Read these 20 International Travel Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Travel Insurance tips and hundreds of other topics.
When you come back, you'll need to declare everything you brought back that you did not take with you when you left the United States. If you are traveling by air or sea, you may be asked to fill out a Customs declaration form. This form is almost always provided by the airline or cruise ship. You will probably find it easier and faster to fill out your declaration form and clear Customs if you do the following: Keep your sales slips! As you read this tip, you'll understand why this is especially important for international travelers. Try to pack the things you'll need to declare separately. Read the signs in the Customs area. They contain helpful information about how to clear Customs. Be aware that under U.S. law, Customs inspectors are authorized to examine luggage, cargo, and travelers. Under the search authority granted to Customs by the U.S. Congress, every passenger who crosses a U.S. border may be searched. To stop the flow of illegal drugs and other contraband into our country, we need your cooperation. If you are one of the very few travelers selected for a search, you will be treated in a courteous, professional, and dignified manner.
Before you take a trip, remember this helpful travel advice:
If your laptop computer was made in Japan - for instance - you might have to pay duty on it each time you bring it back into the United States, unless you could prove that you owned it before you left on your trip. Documents that fully describe the item - for example, sales receipts, insurance policies, or jeweler's appraisals - are acceptable forms of proof. To make things easier, you can register certain items with Customs before you depart - including watches, cameras, laptop computers, firearms, and tape recorders - as long as they have serial numbers or other unique, permanent markings. Take the items to the nearest Customs Office and request a Certificate of Registration (Customs Form 4457). It shows Customs that you had the items with you before leaving the U.S. and all items listed on it will be allowed duty-free entry. Customs inspectors must see the item you are registering in order to certify the certificate of registration. You can register items with Customs at the international airport from which you're departing. Keep the certificate for future trips.
The invention of ATMs has made traveling a lot easier & safer. For one thing you don't have to bring a ton of cash with you anymore. Since ATMs exist in most parts of the world you can just take out money when you get to the country. Not only will the ATM accept your cash card, but it will also give you money in their native currency. It exchanges it for you. So no more wasted time at the money exchange center. Though, as a travel precaution, before you go you might want to do some research on currency values on that specific country. This way you won't accidentally empty your life savings just to buy an ice cream cone.
We've all heard the stories. Some of us have been unlucky enough to experience it. Being trapped on a 5 plus hour flight with a child who is way too bored. It's not a pretty picture. They complain. Cry and keeping asking when they will be on the ground. If you know you will be traveling with a child you should take this into account in your travel preparations. The best thing to do is make sure they're occupied from take off to landing. Today there are all kinds of electronic diversion toys like mini-game consoles or teeny tiny DVD players. However, keep in mind there are times when these devices need to be turned off so bring along some low tech toys like a puzzle magazine or a book. For a list of acceptable electronic devices check the website of the airline you will be flying.
Ectaco has developed Language Teacher software dictionaries for more than 30 languages. The language translation software is compatible with all popular platforms and operating systems, including: Palm OS Pocket PC / Windows CE 3.x EPOC R5 Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME Linux Ectaco software products provide fast and accurate translation of 400,000 words for each language pair. The main function of the Partner Voice Translator is substitution of an interpreter in such standard situations as hotel registration, banking, shopping, etc. You say a phrase in English, and the program recognizes what you said and pronounces the translation in the selected target language. When you start studying a foreign language and try to pronounce your first phrases, it is helpful to have a practice aid - a cassette, CD or even a native speaker. It is almost impossible to learn how to speak correctly on your own. Now you have a new, thoroughly contemporary way to study language - the Partner Accent Remover. PROMT's MT systems translate masses of text and even very large documents in seconds. The result is a smooth and readable text, not a "word for word" translation. For more info: www.internationalbenefits.com/ectaco/index.html
When going to a less developed nation be prepared for more of a problem with dirt. Not just the brown clumpy kind, but the microscopic “carrying disease” kind. For this reason you should think about packing germ fighters like ant-bacterial soaps and hand washes. Plus, it would probably be a good idea to add a few roles of toilet paper to your travel packing checklist. Again, to be more informed you should do some research on the internet. See what type of disease or sanitary problems are native to the country. Then you will really know how you can guard against it.
