Being in a strange & mysterious land could be both invigorating and eye-opening. Some of my favorite memories of traveling include an early-morning run along the Ganges River in Bhagalpur, touring the Mayan Temples of Belize, and having late night drinks in Rincón, Puerto Rico.
In addition to traveling for pleasure, there have been many business trips as well – where my only sightseeing consisted of what I could see from the balcony or window of my hotel room!
No matter why you find yourself traveling, there are many steps you can take to make the most of your international trip. Here are 10 of my favorite tips for traveling abroad.
1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
2. Read the Consular Information Sheets and any Travel Warnings for the countries you plan to visit. (Look at the end of this listing for where to find Consular Information Sheets).
3. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in a country, you are subject to its laws!
4. Make 2 photocopies of your passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home. Carry the other with you in a separate place from your passport.
5. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so you can be contacted in case of emergency.
6. Notify by phone or register in person with the U.S. embassy or consulate upon arrival.
7. Don’t leave luggage unattended in public areas. Don’t accept packages from strangers.
8. Don’t be a target! Avoid conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and don’t carry excessive amounts of money or unnecessary credit cards.
9. In order to avoid violating local laws, deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase art or antiques.
10. If you get into trouble, contact the U.S. Consul!
The Department of State issues Consular Information Sheets for all countries of the world. They describe unusual entry or currency regulations, health conditions, the crime and security situation, political disturbances, areas of instability, and drug penalties. In general, Consular Information Sheets do not give advice. Instead, they describe conditions so that travelers can make informed decisions about their trips.
However, in some dangerous situations, the Department of State recommends that Americans defer all travel to a country. In these cases, a Travel Warning is issued for the country, in addition to its Consular Information Sheet. There are many ways to access Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings:
— You can listen to them 24 hours a day by calling (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone phone.
— From a fax machine, you can dial (202) 647-3000, using the handset as you would a regular telephone. You will hear instructions on how to have them faxed to you.
— Online via the Department of State website.
— You can find them at the 13 regional U.S. passport agencies, or you can learn about them from the airline when you or your travel agent make your international air reservation.
Enjoy your trip & remember to share your experiences in the comments below!
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