Summer International Travel Series: Part 1

It’s officially summer, school is out, and you have vacation on the brain. College students and excited high school graduates are all looking forward to upcoming travels. With international travel becoming increasingly affordable for young people, more vacationers are going abroad and experiencing the world outside of the United States. With that in mind, here’s a list we’ve compiled of the best tips for having a great time during your international travels.

When it comes to traveling abroad, it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of other recent international travelers. Each country offers different attractions and a unique flavor. Traveling abroad can be one of the best times of your life, but to ensure an enjoyable trip, it’s a wise idea to brush up on your chosen destination before you embark on your trip. So ask your friends, neighbors, relatives and classmates for their advice – and read on to find out our favorite tips – and you’ll be well on your way to having an incredible trip.

General Traveling Safety Tips

Let’s start out with the nitty-gritty stuff. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of vacation, but safety is one of the keys to having a good time. Think about it – could you imagine having fun after your wallet was stolen or if you turned around and your luggage had vanished? I don’t think so. So here are some quick tips to make sure you stay safe and sound during your journeys.

  • Sign your passport and fill in the emergency information
  • Make copies of your passport – one to leave at home with family or friends in the states, one to take with you during your day travels (many hotels require you to leave your passport at the front desk during stays)
  • Some countries pose different health problems (malaria or yellow fever, for example), so make sure that your shots are up-to-date for your country of travel
  • Know what paperwork you will need to travel within your destination country. The U.S. Department of State provides great visa and travel safety information.
  • Have printed copies of all of your itinerary information. Leaving an extra copy at home with family or friends can also come in handy.
  • Research overseas medical insurance. Nothing puts a damper on foreign travels like realizing that your insurance doesn’t cover medical care for a sprained ankle abroad.
  • Familiarize yourself with the local laws of the country you are visiting, as they can vary greatly from what you are used to in the United States. Women traveling alone in conservative countries will want to pay special attention to local laws.
  • Know what items you can and cannot bring back to the U.S. – it’s no fun getting detained in customs
  • Stay away from areas of high crime. Check out this global crime site for more information on your destination.
  • Learn a few phrases such as “please” and “thank you” in the local tongue. Being polite and making an effort may just win you some insider travel tips from friendly locals you meet during your travels.

  • Pick-pocketing is far more prevalent in foreign countries than in the U.S., so leave your back pockets empty
  • Make sure you are able to carry all of your luggage comfortably. If you’re unsure whether you packed too much, spend some time walking around with your bags before you depart.
  • Bring a guide book and maps to help direct you (better yet, just rip the pages out of the travel book that you’ll need and pack them, and leave the bulky thing at home)
  • Be aware and alert to avoid falling prey to tourist traps – strangers offering unsolicited information may be directing you to pricier stores geared toward fleecing unaware travelers
  • Watch out for scams – a popular one involves con-artists dressing up as a police officer and demanding to check your wallet
  • Strangers offering to take your photo may in turn ask for payment for their services
  • Ask cab drivers what the fare is beforehand – some cab drivers take advantage of tourists, so if the fare sounds too steep, do not be afraid to bargain for a more reasonable price

Tomorrow we’ll bring you the next installment in our four part travel series, tips on packing for your trip.

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