If it is your first trip abroad, you need to be prepared for any eventuality – Tips for Traveling Internationally.
Although it is impossible to be ready for everything, you should make sure that you are prepared for the essentials.
Tips for Traveling Internationally
Here are the essential areas to focus on before going on your first trip abroad:
Check Your Health Insurance
You need to consider your health by checking with your insurance carrier as well as your doctor.
Make sure that you have the right vaccinations before leaving and renew your prescriptions.
Moreover, you should ask your medical insurance provider whether your policy would apply in overseas countries.
If your insurance does not apply in other countries, you should consider adding extra coverage by paying for supplemental insurance.
Carry Copies of Your Passport
You need to carry your passport as well as several copies of the document.
That way, if your passport is stolen, you will still be able to go back home and prove your citizenship.
You do not want to be stuck in a foreign country without a passport because leaving will be a nightmare.
If you think that carrying around several copies of the same document is impractical, you should keep an electronic copy of your passport in your email.
That way, if your passport gets lost you can easily print out a copy.
Applying for a Visa Waiver
Convert Your Money
Before you visit a particular country, you should look into its monetary conversion.
Finding out that a foreign currency equals only a few cents in your currency is not a good surprise.
The best way to prepare for conversion issues is by doing the math beforehand to figure out how much you will end up with in the local currency.
Ensure That Your Credit Card Will Work
Which country are you visiting? Make sure that your credit card can be used in that country.
Most European countries are now using the chip-and-PIN technology, which is a lot safer.
Moreover, fewer businesses are accepting the outdated cards that use magnetic strips.
Have Local Cash
Because you can never be too sure which places accept credit cards, you should always carry some local bills.
Cash is especially important when using trains and buses; otherwise, you might have to walk.
A guidebook usually includes keywords, maps, phrases, and plenty of detail on certain locations.
A guidebook will save you some money, as you will not need to purchase a pamphlet at certain locations or download any apps before you travel.
You can download apps while at home to avoid incurring extra charges from your wireless carrier.
Instead of visiting a country without any plans, you should research the events that will be taking place while you are there.
This way, you can avoid missing the best events: natural events and festivals.
You should also consider researching local dishes before you try anything; you do not want to eat something that you are allergic to while there.
Bring a Charger Adapter
Different countries have varying sizes of plugs and different voltages.
For this reason, you should consider bringing a charger adapter to avoid issues.
You do not want to have your phone turned off while in a foreign country.
Although eating abroad is fun, experimenting with different foods can be difficult.
Until you find the perfect restaurant with food that is delicious, you should eat something that you actually like.
Bringing snacks with you is the perfect solution.
Are you looking to have fun in abroad?
You should schedule a hop on hop off tour bus to learn the ins and outs of a city while not having to worry about getting lost or exhausted from walking all day.
Travel Issues and How to Avoid Them
Traveling should be fun and enjoyable but too often, situations arise and put a damper on your trip.
Top travel issues that you can avoid altogether with careful planning and advanced preparation.
Planning carefully and preparing in advance are the key factors in traveling without the stress or the hassle.
There may be some things you have no control of but that doesn’t mean they are not going to happen.
In fact, most of the things that do happen when people travel can be actually be prevented.
Some, however, you just have to make the best effort to avoid.
Hopefully you will never have to experience any of these travel issues like these while traveling, but it’s best to be prepared in advance should this happen.
Something as simple as jet lag or stomach issues can put a real damper on your vacation.
If you’re not prepared for travel issues before leaving, your trip may not be as enjoyable as you would like.
Flight Delays and Cancellations
Flight delays and cancellations are hardly preventable since these occur primarily because of the aircraft’s mechanical issues or weather conditions.
You can, however, minimize a delay or cancellation by choosing direct flights instead of those with stopovers to get to a destination.
You won’t miss a connecting flight if the layover between your flights is longer even if there are delays.
Check in with your airline if you are bumped off your flight as a result of overbooking.
Airlines typically compensate with their passengers when such incidents happen by giving them lodging and/or food compensation.
If, however, the flight was cancelled as a result of a mechanical or weather issue, you don’t receive any compensation.
Keep updated with your flight schedules to avoid this.
While the jet lag experienced by frequent international travelers is truly dreadful, you can do some things which would lessen your jet lag’s extent.
