(Please note: As I travel more, I will have more tips for you. Until then, process what I am sharing now )
You want to go to Egypt? Sudan? Colombia? How cool, but before you plan an itinerary, check out this website. Your proposed time might not be the wisest time to go.
Register with the STEP program. They will alert you on important changes in the country you are planning to visit before and during your stay.
Visit cdc.gov/travel for information on health concerns in a particular country prior to visiting. This website also provides vaccination information either recommended or required for particular countries.
Cool, you have a passport, but that’s just the minimum requirement. Have you checked your passport’s expiration date? If it’s about to expire in less than nine months, it’s time for a renewal. Some countries have special expiration guidelines. For more passport information, click here.
Plan on having a memorable time on your voyage? Well, you’ll have to figure out when it’s the best time to visit the country of your choice. Some have months that are considered the ‘rainy season’, making the umbrella your annoying best friend, or the ‘dry season’ where you’ll wish for a temporary flood! Also, your concept of winter/spring/summer/fall might be totally different overseas.
Do you want to avoid bumping into tons of other tourists, *like yourself*, or do you relish in their company? Keep in mind your preferences and visit websites dedicated to that particular country for more advice on the touristy/less touristy months. I really enjoy browsing frommer’s because it provides a comprehensive overview of a variety of countries and their specifics.
Figure out beforehand if it benefits you to exchange your money at your local bank or in the country you’ll be visiting. While in Paris, I exchanged my cash at an airport and the transaction fee caught me by surprise!
Practice the official or primary language of the country you will be visiting. If you want to learn more than just the common phrases to get by, check with a local college for courses offered or purchase Rosetta Stone. If the former options are not in your financial interest, join livemocha for free. You can also go to areas in your hometown where specific languages are spoken to get some personal immersion.
Once you finalize your voyage plans, give copies of your trip itinerary, flight tickets, passport to your family/friends. Yes, you’re grown, but it’s wise to keep everyone you love in the loop…just in case.
Do you have any travel advice you’d like to share? Me and my readers would love to hear them!