Traveling overseas can be an enlightening and enjoyable experience. Absorbing the natural beauty and learning about the new cultures and places helps one to understand and appreciate our rich global community. To make your adventure overseas as safe and memorable as possible, it is important to keep travel tips in mind. Whether planning to leave the country on an educational tour or to enjoy a different side of life, adequate knowledge of the area of the world you will be visiting is important, its laws, general customs, tourist regulations and proper safety precautions are important for a successful trip. The following is a handful of tips to keep you safe and ensure a successful trip.
1. Registration with the state department
In some areas, American tourists are advised to register with the local police within 3 days of arrival to their destination city or state.
Most countries do not require travel visas from U.S. citizens, however when traveling anywhere outside your home country, travelers should hold a current passport. Sign your passport and consider making a copy of the passport leaving it with a family member.
3. Accommodation and Lodging
Always book and rent accommodation and lodging at trusted and reputed places. Don’t go for cheap and insecure deals.
4. Local Guides
Using a local tour guide can not only help you communicate and learn about the area you are visiting, but they can also share little-known information about the area and show you many different points of interest that may not be in the travel guides.
5. Local Travel
Only travel in registered taxis for local visits. Using public transportation in a foreign country can be an adventure in itself. If you choose to use taxies or private transportation, make sure that the driver is able to provide identification and vehicle registration.
6. Precautions against Crime
Understand the crime rate of the visiting place and always take safety precautions like carrying pepper spray etc. It is important, especially for women, to travel in groups. Traveling alone leaves tourists with an increased risk of harassment, assault, and burglary.
7. Stay Alert
Stay alert and be aware of any safety warning or terror alerts in your region of visit.
8. Weather and Climate
Pack for the weather. Research the climate and seasons of the area you will be traveling to. Keep in mind that different areas of the world have different seasons during different months of the year.
9. Traveling with medicines
Consult your primary care physician before traveling, especially if you will be traveling for an extended period of time. Request a note from your physician listing the medications you will be carrying. Carry your physician’s contact information and extra scripts for your medication.
10. Finding medical help
Before setting out on your adventure, make a note of medical resources and location in and around your travel destination.
11. Norms and Regulations
Always acquaint yourself with useful information of the different norms and regulations for tourists. Comply with any and all regulations.
12. U.S. offices in foreign countries
Note the contact information and location of your country’s embassy in the area you are traveling to.
13. Road Safety
It is also important to have adequate knowledge about the road safety tips and laws pertaining to driving.
14. Night Clubs and Pubs
Plan ahead when going out to a pub or club. Plan in advance how you will be getting back to your hotel and where you will be going.
Acquaint yourself with the laws and regulations of the country you will be visiting. Each country and region has its own set of laws and it is important that tourists comply with any and all laws.
16. Important Local Numbers
Always keep important local numbers for Police, Fire Alarm, Ambulance, US Embassy etc.
17. Timeshare Rentals
In case you plan to rent a timeshare or a spacious and separate accommodation, check for legal verifications and security aspects of the rental property.
Verify any pet regulations in a country of visit or the airlines that you travel in. You may carry a veterinary certificate for hassle-free travel with your pet.
Keep track of the time difference of the geographical distance that you cover from your home country to the destination country. Keep this time difference in mind when contacting friends and family back home.
20. Banking hours
Banks are generally open for the weekdays and non-holidays. Make a note of the business days for bank operations.
21. Currency Exchange
Use the trusted resources only. Many tourist locations have installed currency exchange kiosks. Only use these kiosks or trusted banking outlets for your currency transaction. Be aware of the currency exchange rate in advance.
22. Post Offices
Get a detailed account of post office timings and parcel rates for shipment and delivery. Understand postage costs and how long it will take your mail to get to its intended location; this may be different from country to country.
23. Shops opening times
Keep a track of the different operation times for industries, shops, retail outlets, shopping complexes etc.
24. Tax Free Stores
You can also get information about the taxes on purchased goods and services offered at restaurants, hotels to avoid unnecessary payment of heavy bills.
25. Shipped Goods
Get a detailed account of the goods that you can ship out of the country and information on “tax-free” services as well. There are certain items that are not permitted through customs; save yourself time and money by understanding these regulations in advance.
26. Customs Regulations
Luggage inspection and free entry for specific goods is different in different counties. Also get good information about the different goods which are passed by customs only on certain payment.
Timing for opening and closing of churches and other places are different in different places. Also the dominate religion of the area pay impact the religious practices available. Understand that some religious rights do not extend to foreign countries; read up about the religious views of your destination in advance.
28. Sites of interest
Travelers need not waste a lot of time and money on travel books when quality information on government tourism websites to find site-seeing places, food, arts and crafts and other interests.
29. Culture and Diversity
It is also important to learn about the culture of the place along with its different customs, traditions, food, delicacies, attire etc.
30. Pick up the Language
A working knowledge of the language used in the area you will be traveling in is important to successful transactions and interactions during your trip.
U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs- The government offers important information regarding travel and tourism for U.S. travelers overseas.
Passport Information – Before you travel, make sure you obtain your passport.
The Office of Travel and Tourism Industries- It is dedicated site for travel and tourism industry of US. It offers important information about various webinars, promotional events, yearly reports, stats and figures.
U.S. Embassies and Consulates - It gives detailed information on the U.S. embassy and their location in different places of the world. It is also a useful guide for different policies and regulations for citizens and tourists.
Travel Registration - It is a must-visit site for U.S. travelers to overseas from the U.S. government. It offers important information and a free registration services for US travelers abroad.
British Foreign & Commonwealth Office - You can get latest news and information on travel and vital advice to all travelers to UK. You can find an embassy, travel news, travel insurance, and security alerts on the site.
Travel Security Administration - It offers important information for the travel security division of US government.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection - You can get quality information on customs and border protection of US. This will help you to understand what can be shipped in and out of US and at what rates.
Travel Advice – Information about immunizations, food and beverage safety, and personal safety for travelers.
General Travel Advice - The Australian website offers quality advice to tourists and offers good information on international travel.