Jet lag is a common Travel Issues problem for international travelers, even more if they’re flying across the pond!
There are things you can do to avoid or help those who have problems with jet lag.
When booking your flight, make sure you give yourself enough time to sleep it off.
Try moving around more during your flight and set your watch to the time where you are landing.
The week before you leave, if you are traveling east, move your bedtime up a half hour each night, if traveling west, move your bedtime back a half hour each night.
This allows plenty of time for you to adjust to different time zones.
When you book your flight, for instance, ensure that you have time for sufficient sleep by moving around during the flight.
Set your watch to the time zone of the place where you will land.
Give your body a time to adjust before leaving for your destination.
Move bedtime up by 30 minutes every night if you are heading east and move it back by the same number of minutes if you are traveling west.
Do this a week before your actual departure to give yourself sufficient time in adjusting to different time zones.
Scams and Crimes
Travelers can avoid both scams and crimes by being alert and vigilant in foreign environments.
Remember that where travelers congregate, scammers will soon follow.
Be especially wary of those pretending to be police offers and accosting you for bogus violations.
Scammers presume most travelers are not aware of how police uniforms of other countries look like.
If scammers coerce you to part with your money, criminal force you to give up your cash.
Pick pockets and muggers are common encounters which you can avoid by not looking like you are ripe for being victimized.
Never look like you are lost.
That is easy to do when you have a camera dangling from your neck and looking up from a foreign language dictionary or trying to figure out a big map.
Unless you know people in the country you are traveling to – like former classmates, relatives, friends, etc. — go to your consulate or embassy and ask for advice on what areas to avoid.
If you are fortunate to know locals you can trust, ask their advice on safe attractions, restaurants, and other sites which you may want to visit.
You can also ask to accompany you.
Lost or Stolen Wallet – Passport
The worst travel issue is loss or theft of items such as wallets and passports.
This is probably the worst Travel Issues of all things that can happen when traveling!
Make copies of important documents before leaving.
Copy both sides so you’ll have access to account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers.
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, put your passport away in a safe place and make sure you always carry a copy with you.
Email copies to yourself too, you can always hop online and get a copy if need be.
To avoid having a shortage of cash, leave cash with a trusted friend or relative.
Common sense is key here, never carry your wallet in your back pocket or flash your cash in public.
To be extra save, leave money with friends, they can wire it to you in case something does happen.
Purses are also easily snatched in some countries, always wear a bag that straps to your body and keep all your valuables in an inside pocket.
For seniors, the loss or breakage of contact lenses or eyeglasses and/or hearing aids is, undoubtedly, frustrating since their visual and auditory functions will definitely hamper their enjoyment of the trip.
What you can do is make several copies of all the important documents that you will need while traveling prior to your departure.
Copy account numbers, telephone numbers, expiration dates, etc. on index cards and tuck them away in an envelope where your passport (and your pet passports) should also be once you have arrived at your hotel or lodging.
This envelope should be placed in a secure place where it can be readily retrieved when needed.
Always carry copies of important documents with you when you go out of your hotel or lodging.
Emailing those copies to your own email address guarantees that you can retrieve them online should there be a need for them and all other options have been ineffective.
Avoid cash shortage and leave some with the concierge and/or security of the hotel’s vault.
Don’t keep all of your money in just one place.
Leave half in your bag and half with you.
Wear clothing with several pockets if possible and distribute your money in them.
If, by misfortune, you encounter a slick pickpocket or a fast snatcher, you won’t lose all your money since it is in several places.
Write down the serial numbers of your traveler’s checks, their dates of issuance, and the issuing agency’s location for faster facilitation of their replacements.
Always bring a spare pair of eyeglasses and/or contact lenses when traveling.
Most people hardly ever give consideration for eyeglasses and/or contact lenses when going on a trip, yet either lost or damaged can bring your sightseeing to a grinding halt and ruin your travel.
Keep a copy of your prescription with you at all times.
Additionally, keep another copy online.
Have the phone number of your eye doctor in case you will need a recent prescription to buy a new pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses.
There are great deals on eyeglasses in some countries that have lower costs of living such as Thailand where you can get frames for your eyeglasses at cheaper prices.
Or you can get prescription sunglasses to use as backup.