Luggage has gone through a lot of changes since the days of those army colored sacks or those metallic pods with handles. Baggage today comes in a variety of materials, shapes and sizes. However, possibly the greatest addition to bags has been wheels. They make it much easier to lug around international terminals. Especially when you're doing that mad "transferring to a plane" dash. Though, before you go for a wheelie based bag think destination. If you are going to a major city then you will be probably dealing with a lot of smooth paved sidewalks. This is optimal for wheels. Then again, if you are going on an expedition through an uncharted rain forest & dirt roads you might want to opt for a backpack type design. Of course there are people that actually do both city and wilderness on their vacation. Fortunately, there are a number of backpack wheelie combo bags that would do the trick for that type of trek.
Once you arrive at your international destination that is probably the last time you will be taking a plane. That is until your return trip. Most of your traveling to other international destinations will either be done by public transportation like a bus or train. You can rent a car. However, if this isn't in your budget, but you still want the convenience of leaving at anytime take a long distance taxi. They are usually double the price of a bus ticket and you are usually traveling with a few extra people -- Depending on your party. Long distance taxis can be found at taxi stands. You can also have your hotel call one for you as well. Another benefit of long distance taxis is time. Since they don't have to go to a set drop off route (like a bus) they can get you to your destination much faster.
Cars give us freedom to come and go as we please. When you own a four-wheel companion you are not chained to the public transportation schedule like some city folk. However, when traveling internationally renting a car might present problems. First, there are all kinds of fees other than just the basic rental cost. There's insurance. Taxes. Fuel. And of course parking. Then you have to deal with driving in another country, which can be a hair-raising experience in itself. Especially, if you are not used to driving on the opposite side of the road. So to save money and give yourself a little piece of mind you might want to consider the cab over a car. In most world cities it is relativity easy to hail a taxi. However, if you are in a third world nation you might want to have the hotel do it for you. Drivers associated with a hotels tend to be more reputable than ones you find on the street.
Before going off to some far off international location most people reach right for a travel guide. Which is actually a smart thing. It gives people a sense of what's going on in that area before they get there. Restaurants. Sites. Shops. However, along with a guidebook another valuable prep tool is a map. This directional guide can help you get a layout of the land. Plus, it can be useful when creating daily itineraries. When buying a map look for one that you can use when you are on the trip as well. Good maps are ones that have the least folds (sorta like an accordion style.) Plus, it's good to find ones that are laminated. So you can get perfect directions even during less than perfect weather.
Flying and some people just don't mix. The minute that plane takes off, their airsickness gets turned on. Airsickness is a person's reaction to air pressure and movements of an airplane. Usually the most common symptoms of this affliction are nausea and even cold sweats. Today people have all kinds of air sickness drugs available to them. Some over-the-counter and some a doctor needs to prescribe. However, before you pop one of these miracle marvels you should take a couple of factors into account. - If you are pregnant you may have a bad reactions to some drugs so check with your doctor first. - Never combine airsickness drugs with alcohol or other tranquilizers. - If you are giving a child airsickness medication make sure they are getting the proper dosage. Unfortunately, even the people with the most iron of stomachs get sick in the air. So if you find you're getting the case of queasiness and didn't include medication in your travel packing checklist there are other options. Try eating dry crackers or drinking a carbonated beverage.
Sometimes as Americans we feel like our internet access works only in our country. Outside of our world it is a totally different animal. One that is not compatible with ours. This couldn't be more further from the truth. Cyber cafés aren't just a USA concept. They exist all over the world. For this reason if you are traveling for pleasure, but want to stay connected you shouldn't have to lug around your laptop. The last thing you want to do is pack up something extra and expensive if you don't need to. It's a foreign travel recommendation that makes sense and can save you dollars. If you feel the need to catch up on your e-life stop by an internet café. In most cases they don't charge too much for internet access. In fact, you'd probably wind up paying way more if you used your own modem plugged into a hotel phone line.
Traveling to foreign countries isn't like sitting on some 1 hour long commuter flight. You will be logging in some serious air hours. One smart international travel tip is dressing comfortably. Think about clothing that will keep you comfortable. Sweats are always a good idea in this situation. Sweat pants & shirts are extremely loose fitting. So they won't feel constrictive after 3 hours into the flight. They also are loose enough that you can wear a t-shirt or shorts underneath. So if the destination you are going to is much warmer you can simply remove the sweats, so you won't be sweating after you leave the plane.