Tips For Foreign Travel
Tips for foreign travel: What are some things you need to know about a few foreign cultures that can help you better fit in?
So, you've always wanted to travel abroad, and now that you have the chance, you're starting to have reservations about it. Here are some points to consider:
a. "If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium." Consider a tour group. This method of traveling has its pros and cons. On the plus side, there is safety in numbers and you wouldn't have to worry about getting around. On the minus side, your group will obviously stand out as being "tourists," you won't have as much flexibility in what you do, tour groups are generally moved to numerous locations to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible, and you might not be able to enjoy a city to its fullest. However, if being "looked after" and "taken care of" would make you feel more secure, then a tour group is the way for you to travel.
b. Always wear a money belt or some other device to keep your extra cash, passports, credit cards, etc, stashed. There's nothing worse than being thousands of miles from home and having one of these items lost or stolen.
c. To avoid looking like a tourist, and as such a potential target, dress like a local. Overseas, locals tend to dress more conservatively.
d. They may speak a different language in the country you have chosen to visit (another benefit of a tour group). Although English is becoming a universal language and you will likely encounter people who speak it, it will be to your benefit to memorize a few key words in their language, especially "hello," "excuse me," "please, "thank you," and "goodbye." Even some English-speaking countries call things by different names. For example, in England, a restroom is the "loo." Your efforts will be rewarded by the locals who appreciate your attempts.
e. Learn about the countries you'll be visiting before you go. Get information, not only about sightseeing, attractions, and restaurants, but local customs, safe areas of town, street maps of the cities.
f. Credit cards have become forms of financial exchange. Use one whenever possible. You won't have to worry about currency conversion, you won't get "cheated" when getting change back, and you won't have to carry as much cash. Keep your card numbers and the card issuer's telephone number in a safe and separate place in the event your card is lost or stolen. Some companies can get you a replacement quickly.
g. Last, but not least, check with the United States Department of State for travel warnings and other information about your destination before you make your reservations.
This is your big chance. Go for it. Bon voyage.