Helpful Tips to Prepare for a Successful Trip Abroad

Traveling to another country can be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, but there are many things to consider in order to ensure that the trip will be pleasant. Following are some tips that can help.

Traveling to almost any foreign country requires a passport. If you do not have a passport, be sure to apply for one well in advance of your departure date. It can take several months for a new passport to be processed and mailed to you. Some countries require that you have a visa as well. Find out if any of the countries you plan to visit have this requirement. If so, find out how to comply with their requirements.

Some destinations are known to be less hospitable to visitors. If you are traveling to one of these countries, let the State Department know of your travel plans. They are more likely to be in a position to help you should the need arise. Also, in some parts of the world, you may be exposed to diseases that are rare in the United States. You may need vaccinations before you visit such countries. Visit the website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to help you determine what health risks you may encounter when you visit a particular country and what vaccinations you may need. It also provides current travel notices in effect for each country and hints regarding how to stay healthy while you are traveling.

Leave your itinerary and contact information with a family member or trusted friend. Include the names and phone numbers of the hotels you plan to stay at so you can be contacted should an emergency arise at home. Also, in the unlikely event that you go missing, this person will be able to provide the authorities with your travel information.

Learn all you can about the areas that you plan to visit. Gather maps, decide where to stay and decide what attractions you want to visit. Find out the best ways to get around in that area, whether it is taking public transportation, taxis or renting a car. (If a car rental is involved, you will need an international driver’s license, and you should look into the rules of the road and other driving requirements involved.) If you are going to a country where the native language differs from yours, try to learn at least a few common phrases that you may need to know. While many people throughout the world speak English, it can’t hurt to have some familiarity with the language of the place you are visiting.

Consider taking a tour. When you are unfamiliar with a country and the language, you can waste a lot of time finding your way around. When you take a tour, your bus driver and guide handle the transportation and many of the details, leaving you to enjoy your trip.

Traveling to another country can be exciting, fun and educational. Make sure you plan in advance for as many eventualities as possible, so that your trip goes smoothly.

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