Tips for Traveling Overseas
When traveling overseas for business or pleasure, there are many things to prepare and pack. These seven tips should help eliminate stress and leave more time better spent on exploration and fun.
Tip #1: Passport
Depending on where you live, some cities are so backed up on passports that it can take months to process your application, or a large fee to speed up the process. Make sure to apply for a passport early to avoid any problems.
Tip #2: Safety
The U.S. Department of State recommends leaving copies of your itinerary and passport data page with family and friends in the U.S. when travelling overseas. Also, some may want to participate in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service provided by the State Department. This program is meant to help make contacting travelers, or relatives back home, easier in case of emergency. Find out more about legal matters and regulations here.
Tip #3: Money
Make sure you have several forms of dough. Some taxis, restaurants, and attractions only take cash, so you might want to get some cash converted to use for this purpose. Also, if you plan to use a debit or credit card, check if your bank charges an extra international fee on top of the standard ATM and processing fee. While on the phone with your card company, also let them know the dates of your travel and which countries are on the itinerary. You don't want them to suddenly suspend your card because of "suspicious charges" just as you are about to pay for dinner or buy a memorable souvenir.
Tip #4: Luggage
Losing your luggage can be a traveler’s worst nightmare, but loosing your luggage in a foreign country can be an even trickier situation. It is pricy to replace a whole suitcase full of luggage, but it may be impossible when traveling somewhere like China or Japan, where the clothes sized are much smaller than standard American sizes. Consider keeping all clothing in a large carryon, or at least pack a few days worth of necessities in case of emergency.
Tip #5: Pack Converters
If you plan to pack necessities such as various dryers, shavers, irons, and phone chargers, make sure to also bring appropriate outlet and voltage converters to make them work. While these can often be found in airports and travel centers, planning ahead will help save money that is better spent on souvenirs.
Tip #6: Appropriate Clothing
While it may be cool to wear pajamas to dinner in the U.S., some foreign museums, churches, and theaters either frown on or ban casual western clothing. Visitors might want to dress more conservatively than usual to avoid offending certain cultures. When in doubt, check attractions in advance to find out if there is a dress code.
Tip #7: Language
Learn some words in the language of the country you are traveling to, natives will appreciate the effort and consideration. They might even return the consideration by going out of their way to help with directions or photos. If you are enjoying your new foreign language and are interested in international business interactions, you might want to consider earning an online international business degree.