Have a lens cloth and tiny screwdriver in a case to do basic repairs – tightening screws, for instance – on your eyeglasses if they tend to get loose; when this happens, it is likely that your eyeglasses can just become unscrewed and get broken or damaged.
For users of contact lenses, bring a spare pair in an unopened case.
Getting sick while on a trip is not unheard of. If your trip is overseas, ensure that you have been vaccinated.
Aside from a first aid kit, keep common medications in one container that can be easily accessed.
These medications include those for motion sickness, diarrhea, indigestion, cold and flu, fever, cough, stomach upset, etc.
If you use syringes or needles for insulin injections, keep your medical certificate with — from your doctor — indicating these are for your medical use.
This is my worst Travel Issues: Motion sickness can ruin a wonderful vacation so take Dramamine or another over the counter medication to help settle your stomach before you hop on a plane. How to ease Travel Sickness
When you’re on the plane, make sure you sit directly over the wing and turn on the A/C over your seat.
If a road trip is a part of your adventure, avoid sitting in the back seat of the vehicle if you are a passenger.
Eat light meals, avoid caffeine and always stay cool.
Stomach flu, also known as viral gastroenteritis, is contagious.
When you travel it’s so easy to catch a stomach virus, from tap water to touching money or even funky foods.
Always carry hand sanitizer and/or wash your hands regularly.
As soon as you feel it coming, go see a doctor, when you travel, sometimes over the counter medications can just make it worse.
Don’t skip meals, no matter how sick you feel, eat dry toast or crackers.
Stay hydrated, return electrolytes to your body by drinking fluids containing electrolytes.
Check the weather before traveling!
If it is hot and sunny, be sure to pack (and wear) protective clothing such as a sun hat or scarf.
Don’t underestimate your resistance to the sun, in some foreign countries you’ll be surprised how fast you can burn with just standing out in the sun for a few minutes.
Always wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and apply sun lotion repeatedly if in the sun for a prolonged period of time.
Pack a good aloe Vera lotion just in case you do get sunburn.
Why Get Travel Insurance?
The reason for having travel insurance with medical coverage cannot be emphasized enough.
These top five issues may all be covered with a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
Having such cover will give you peace of mind and security in cases of theft, loss, and flight delays and cancellations as well as immediate medical treatment in case of serious illness, injury or accident.
Some people may tell you that having travel insurance is not necessary.
On the contrary, travel insurance ensures security for so many things involved in the course of your travel including, but not limited to, repatriation in case war breaks out in the country you are in, theft or loss of your personal items, and medical attention for an injury or accident, among other circumstances.
The bottom line… preparation is key!
Research your destination country first and plan ahead!
Traveling Abroad Organization Hacks – Important Things People Forget
Our traveling abroad organization hacks. The whole point of a holiday is relaxing, am I wrong?
How many times have you rushed out the door, worried about missing your flight, and ended up forgetting something vital?
Here’s a holiday checklist to make sure everything goes to plan, and you can enjoy your vacation in peace!
Traveling Abroad Organization Hacks – 1 month before
Entry visas For Traveling Abroad
Many countries require you to have a valid entry visa before crossing their borders.
Check with your tour operator, or on the country’s embassy website to make sure you don’t get turned away on arrival.
Make a will Before Traveling Abroad
Ensure your loved ones will be taken care of should the worst happen while you’re traveling abroad by arranging your affairs before you depart.
Great advice on why, and how, you should make a will can be found on the Saga Legal website and also on the the gov.uk website.
Check it’s valid until at least the day you return home, bearing in mind some countries may require at least six months beyond that.
If you need to renew it the process can take several weeks, so don’t leave it until the last minute.
Traveling Abroad Hacks – 2 weeks before travel
Accommodation and in-resort travel hacks
It’s always worth firing off a quick email to your hotel to check your reservation details and avoid any nasty surprises.
If you need to hire a car while you’re away, giving yourself a few weeks to research the best deal is also a good idea.
Insurance for Traveling Abroad Organization
Spend a bit of time looking for the right type of insurance for your needs.
If you’re skiing, or taking part in any other kind of adventurous activity, you need to be certain you’re well covered.
Prices can vary dramatically so get quotes from a few companies besides your usual provider.
