Traveling to a foreign country can be filled with excitement as you take in the sites and sounds of another culture. However, there are some things you should be aware of to keep yourself safe from mishaps. Here is an international travel checklist of things you need to be aware of as a traveler to another country.
1) Learn the language - as an adult, it is not possible for you to master another language overnight. However, you should make an attempt to learn enough to ask for simple directions or help if you need it. It's a good idea to invest in a language course - there are several speed learning courses that can help you learn how to hold a basic conversation in another language.
2) Research the culture - most places have very interesting cultures and stories. Take time to learn about the place you'll be visiting and its people. If you know what to expect in advance, you'll enjoy yourself more and have less misunderstandings.
3) Check to see if there is unrest - if your trip is going to take you to a dangerous part of the world, then you will need to learn what areas are safe to walk around in and which areas should be avoided at all costs. This information is crucial and could mean the difference of you having a safe trip or a tragic incident. You might decide to cancel your trip if there is a chance that violence will break out.
4) Stay at a trusted tourist hotel - while it may be tempting to reserve a room at that charming little out of the way hotel, it's best to stick with the larger established hotels. Unless you know the area really well, you could be setting yourself up for trouble at a lesser known place. The large hotels have lots of experience with foreign tourists and professionals that work and travel abroad. They have reputations to uphold and will make sure you have a safe stay.
5) Try not to look too much like a tourist - unfortunately, there are bad people out there who prey on tourist. Sometimes these encounters can be violent. If you are driving a rental car, keep an eye out for any suspicious cars or behavior around you as you leave the airport area. Thieves have been known to rob unsuspecting tourist in rental cars. Also, be aware there may be pickpockets hanging around at any world destination.
Don't choose that flashy rental car, even though you might be drooling to drive it. Flashy rental cars will make you a target for thieves.
Wear clothes that allow you to blend in with the locals.
If riding in a taxi, make sure you take written directions along with you and keep your eye on the meter. You don't want to get charged extra for a cab ride that takes the long way (or wrong way) to get to your destination.
6) Check your health insurance coverage - if you get hurt overseas, that's not the time you want to find out that your insurance company won't cover your expenses for hospital care abroad. Check your policy to see if you have travel abroad health insurance. If not, then look into getting it.
7) Check the weather patterns - weather delays can interrupt your plans, so be sure to check ahead of time to see if bad weather is lurking ahead for your trip.