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Tips for First Time Travel Abroad

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With so many things to take into consideration when you travel internationally for the first time, you’ll find yourself willing to travel more confidently and will eventually become experienced enough to travel from one country to another.

Passports and Visa’s

The process to apply for a passport can take a lot of time and several weeks to be delivered, so don’t wait to apply for one at the last minute before your departure date. Before you start booking any flights or places to stay, make sure your passport has been obtained. When booking international flights and hotels, your passport number might be required.

Once you have your passport, scan the identification page and keep copies of it. Allow a family member or a trusted friend to keep one page and then keep another copy with you in your wallet as you travel in addition to your actual passport. Depending on how long you’re staying and what country you’re visiting, a visa may be required. A visa is a document issued by a country that gives you permission to travel there.

Do Your Research

When you plan your first overseas trip, you should do plenty of research. Find out what that country is like, is it safe to travel in the present day? Find message boards or Facebook groups to view posts from others who have already traveled there. You may also want to consider using a travel agent for your first international experience.

Find out what are considered the local norms and traditions to get a feel for the culture, and maybe learn some basics of the language(s) spoken there. It always helps to know how to say “hello”, “bye” and “thank you”. There are now apps that can help you simply translate languages, such as the Google Translate App.

Financial Information

Find out if you should exchange currency ahead of traveling or if U.S. dollars are accepted as forms of payment. Check with your bank and credit card issuers to see if you need to inform them of your travel and set up travel alerts. Your bank should be notified that you are leaving the country and you should specifically ask about access to your funds while in another country. Also ask your bank about any international fees you might incur and if there are any partner banks in your destination that you can withdraw money from.

How to Stay Safe

It’s important you always stay aware and vigilant of your safety when traveling to a new country. Having street-smart knowledge is a key to staying safe. Keep your purses, backpacks, luggage, and wallets secure as you’re walking around. Avoid wearing anything too over-the-top, flashy, or lavish. Keep your money put away when walking and never count it or flash it in public. If possible, try to leave your credit cards behind in the hotel safe along with other valuables. If you don’t need an item – don’t carry it with you when exploring.

Wandering around a place you aren’t too familiar with, along with language barriers, can make things feel more uncomfortable and place you at greater risk for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Make sure you also have your itineraries handy for your flights, information for the hotels you’re staying in, and tour guides booked ahead of time to avoid street scams. If possible, share this information with a reliable family member or friend so that someone knows where you’re supposed to be at all times – just in case.

Overpacking & Technology Concerns

Packing light while traveling abroad will help you travel more easily. You can take your luggage up a flight of stairs more easily, and the process of getting on and off public transport will be WAY less cumbersome with less baggage. As you’re packing, determine the number of days you’ll be staying, and adjust accordingly.

Make sure to check out the weather forecast of the country you’re heading to. Another reason to pack light on clothing is to leave some space for important items such as your medication, laptops or tablets, and some space to bring home some souvenirs. Bring a portable battery for your phone. It can be a life saver. Don’t count on WiFi to be available everywhere. It is hard to access in many countries. There are options to get WiFi from portable WiFi routers and hot spots too. Check with your cell phone carrier about using your data while roaming abroad, and how much it will cost. Your phone company may even recommend that you purchase a SIM card when you arrive in your new country, if your phone allows one. You may need to subscribe or purchase an international plan. Power adapters are essential to buy before traveling abroad as well. Your hotel will likely have different types of power outlets than we use in America. Bringing a power adapter with you will save you the hassle of finding one abroad.

Buy Travel Insurance

A common fear that comes across most first-time travelers abroad is, “What if I get hurt or sick?”. Anything can happen as you travel so it’s essential to know how you’ll cover medical expenses. It can be very expensive to receive medical help overseas, and you may be required to pay up front. Travel insurance has emergency medical benefits can cover those expenses, and even emergency medical transportation costs. If your injury or illness is beyond help in your destination, your travel insurance will cover the cost of getting you home. Travel insurance can reimburse you for additional accommodations that are required during your trip if you run into a long delay. Most Americans call the U.S. Embassy for help when emergencies come up, but there is only so much that they can do.

Dealing with Jet Lag

Get plenty of rest before your trip. Try not to take a nap on your first day abroad, even though it may seem tempting. Drinking a lot of water during your flights helps with the effects of jet lag. Your first day should be a relaxing one. Scheduling too many activities or tours can cause burnout or energy crashes.

We hope that you found these tips to be helpful. While it is nerve-racking traveling so far away from home the first time, researching beforehand will put your mind at ease knowing proper tips before you leave home. Remember that Ekco Worldwide provides transportation in virtually every city in the world. Wherever you are headed, we’ll be there waiting to provide transportation for you.  Call us at 877-FLY-ECKO. Safe Travels!