Traveling Abroad Hack – 1 week before travel
Currency for Traveling Abroad Hack
It’s best to arrange a combination of traveller’s cheques and cash, as well as a credit card for emergencies, on holiday.
If you leave it until you’re at the airport you’re unlikely to get a good deal.
Traveling Abroad Organize Prescription medicine
If you need a certain type of medication that may not be on sale at your destination, be sure and stock up beforehand.
Make your home secure Before Traveling Abroad
Sadly it’s common for people to have their holiday ruined when they come home to find they’ve been burgled.
Check all your door and window locks, and that your burglar alarm is functioning properly.
If you live in an area prone to flooding and are travelling during the winter months, ensure items of financial and sentimental value aren’t on the ground floor.
Tell the bank
You could find your card is blocked if you try and pay for something or withdraw money from a machine outside Europe, as your bank may think it’s been stolen.
Save time and hassle by popping into your branch to advise them of your travel plans.
Day of Departure Traveling Abroad Organization
Turn off the oven
Possibly the most common worry among holiday-makers is forgetting to turn off something like the oven, the iron, or the taps.
Double-check, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Leave food out for pets
Especially if you own a cat and an automatic fish feeder.
Simple Fun Table Manners around that world that will save you from some embarrassing moments:
We’ve all joked at some time about funky table manners around the world, with so many wonderful and diverse countries and cultures around the world, there’s certainly some traditions that are both fun and intriguing.
Some cultural traditions may seem strange to you but to others it’s a way of life. What is strange anyway?
Learning and embracing curious details about other cultures is one of the things that makes travel so fun and interesting.
As we all know, the Russians love their vodka, so, if you’re offered a shot, don’t turn it down, even if you don’t like it.
It means that you trust your host!
Don’t mix it with anything, not even a piece of ice.
Did you know that you are a snob if you eat your tacos and burritos with a fork?
Use your hands and you’ll fit right in.
Turkey, India and some Middle Eastern countries
In certain situations in a some Middle Eastern countries burping after you finish your meal can sometimes show that it was delicious and everyone should know it.
If you’re with the right crowd and you know it’s good to do so, burp all you want when eating out.
Now be careful, in some of these countries it’s also deemed inappropriate so make sure you when it’s ok and when not!
Another of the mid east’s strange ways- shaking your coffee cup means that you want no more.
If you don’t shake your cup, your host will continue to give you a refill, over and over again.
Japan, China and Thailand
Wild but real – don’t stand your chopsticks up straight in your rice.
People from these countries are horrified when we stand them straight up.
Because at a funeral, a bowl of rice is placed in front of the coffin…with chopsticks standing straight up!
It’s a good thing to slurp when you’re eating in Japan.
It shows that you’ve enjoyed your meal and appreciate it very much.
Different areas in Africa and Southern India
Did you know it is dirty to eat with your left hand?
We won’t tell you why, but trust us, it is.
Only eat with your right hand.
Always keep your hands off of your lap while eating.
Keep them visible, on the table.
Hands on the table, yes, but elbows on the table, no.
In the U.S. you can lay your hands in your lap and maybe one elbow on the table, but not in Germany table manners.
Understanding the table manners of other cultures will save you from some embarrassing moments in restaurants or with your host family, do your research before leaving home.
As odd as some of them may seem, they are important to those who live there.
So go ahead, burp and slurp all you want, but in the appropriate country, of course.
Always Eat With Your Mouth Closed
When I arrived in Moscow, Russia early last year, and my stomach started to grumble, I realised that my knowledge of Russian cuisine was limited to say the least.
Being a vegetarian, I have always assumed that the Russian menu is akin to the German – hearty, wholesome and meaty.
To some extent, I wasn’t wrong, my partner had a lovely time devouring various “мясо” delights.
Yet what vegetarians (or maybe just me), fail to understand is that the food is there, you just have to find it.
For easy vegetarian food, and a feast for the eyes, I would highly recommend the outdoor markets.
The food comes from far and wide and is very affordable, especially if you manage a few cheeky haggling words in Russian.
Although it’s no fancy restaurant, there are hot options, including some delicious soups and some scarily sword-like skewers for the carnivores.
If you fancy more of a dining experience then there are countless restaurants to choose from.
One I would mention in particular is the ‘Vogue Cafe’.
