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Better Boarding: Top Tips for First-Time International Travellers

Travelling internationally is very different than travelling domestically. If you’re thinking of leaving the country, do you know how to prepare?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re spending your first international vacation in London, or joining your friends who spend their holidays in Los Cristianos. Here are a few things you need to know.

Go To Your Doctor

Before you leave the country, you should consider the place where you will be staying. What is the local healthcare system like? Are there any health risks? What are your current health risks at home?

If you haven’t updated your vaccinations, do so. If you’re visiting an area where an otherwise uncommon illness is common, you’ll want to get the vaccination for that disease. Check in with your insurance carrier to make sure there won’t be any issues if you do have to go to the doctor or a hospital while you’re there. If your insurance cover doesn’t cover foreign hospitals, consider supplemental insurance.

Get Your Passport

Go to the UK passport offices to fill out your application. It seems like common sense, but it’s easy to completely forget about this step. If your passport is lost or stolen, you’ll want to make sure you can get back into the country so…

Make a Copy Of Your Passport

Copies of your passport should be left at home with someone you trust. That way, if you need them, it won’t be difficult to get them. Make sure the person is highly accessible while you’re away.

Register With Your Embassy

If there’s a problem in the country you’re visiting, registering with the embassy will make it easier to get in contact with the government and get you back to safety.

Prepare For Monetary Conversion

Look up what the exchange rate is in the country you’re visiting. You don’t want to know what your currency is worth on holiday after you’ve arrived. You might take too little or too much money.

Call Your Credit Card Company

Call your credit card company while you’re at it. Most credit card companies and banks have strict anti-fraud measures in place. So, if it looks like your card was stolen, they’ll immediately shut down your card, leaving you penniless in a strange place.

But, if you call in advance, and let them know when you’ll be travelling, it won’t look suspicious to see charges in a foreign country.

Go To The ATM

It’s probably best to stay away from exchangers in the airport, or even in touristy spots and your hotel. Those places know that out-of-towners aren’t always up-to-date on exchange rate fees, so they can get away with charging you an arm and a leg for the exchange. You’ll end up with less local currency and, when it’s time to go home, you’ll get hit again with fees.

Always Keep Local Cash

Keeping local currency is important, because some places don’t take cash in foreign countries, like trains and other public transport.

Check The Entrance and Exit Fees

Some countries will force you to pay to enter or leave the country. Unbelievable right? These fees aren’t included in the price of the airline ticket, and can range from a few pounds to hundreds of pounds.

Bring An Adapter For Your Electronics

Your electronics may or may not work without an adapter, depending on where you’re going. Let’s say you want to visit the United States. The voltage, frequency, electrical standard, and even the plug type are totally different than what you’re used to.

In the U.S., for example, the standard is 120v, not 240. So, you will need a converter to “step down” the voltage. Also, UK outlets provide a frequency of 50 Hz, while the U.S. uses 60Hz. Normally, this isn’t a concern unless you plan on running anything with a motor, like a fan or hair dryer, or anything that spins or has wheels.

Activate International Access Or Global Access

Your cell phone is made to function in your home country. Of course, you can use roaming, but that will eat up a lot of money in your bank account. So, to avoid this, call your provider and ask to activate International functions on the phone. That way, you can latch onto a carrier in the foreign country without having to roam and rack up expensive roaming charges.

Most cell phone service companies will have this option and, if your doesn’t, there’s still hope. You can purchase a prepaid cell phone in other countries and just use that. Switch off your cellular data if you want to take pictures with your own smartphone. Otherwise, leave your phone at home.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Louise Jenkins has been working at the sharp end of airline travel for many years and is often a face of calm amongst a sea of airport travelers. She enjoys sharing her experiences and suggestions online and writes for a variety of different websites on a regular basis.

Photo credits: Immunizations by Pan American Health.

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