Know Before You Go

Travelers have an obligation to not only know basic traveling etiquette, but they also have an obligation to know key things about the area in which they are traveling too. Awareness of culture and climate is imperative when traveling. Take the time to learn their way of life so that you do not offend those who reside in the destination that you are traveling to.  

Listed below are a few things to help ensure that your traveling experience is as smooth as it possibly can be.

First Thing is First

Research the climate and culture for your destination. The more you know about the customs and the history of your destination, the more enjoyable your experience will be. Research what is appropriate clothing attire for your destination, and any activities that you may participate in. Know how to say a few simple phrases such as thank you, you’re welcome, where’s the restroom, good morning, good evening, etc. Take the time to research what is an appropriate tip amount, and to whom are you supposed to tip. And finally learn about the climate during the time you will be on your journey. Being caught off guard by the climate could make for a miserable traveling experience.

Passport and Visa

Traveling outside of the country? Make sure that your passport and visa are up-to-date. Check with your issuing country for recommendations on when you should renew before it expires. It could take 6 weeks to process a passport application, plan accordingly. With extra fees applied, there are always avenues to speed up the process, but it still could take 2-3 weeks to process.

You will need to find out if an International driver’s license is needed if you are planning on driving while you are traveling.

It’s always a good idea to make a copy of your passport and visa, for those “just in case” scenarios. However, it is not a good idea to pack your copies with the originals, keep them separate.     

Vaccinations and Prescriptions

Unsure of what vaccinations you might need for your travels? Centers for Disease and Prevention has recommendations for your particular destination. In order to receive maximum protection, it is recommended to receive any required vaccinations at least six weeks prior to departure.  

It is possible that your prescription drugs might be illegal in the destination that you are traveling to, be sure to read the Confiscation of Prescription Drugs and Other Medicine page of the U.S. Department of State’s country information. Make certain that you pack more than enough prescription medication, because it could be difficult to refill a prescription in another country, if not impossible. Make sure to make photocopies of your prescriptions, and keep the photocopies separate from the actual prescriptions. Your prescriptions should be packed in their original prescription bottles, and packed in your carry-on bag.

For Those Just in Case Moments

Your current health insurance more than likely will not provide coverage for you during your travels. You might want to consider purchasing some type of travel health insurance to protect yourself, just in case an accident occurs.

In case of an emergency, registering your travel itinerary with the U.S. Department of State will allow the U.S. Government to know your whereabouts in that particular area to keep you safe. It will also allow the U.S. Department of State to locate you on behalf of a third party if an emergency occurs back home. Plus, registration is free, so why not?

Be sure to check for any travel warnings or travel alerts for your destination before you depart.

Funds

Many people have more than two credit cards taking up space in their wallets. You only need one, or maybe two credit cards while traveling, remove the others from your wallet, and leave them at home. Remember to call your credit card issuing banks to notify them that you will be traveling. If you don’t, you more than likely will not have the ability to use your credit cards due to possible fraud; at least that is what the credit card will think.

Know how to contact your credit card issuing bank, toll-free numbers do not work outside of the U.S. Write down your credit card numbers, but of course, do not keep those numbers in your wallet. Keep them tucked away in your luggage bags, and then in the hotel safe.

Set a budget, and stay as close to that budget as possible.

Valuables

Expert thieves target travelers and tourists, leave expensive jewelry at home, it could prevent them from targeting you. Only take along necessary electronics. And do not bring other valuables with you. Any valuables that you do bring, store them in your carry-on bag, and lock them up in the hotel safe for safe keeping.

Traveling Your Destination

It’s always a good idea to create an itinerary, so that you have an outline of what you may want to see and do. But be flexible with it. It’s okay to veer from it. Since no one knows the area like the locals do, speak with them, listen to them. With their guidance your travels more than likely will be better than you had originally planned. And definitely, take the time to enjoy what the world has to offer.

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