While many readers are experienced in international travel, you may have friends who are traveling abroad for the first time. Here are a few important things to know before you or your friends take their first journey somewhere other than the US.
It’s a good idea to learn some basics about the country you’re traveling to. For instance, check out the currency rate before you go. Keep in mind, it can change over the months or year before your trip. If you understand what the rate is and how much the US Dollar is worth, it will save you from overspending. Figure out a quick conversion in your head. Don’t worry if it’s not exact. Just getting close will help.
Lean the basic numbers. Can you count to 10? If you use your fingers, be sure you know what the count is in other countries. Holding up your index finger may indicate you want one. At least, that’s what you meant. In some countries, it means two. Your thumb would indicate one.
Do you know how to say yes and no? Can you say please and thank you? You don’t need to be fluent in the language, but learning some basic words and phrases will help you out.
Is your passport up to date? Make sure it doesn’t expire too close to your trip, as there are countries where you need at least six months before it expires in order to travel there.
Do you know if you need a visa? Check out the State Department’s website, www.state.gov.
If you have a connecting flight, do you know about that airport? Many large airports can seem confusing, especially if you are intimidated by the language. Check out where the gates are, what terminals you need, and where customs is located.
There are many more, but this is a start. I’ll cover different tips later.