Traveling internationally is a bit different than going to a new city in your country. International travel comes with cultural differences and an overall difference in how things are done. These eight tips will help make international travel a little easier.
1. Read Up On Your Destination
Anytime you’re visiting a new country, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. You can do this before you leave by researching your destination. Try and figure out if there are any new customs you need to be aware of. Double check visa requirements, so you aren’t stuck dealing with a foreign customs department. It’s also worth your time to double check the local laws to prevent any misunderstandings.
2. Make Sure Your Passport And Visa Are Current
International travel requires a passport that’s current. Most countries require you to have a minimum of two blank pages in your passport. Your passport documents should also be valid for 6-months after your exit date in the country. Not every country requires six months of validity, but it’s better to play it safe than end up in a difficult situation.
3. Use Copies Wherever Possible
Whenever you’re traveling, try and use copies where possible. Keep your copies in a separate place form your real documents because you need them to be secure. Using your passport all the time increases the chances of it being stolen. Most places will accept reviewing a copy of your passport details. You should also make copies of your drivers license, work ID and any other important documents.
4. Get An Idea Of How Money Works In Your Destination
Knowing the money situation beforehand can make things easier for yourself. In places like Beijing, there’s a good chance you can rely on electronic payment methods for most of your trips. In more rural areas, you’ll have to get used to cash transactions. Your payment method is something to keep in mind as you consider currency exchange. You can do your research online or consult with someone you know locally to find out what to expect about the money situation.
5. Letters Can Save You From Long-Winded Explanations
If you have any special circumstances for your trip such as traveling alone with a child or with special equipment, a letter can help you avoid awkward situations. Foreign officials may require proof if they see you doing something out of the ordinary. If you have to bring medication, make sure you have a letter from your doctor. Remember to make copies and only show the original when necessary.
6. Take A Business Card From Your Hotel
This is a useful tip that seasoned travel experts always take advantage of. Having your hotel’s business card is an excellent failsafe in case you get lost. Grabbing the business card ensures you can just show people where you need to go. Try and grab a card that’s in the local language which will make explaining things to taxi drivers easier.
7. Notify Your Bank That You’ll Be Traveling
Before you leave, let your bank know you’ll be traveling internationally. Some restrictions may be put on your account if a bunch of transactions from the other side of the world start popping up. Giving your bank the heads up ensures you have access to your funds at all times.
8. Use A Local Phone Plan
Unlocking your phone and getting a local phone plan is almost always the most cost-effective option. Roaming charges are out of control and often unnecessary. Anytime you’re going to be in a place longer than a week, consider just getting a local plan instead of paying international roaming fees.