This is about as far away from your English ‘cafe’ as you can imagine, and can only be described as an ‘experience’.
When the two scantily clad women met us at the door (and I saw my partner’s eyes light up) I began to wonder what we had let ourselves in for.
When we were seated I looked around and quickly realised that this was a place to ‘see and be seen’, with about 80% of the customers being well over the beauty Richter scale.
However, it was as beautiful on the inside as it was on the out!
Living up to my true vegetarian stereotype I had a Greek Salad and a risotto and they were both unbelievably delicious, despite the constant feeling that I was being watched by the Vogue clan.
For a more relaxed bohemian vibe, where you can chew as loudly as you like, I would suggest H.L.A.M.
It stands for Actors, writers, artists, musicians, and there is a truly creative buzz to the place.
The décor is incredible – the ceiling is drenched in gold and the walls are covered in silk.
Although there is no gourmet menu, the food is traditional, comfortably simplistic, and affordable!
They also bring a unique touch to their menu with a ‘Green list’, which has 50 different types of vegetables, fruits and herbs that can be prepared as you like.
I had a lot of fun, as you can imagine!
Moscow’s culinary treasures are truly unique; each dining experience an adventure, or a colorful story to recount to friends and family.
Although it can be expensive, or somewhat intimidating, it definitely beats the overcooked sight of Pret a Manger, so go tickle your taste buds, your eyes and your ears in Moscow!
Keeping your Home Safe While You’re Abroad
If you’re leaving your home empty while you travel, you’re running the risk of something happening to it.
Whether it’s a burglary or a burst pipe, the best way to ruin an amazing journey is to come home to devastation in your home.
However there are ways that you can reduce the risk of calamity striking while you’re away and keeping your home safe while you’re abroad.
Ask a Person You Trust to Help
The best way you can reduce of burglary is to get someone to check up on your house regularly and to keep it in good shape.
If you can find someone you trust, perhaps your mum or a good friend, to come by your house every day, or every couple of days to bring the mail in, water any plants, and generally look after it.
Better still, get them to move in!
A burglar will watch your house for a few days before they decide to break in, so making sure that your home doesn’t look empty is crucial.
Make sure you leave contact details in the case of an emergency, as well as details on where the fuse box is or how to shut off the mains water pipe too.
Careless Talk Costs Lives
It’s unlikely that you telling your friend that you’re off on holiday for a while will result in anyone getting hurt, but being careless with who you tell could cost you precious belongings.
You might not think twice about sharing the fact that you’re leaving the country on social media, but in reality, you don’t know half the people on your Facebook as well as you should.
They could be tempted into breaking into your home, because they know you’re not there.
Tell the Right People
If you’re leaving for a long time, it may pay to tell the right people.
If you have a neighborhood watch operating in your area, tell them, and they’ll keep a closer eye on your property.
However, make sure that you also tell them about the person who is checking up on your home!
There are security alarms available that will contact the police if the alarm is left for a certain period of time.
This is perfect for when you’re away, as a security alarm will also act as a deterrent to any burglars scoping out your home.
Removing valuables from your home will make it less likely that anyone will break in.
It is often advised to remove any valuables from plain site from the windows, so thieves won’t look in, see valuable items and break in and take it.
If you have a lot of valuables, or no where to put them out of site, then storing them may be your best option.
Turn it Off
Unplug everything, from your television to your toaster.
This will save energy, money, and will reduce the risk of your appliances burning out or being damaged in power surges.
So whether you’re just going away for a short while or for a whole year, make sure that your home is safe and looked after.
How To Cross Land Borders Smoothly
Crossing a border over land can be tricky as hell or really smooth, and sometimes which one it turns out to be is not entirely up to you or even the officials – but the bus drivers.
- best way to reach the border
The bus drivers conveniently make you stop for an hour or two in the heat to make you buy food and drinks from the stalls that belong to their company, or there has been miscommunications on the bus company and you have to wait for passengers.
However, there are things that you have control over and will help you cross the border faster and more smoothly.
Find out the best way to reach the border.
In some countries border towns can be rather dodgy, and some of the organized bus companies are scams – research well before deciding how you will reach the border.
