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Updated by Kate on Feb 02, 2018
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Kate Kate
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Six Things to Do Before Entering a Foreign Country

Traveling to another country isn't as simple as deciding on a country and getting on a flight. This is what the movies show us but traveling to a foreign country requires a lot of planning. While we tend to focus on visa and hotel reservations, here are six things you should do before entering a foreign country.

1

Documentation

Always double check what documents you must have with you when traveling. Often, having a stamped passport isn't enough and you will need to carry with you your travel itinerary, hotel reservations and travel insurance.

It's also advisable to make copies of all your travel documents. One copy should be kept with you in case you lose any of the originals. The other copy should be left with a relative or close friend in case of an emergency. Having your documents in check will mean fewer problems and delays at the airport and even when checking into a hotel.

2

Health

One of our biggest concerns when traveling to a foreign country is the effect the country's cuisine will have on us. Upset tummies are to be expected, so you'll need to carry any necessary medication. However, there are other health problems you can face in a foreign country, and it's always best to invest time in reading about health issues, medication and treatment options in the country you are visiting. It's also advisable to talk to your doctor before traveling to make sure you aren't in for any nasty surprises while traveling.

As for medicine, most of us have our preferences and what works and doesn't work for us. These may not be easily available in the country you are traveling to, so putting together a kit of sorts will be a good idea.

Vaccines are something you must look into before entering a foreign country. This is for your own safety but also sometimes a requirement by both the country you are traveling from and the country you are traveling to.

3

Money Exchange

One of the main things to look at when traveling is cost and expenses. While planning a trip within your budget is important, money exchange and conversion rates in the country you are traveling to should also be focused on. When it comes to conversion rates, this will give you an idea of how much money you should carry with you. It will also give you an idea of the price of anything you pay for and if you are paying way too much for something.

If you know someone in the country you are visiting, talk to them about rates and places for money exchange. While it may seem easier to exchange money at the airport itself, the exchange booths there tend to rip you off. It's thus better to go to a reputed money exchange center or bank and always keep the receipts with you.

What you can do prior to traveling is to check where you can exchange money, preferably somewhere between the airport and where you are staying. This way, even if you want to go out for a small snack, you'll have cash on you.

Further, don't rely completely on using an international credit or debit card. Sometimes, there are activation problems while some ATMs and even stores and restaurants may not accept your card. It's always good to talk to your bank before traveling, to make sure that you won't run into any problems while traveling.

4

Electronics

How many times have you traveled to a foreign country and realized that your phone or laptop charger isn't compatible with the power sockets in your hotel room? Avoid this by investing in an adapter which you can use in most countries so that traveling is problem-free when it comes to your electronics.

You will also want to look into the electric current strength in the country you are visiting and what is mentioned on your charger. If you are using any battery-operated electronics, make sure the batteries used are easily available in the country you are visiting. It's also advisable to contact your mobile service provider and activate roaming mobile and even data facilities so that you can easily contact family and friends, especially in an emergency.

5

Culture and Norms

Every country has its own culture, norms and rules. What is normal for you, from behavior to attire to customs, may not be considered normal or right in the country you are traveling to. Since it's best to travel in a foreign country without offending the locals, it's advisable to spend some time reading up on the country's customs, traditions, rituals, etc. This will help you be in the good books of locals but also enjoy your holiday more.

Knowing a few words in the local language (greetings, thank you, etc.) can also be a key factor in getting the help of locals.

There are travel guides that include detailed information about various countries so investing in one isn't a bad idea. While we are used to relying on the internet for everything, mobile connections and wifi may not be easily available so having a guide book with you will be useful. You can add your own notes to the book while doing pre-trip research on your destination.

6

Weather, Cuisine and Transportation

While travel guide books are useful, they can't give us the latest information regarding a country's weather. This is why you should always look at the weather reports online before traveling. Is it raining, extremely hot or stormy? How can you make slight changes to your travel plans to still make the most of your holiday?

Cuisine and transportation are also important factors to look into. Some quick online research will paint you a picture of how spicy the cuisine is and what kind of food you should enjoy while traveling. Be open-minded when trying out the local cuisine but also make sure the dishes don't include anything you are allergic to. One thing to also remember about a country's cuisine is what should be enjoyed where. The best thing to do is to visit some of the sites run by the locals so that you get a clear picture of what's in store for you.

As for transportation, it's always a good idea to look at the traffic situation and transport options in a country. It's also important to have a vague idea about fares so that you don't get charged extra just because you are a foreigner.

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