schedule so you can leave time to rest from jet lag.
Decide on the kind of traveler you want to be
Do you want to pre-book your taxi before you board your plane, or do you want to take the local bus? Do you want guided tour guides or to roam around the streets independently? Knowing the answers to these questions is essential so that you can book tickets in advance where you want to and skip lines whenever possible.
Invest in travel insurance
Nothing has to go wrong, but if something does, you want to have the backup of a powerhouse who can help, whether it is a medical issue or stolen goods. It is the price you pay to have more peace of mind when something does happen.
All that is left to do
There you have it, seven of the most important things to consider when traveling internationally. Now that you are more informed, all that’s left to do is to take the leap and see the world.