Find out if the border is in the middle of nowhere and if you have to arrange a transport to another city across the border, or if you can just get a bus/taxi/tuk tuk to the border and then another type of transport on the other side.
Shop around for prices and compare the information.
The info that the travel agency and hotels tell you can be surprisingly different, so to get the most accurate results ask the same questions to a few different people and compare the answers.
- Get a visa in advance
Get a visa in advance.
Sometimes this can be very good to have.
Getting Visas on arrival can turn out to be more costly and take more time.
At some borders it’s easy and quick, at others it’s a nightmare.
Research your border crossing to see what other people’s experiences are, and then research what the embassy is like.
In Vientiane for example, getting a Thai visa is a long and painful process, while the Cambodian Visa is quick and easy and you get it already the same day.
Also, to make things go faster at the border, write the details on your departure card the night before or before leaving, so you have it ready to hand over.
Have all your things handy in one and the same place.
- How To Cross Land Borders Smoothly
Money, papers, photos, passport and pen – keep it all close together, and when handing over the money, passport and photo, do it all together at the same time.
Bring correct cash.
Figure out beforehand exactly what your visa will cost, if there are any additional costs and how much they are.
Then bring the exact change for every stop.
Sometimes they charge a dollar per stamp in different booths, bring a dollar for each, not combined.
Stick to your group.
If you go with a bus, try to stick together with those people so you know where everyone is and so you don’t get on the wrong bus.
Make sure you get a stamp leaving before going to the other side.
If you don’t go to the departure gate and get your passport stamped, things can get problematic if you ever return to the country – click here to read what happened to our friend Adventurous Kate during a recent land border crossing.
To make sure you go through every procedure, go through it in your head and take things slow – don’t get carried away with other people’s stress.
Pet Passports Now Needed for 14% of Pet Owners Who Want to Bring Their Pets on Vacation
A UK based online travel agency has completed a piece of research that shows 14% of pet owners want to take their pet(s) on vacation with them this year now need Pet Passports.
They mainly want to do this because they don’t trust others to properly look after their pets.
Many people in the UK want to take a vacation in 2016 and bring their pets with them.
This was found in a survey by an online travel agency.
The survey also looked at the reasons why people want to take their pets.
One of the top three answers was ‘I’d miss them too much’.
The research was completed, who are looking into the holiday experiences and preferences of British people.
For this study, they looked at 2,155 people in this country, all over the age of 18.
They came from a cross section of geographical location.
All of them owned or had owned a pet in the past three years, and all had been on an abroad holiday in the past year.
One question was ‘Have you ever taken a pet abroad on holiday with you?’
To this, 3% were affirmative.
They were then asked whether they had any plans to attempt to take their pets on their next holiday abroad in 2016, and 14% answered affirmatively.
Those who said yes were then asked to delve deeper and explain why they were doing this.
They could choose from a range of different options and pick multiple answers.
From this, the top 5 reasons turned out to be as follows:
51% of people do not trust others to properly look after their pet(s).
33% of respondents said they would miss their pet(s) too much when on holiday.
17% of people said that a family holiday could not be classed as such without pets.
13% of respondents explained that it was impossible for them to find someone to look after the pet(s).
7% of people were worried that the pet(s) would miss them too much.
Those who had answered that they would indeed take their pet(s) with them were then asked about the types of pet(s).
76% of people answered they had a dog, while 16% said they had a cat.
They were then asked where they would choose to go on vacation if they were to bring their pet, and 98% said ‘within Europe’.
56% of those people who were planning to take a 2016 holiday with their pet(s) said that they would need to take the ferry or car.
When asked about accommodation of choice, 42% said they would opt for ‘a villa’.
Finally, people were asked whether they had studied the requirements to bring pets abroad.
53% of them said they hadn’t looked into these requirements at all.
47% of people indicated that they had taken their pet(s) on vacation before, albeit within the United Kingdom.
Sunshine.co.uk’s managing director and responsible person for this research, Chris Clarkson says:
“Over the years, it has certainly become easier for people to take their pets abroad with them.
However, if you are only going away for a week or two, the travelling could be more distressing for your pet than leaving them back home, even if you do think they’ll miss your company.
Leaving your pet in the safe hands of a friend or family member will enable you to go away and enjoy your holiday without having to think about your pet.
If you do end up missing them too much, there’s always video chat!”