If you are planning your first trip abroad, you probably have countless concerns running through your mind. You are wondering what all you have to do to be ready for your trip and how you are supposed to go about doing it. To ensure your trip is all you want it to be, here are several essential tips to help you prepare for your upcoming journey:
Get Necessary Documents Ready
First off, you can’t go anywhere without a passport. If you don’t already have one, you need enough time to apply for one and wait to receive it. Normal processing times take anywhere from 4-6 weeks or 2-3 weeks for expedited processing (which costs an additional fee). If you need it faster than that, you can, but you run the risk of cutting things awfully close. If you currently do have a passport, make sure you check it’s expiration date—it’s good for 10 years from the date it was issued.
Along with your passport, you’ll have to also carry your state issued driver’s license or ID. When you arrive at your destination, make sure you carry your ID and your passport separately—this will help prevent you from losing both forms of ID if you were to misplace anything in a bag or purse.
Plan to Dress Accordingly
It’s not uncommon for tourists to be targeted by local pickpockets and thieves. So while you’ve left the comforts of your home security system back at home, you can still safely travel safely abroad. One way to make yourself into a least likely target is by following the local dress—so do your cultural homework before you embark on your trip. In the very least, try not to wear anything that screams that you are a tourist while you are out and about.
Arrange to Use Cash over Credit
While your credit and debit cards do work internationally, there are surcharges that you’ll get charged when you use them overseas. This is why using cash is a better option—it let’s you bypass the charges altogether. You can get your money exchanged at a currency exchange location (often found at airports, banks, etc.). Depending on the currency exchange rate, you might even come out ahead (depending on your destination).
Get Ready to Do Plenty of Walking
Regardless of where you go, be prepared to do a lot of walking as you do all of your sightseeing. With that, it goes to say, make sure you bring comfortable shoes to wear. You don’t want to find yourself in shoes that give you blisters or any type of discomfort as you are walking 1+ miles per day.
In addition to wearing comfortable shoes, keep in mind that you’ll be going down busy streets, restaurants, shops, etc. where it’s sometimes hard to keep track of everything on your person. This is why it’s important to carry bags that are difficult to pickpocket—certainly don’t wear a purse or anything that you throw over the shoulder and can’t keep an eye on.