What do I need to know before traveling abroad? – make your trip less stressful

What do I need to know before traveling abroad?
By Donna J. Jodhan

It does not matter if you are traveling abroad for the first time or if you
are a seasoned traveler. It never hurts to have a check list in hand when
planning your next trip; cruise, train voyage, or air travel.

For the most part, the majority of travelers will almost always forget to
include something when making their traveling plans and alas! the forgotten
thing will frequently turn out to be the cause of anything ranging from mild
anxiety to a major headache.

For those who are traveling abroad for the first time it is even more
important for you to pay attention to what you should take into account
before you leave home and for the one who is either a somewhat regular or
seasoned traveler, it never hurts to have a refresher course before you set
out on your journey.

First and most important is that you need to do your research and don’t be
shy to seek the assistance of a reputable travel agent if you are afraid to
access the Internet. Remember now; Internet research is not for everyone
especially so if you are not comfortable with online technology.

When choosing a travel agent to help you, be sure to choose one who
specializes in the type of trip you are planning and one who is familiar
with that part of the world you are planning to travel to. Many travel
agents will tell you that yes! They know the area and they know all the
good sites to send you to but you need to confirm this by asking the right
questions.

So how do you really prepare? Here is a list of things to do and questions
to ask a travel agent and you can use this to get you started.

Before setting out however, follow these important tips.
1. Make sure that your passport is in order. That it has not expired, that
it will not expire while on your trip abroad, and that you have enough time
to renew it before you leave if needed.
2. Make sure that wherever you go that you can have easy access to your
country’s embassy in case of any emergency.
3. Make sure to notify your credit card company that you will be traveling
after you have completed your bookings.
4. Remember to get travel and cancellation insurance.

Now to the things that you will need to do.
1. Clearly identify your travel destination and include:
A. the best and most economic way to get there.
B. Best time of the year to visit your intended travel destination.
C. customs, culture, and habits of the country.
D. Most popular sites for you to visit.
E. Other sites based on your interests.
F. Safe areas to visit and unsafe areas not to visit.
G. Type of currency used by the country, an idea of exchange rates, and how
easy would it be for you to convert currency while on your trip.
H. The spoken language of the country and is your first language spoken
there.
I. Are there any health alerts for your destination.
J. Do you require any vaccinations before traveling there.
K. The type of voltage being used in the country.
L. Safe places for you to stay at.
M. Entry visa requirements.
N. Type of Internet accessibility and availability.
O. Types of long distance packages available to you for cell phone coverage.

If you are dealing with a travel agent, then here are some questions for you
to ask:
1. What is the best rate that you can obtain; during which season of the
year?
2. What is the best way to get there; direct versus indirect routes?
3. How long would it take to get there?
4. Which airlines travel there and how often do they do so?
5. How many pieces of luggage are you allowed and the dimensions and
weight?

Here are some resources to get you started.
How to choose a travel agent –
http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-a-Travel-Agent

Tips for traveling abroad –
http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/checklist.html

How to plan a trip abroad –
http://www.tripadvisor.ca/

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