International Travel 101

by Jesse Miles / Nov 14, 2011 / 0 comments

International travel is what many people dream of doing in their lives. Some are given the opportunity early on, while others only get to it in the twilight of their lives, when retirement funds allow. Regardless of the time frame, international travel will allow you to see the wonders of the world one nation at a time, letting you experience the best every country has to offer. The exploration may even help you broaden your cultural horizons.


People travel internationally for a variety of reasons. Some may visit other countries for business matters, while others desire to see a country for leisurely purposes. While both reasons are perfectly valid, the preparations made for either kind of trip can vary. Much of the bureaucracy and paperwork that goes into validating your trip overseas can take varying amounts of time depending on your intention for international travel.


Preparing for Your Trip Overseas: Red Tape

International TravelBefore you can even buy a plane ticket abroad, necessary preparations need to be made for a variety of documents. Depending on your reason for traveling to a country, you may need to have a number of documents prepared before a trip, including:

  • Your passport
  • Visa that may be needed if you plan to study or work abroad
  • Proof of citizenship, should you be returning to the country you were born

Getting these documents set up may simply entail a trip to your Secretary of State or one of their satellite outposts. This office can either belong to the country you plan to enter, or the embassy of the country you currently reside in. Head to the Secretary of State or an embassy to apply or renew any of the aforementioned documents in order to be eligible for international travel.


Documents may not be the only thing that can bar you from traveling internationally, even if they go smoothly: nations can issue travel warnings and outright bans, depending on the state of the nation. Countries that have ongoing wars or political conflicts may exercise travel bans going to and from their countries, in addition to the following reasons:

  • Ongoing wars within a country or conflicts between nations
  • Large-scale natural disasters
  • Threat of nuclear fallout or exposure to radiation
  • Political upheaval and uprisings
  • Crime rates
  • Other factors that can cause significant danger to a foreign citizen

These reasons can even be issued by embassies to their respective citizens in order to protect them. The ability of nations to protect their citizens while on foreign soil can be especially limited in situations like these, so when a travel warning has been issued, try to read through it on their website or newsletters.


If you are ready to begin traveling internationally, then get all your documents and papers in order. Taking the time to read through any travel alerts your nation's embassy may issue can also help ensure your safety as you travel from nation to nation, whether for leisure or for business.



Travel Tips

With all of your documents in order, preparing for your trip can often entail more than just packing your bags and booking a plane ticket. Things can happen on the road, especially in a foreign country with an unfamiliar geography. Buying a map to help guide you is not the end of your overseas worries, so keep a few things in mind when deciding to explore a foreign country.

Before you leave:

  • Plan out a schedule and itinerary to help manage your organization and security abroad. Plan out what you are going to do, where you will be staying, and other aspects of a long trip abroad thoroughly.
  • Organize your credit so your finances will be in order when you travel abroad. Set credit limits on your credit cards and take good note of them; you can be arrested for exceeding credit limits in some countries. Notify your bank of your travel itinerary.
  • Get your insurance plans and policies in order. You can make a call to your insurance provider to determine whether or not any of your current insurance plans will cover you during international travel. More details, such as whether or not theft or loss will be covered when you are abroad, should also be asked.
  • Don't forget your medication. If you take prescription drugs for a certain ailment, then forgetting them may cause you serious inconveniences while you are in a completely different region of the world. Take your prescription as well as your prescription medications.
  • Learn little bits of the culture and customs of the country you plan to visit. It can help you communicate more easily with the locals, even if you don't know the first thing about their language.


While you are in a foreign country:

  • International TravelTake special care for your safety. Exercise the same caution you would as if you were at home.
  • Avoid civil disturbances, protests, and riots, unless your intention for traveling is to be a part of these events in the first place.
  • Take note of emergency numbers. The phone numbers of the police, hospital and even the embassy of your home country may prove invaluable if an accident occurs.
  • Know the fire procedures of the place you are staying in while traveling internationally, whether it be a hotel, backpacker's inn, a hostel, a friend's home, etc.
  • Be cautious about public transportation. Avoid unmarked cabs. If you are taking the bus or train, be aware of your belongings at all times to avoid any loss or theft during your international travel.