Tips for International Travellers

Here are a few of my suggestions to those who are contemplating a vacation internationally. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  When you enroll in STEP, the US consulate can update you with important safety and security announcements.  Enrolling will also make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact you in the event of an emergency.  You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address.

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1 - CopyHave All Required Travel Documents ReadyMost U.S. citizens must use a U.S. passport to travel overseas and reenter the United States. A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies your identity and citizenship. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to issue U.S. passports. Have them ready.

2 - CopyMoney-  Look up the monetary conversion before you go. Make sure you do your math before you travel to get a sense of where the conversion rate is at.

  • Make sure your credit card will work in the country you’re visiting. European banks have switched almost completely to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards.
  • Go to a bank or ATM in the country you’re visiting. The conversion centers in the airport or around the city tend to be huge rip-offs. You won’t get charged as many fees at the ATM or the bank, and the conversion will be exact.
  • Always have local cash. Not every place takes credit cards. Especially important places like trains or buses.
  • Call your bank or credit card provider. Sometimes banks think that fraud may be occurring if transactions are suddenly happening in Bali when you’re from Jersey, and they will turn off your card as a security measure.
  • Check the country’s entrance/exit fees. Some countries require travelers to pay in order to enter or leave the country. These fees are not included in the price of your airline ticket, and can range from $25 to $200.

3 - CopyPack Smart! – Pack light so you can move more quickly and have a free hand when you need it. Do not pack a humungous luggage.

  • Carry a minimum number of valuables and plan places to conceal them.
  • Check your bags, clothing, and vehicle to make sure you are not carrying any banned items or substances, such as weapons or ammunition, into your destination country. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity and nationality.
  • Avoid packing IDs, tickets and other vital documents in backpacks or other locations you won’t be able to see at all times.

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Have Photocopies of Your Itinerary and Travel Documents Ready

  • Make two photocopies of all your travel documents in case of emergency or if your documents are lost or stolen. Leave one copy with a friend or relative at home. It is always a great idea to let at least one person know exactly where you will be staying and how to contact you in an emergency. Carry the other copy with you stored separately from the originals. Documents to make copies of include:
  • Passport ID page
  • Foreign visa (if applicable)
  • Itinerary
  • Hotel confirmation
  • Airline ticket
  • Driver’s license
  • Credit cards brought on the trip
  • Traveler’s check serial numbers

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Your SafetyPrepare to Handle Money Overseas

  • Check and understand the exchange rate before you travel.
  • Before you leave, notify your bank, credit card company, or other financial institutions that you are going overseas.
  • Avoid carrying cash and consider using traveler’s checks or major credit cards instead (but make sure they are accepted at your destination before departing on your trip).
  • Change traveler’s checks only as you need them.
  • Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill.

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Enjoy your trip!!

Feel free to leave your experiences on the “Comment” section below this post and follow my blogs for more updates and information.

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