Prepping for a trip
SO, you want to travel abroad? Plan ahead. Most destinations require only a few weeks of preparation, but depending on visa and immunization requirements, you may need a few months of planning time for some trips. Research your international travel destination and know what to expect before you leave.
1. Get a passport. To get a passport, you need a minimum of 2 passport-size photos, a birth certificate and 1 other form of identification (preferably that proves your citizenship in your country of origin). If you have a passport, be sure it has at least 6 months left before it expires. Some countries will not issue a visa more with more than 6 months remaining before the expiration date.
2 Check the visa requirements for your destination. Countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program do not require citizens of reciprocating countries to pre-arrange a visa, but other countries may require a visa to be in your passport before you arrive.
3 Check for immunization recommendations. You may need to begin immunization injections many months in advance. Immunizations are usually optional but recommended for tourist travel in certain parts of the world. For some countries you need no immunizations at all.
4 Study up on the language. Memorize the word for "name" or the phrase for "What is your name," as it is one of the first things you will be asked upon every encounter. Learn some polite words like "please" and "thank-you." Mind your body language. Know which hand, head, foot or face gestures might be offensive or misinterpreted.
5 Find out the international exchange rate by searching for currency converters online. Some online converters only deal in hard currencies, so if you are going to a country with a soft currency, you will have to search that country with the words "currency" and "conversion" or "convert." For example you could search "convert Nepalese rupees" to find the rate of that soft currency. Do some calculations and become familiar with what the foreign currency equals in your home currency.
6 Find out electrical standards by doing an Internet search. You may need a plug adapter and a converter. Many online sites list the type of plug you need. Things that heat up, such as a hair dryer, may not work correctly on the volts and cycles of a foreign country, even with a converter. Computer batteries and handheld devices may also be affected by electrical conversion.
7 Research the local atmosphere, customs and manners. Find an English language newspaper online for the country you are traveling to, then start reading about current events a month or so in advance. Familiarize yourself with sensitive issues.
8 Learn the local dress and customs. If you are going to a country where most women dress modestly, you may offend someone by wearing a tank top. Men may get stares if they wear short pants, which may be acceptable only for children. In other regions, shorts and no top at all might be normal at a beach or sun bathing location.
9 Learn what is considered appropriate touch. Don't offend your host by hugging upon arrival if that is not acceptable. Likewise, be ready for a kiss upon first meeting where that is expected. In some countries it is offensive to touch someone's spouse or children, so keep that in mind. Learn the rules of dress, touch, table manners and speech before you go to a foreign country.
10 Have a communication plan with family and friends at home. Mobile phone charges can be expensive from foreign countries, and Internet services are not always available. Make a plan with your family for call times. Find out the communication options of your destination before you go.
11 Pack wisely. Research the weather, terrain and airline weight regulations before you travel. Overpacking for international travel is a mistake many people make. Lighter is better. Take things you like to wear and plan on wearing several times.
12 Have a good attitude. Keep your mind open when things seem shocking or taboo. Don't complain about what the locals lack or have too much of. Be an observer of the culture, but not a judge.
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