If you are planning on taking a trip internationally, you’ve probably prepared the best that you can. There are tons of things to worry about, from passports to international laws, and everything can get very stressful without proper preparation. The first time I traveled outside the country was to Mexico, and it went amazingly well thanks to tons of research and preparation. Here are 10 things you need to know before traveling internationally for the first time.
1. Know The Language– For me, it was learning Spanish, but no matter where you’re going, you should take time to at least learn the basics of the area you are visiting. Not only will you be able to get yourself out of tight spots but a tourist that knows some of the native language is favored above one that knows none.
2. Don’t Drink The Water– When visiting a new country it’s important to be careful of what you are putting in your body. Water can have micro organisms in it that disrupt your body and make you sick since you aren’t used to them. Drink bottled water.
3. Keep Documents Handy– It’s good to have your ID and passport with you at all times. That way no matter what the situation, you have proof of identification with you when needed.
4. Plan Ahead– You should order plane tickets and passports well before the departure date of your trip. Sometimes passports can be delayed depending on how many people are trying to get one at the same time. I waited until my trip and almost didn’t get mine in time. Better safe than sorry.
5. Have A Camera(Always)– Since you may not be returning for a while, or ever, you will want to document your experience with a camera. Not only will you make lasting memories of all the great sights, you will also be able to have photo proof of your stance in a legal situation if it arises.
6. Get Travel Insurance– When traveling to other countries you may want to consider getting additional traveler’s insurance. Most standard health plans will not cover you out of country. That way if you happen to be injured you won’t be in steep debt with a foreign power.
7. Visit The Doctor– before setting out on your trip go to your doctor and have a full physical checkup. This way if you happen to get sick overseas you can identify whether you had it before or after you crossed international lines.
8. Bring Synthetic Clothes– If you want to pack lightly or don’t have room for everything you think you might need, bring synthetic material shirts, socks, or underwear. These are easy to wash right in the sink of your room and the synthetic fibers will dry fast.
9. Keep Your Wallet Up Front– To keep from being robbed keep your wallet and money in your front pocket at all times. Be wary of the stall tactic of stealing, where one person will stop abruptly in front of you while the person behind you tries to pick your pocket.
10. Watch For Scams– Pay close attention to the information given to you by locals if it seems to contradict your own plans. For example, in Mexico my group was set out to view an ancient temple we really wanted to see. A local man stopped and we asked directions to the temple. He replied saying it was dangerous and hard to get to and he could take us to a better temple. We declined and pushed on finding easy access and a short distance to our wanted destination.
If you are planning on taking a trip internationally use some or all of these tips to ensure you have the best time possible. Being prepared will keep you happy and healthy while visiting a foreign land. Happy traveling!
10 years international traveling experience
For more travel information and reading from this author check out:
Ten Ways to Get The Most From Your Airplane Trip
A Guide for Having the Best Vacation Ever
How to Get the Most From Your Next Beach Vacation