Planning to travel abroad? Great! Visiting foreign countries is a fantastic way to learn about other people, cultures, and traditions. Before you board your plane, make sure to cross these four travel tips off your preparation checklist.
1. Choose a Focus
When you take an overseas trip, you have a short amount of time to pack as much as possible into your schedule. You cannot possibly do everything an area has to offer during one visit, so choose a focus and stick to it.
For example, Michael Canzian, a World War II history buff, followed the route of the U.S. Army’s 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment on his journey throughout Europe. This enabled him to delve deeply into a personal interest rather than merely skim the surface of a few scattered topics.
2. Update Your Documents
Before you travel abroad, you must have your important travel documents in order. The U.S. government recommends that you leave copies of your documents at home with a trusted friend. Bring another set of copies along with you in case the original versions get lost.
Most importantly, make sure that your passport and visas are current and valid. It can sometimes take months to renew or update these documents, so do so early. Additionally, if you plan to drive while overseas, apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP).
3. Stay Healthy
When it comes to travel, your health is always the priority. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to see if you need any specific vaccinations before you travel to a particular region. If you use medication, consult with the U.S. Embassy in your destination country to ensure that it is legal there. If possible, carry a few extra doses of your medication with you in case your return home is delayed.
4. Be Respectful
No matter where you go, always be respectful. Do your research before you travel to a foreign nation. Learn about the local customs and which social faux pas to avoid. This is especially important when visiting historical sites, like monuments, battlefield locations, and sites of tragedy.
Here are a few tips you should always follow. Avoid selfies at sacred sites, and always ask for permission before you take a photo with someone else in it. Do not disturb others by being loud, invasive, or insensitive. Never climb on rocks or monuments, and if you are in a wooded area, never venture off the marked trail.
You want to enjoy your time abroad – make sure to do so safely, responsibly, and respectfully. The world is yours to explore!