Six Things to Consider Before Traveling Internationally


Sure, you’ve always dreamed of vis­it­ing exot­ic lands over­seas, but have you real­ly thought this through? While over­seas trav­el is fun and reward­ing, there are a few things to con­sid­er before mak­ing those final plans.

The Trav­el Itself
We can’t all trav­el in pri­vate Lear­jets, but there are still ways to make your trip even more com­fort­able than you think. There is not only first-class seat­ing avail­able to any­one will­ing to pay the price, but busi­ness class is anoth­er option. Not as fan­cy or expen­sive as first class, but cer­tain­ly more com­fort­able than coach, you may want to con­sid­er pay­ing more for this upgrade. Some air­lines such as British Air­ways and Vir­gin afford a lit­tle more com­fort in coach on inter­na­tion­al flights than region­al car­ri­ers and usu­al­ly offer real meals and unlim­it­ed movies. The new wave of dis­count air­lines such as Spir­it, Fron­tier and Ryan Air in Europe will save you a bun­dle but you do give up some of the com­fort. If you’re going to sleep the whole way any­way, do you real­ly need free movies?

Con­ver­sa­tion­al­ly Challenged
That’s the best way to put the fact that a lot of Amer­i­cans are not bilin­gual. Going to cer­tain coun­tries like Eng­land and Aus­tralia means you will have no lan­guage prob­lems. Going to far-flung lands that don’t claim Eng­lish as their pri­ma­ry lan­guage might be a bit tougher. If you are con­ver­sa­tion­al­ly chal­lenged or worse yet, not very patient, you may strug­gle in some regions but Eng­lish is still very promi­nent in most coun­tries. If you take the trou­ble to learn a few phras­es or at least just a greet­ing or two in the local lin­go, along with the words for “Please” and “Thank you” you will have a much eas­i­er time. A smile goes a long way every­where and just show­ing you are at least attempt­ing to speak their lan­guage will usu­al­ly afford you a lot more consideration.

Mon­ey, Mon­ey, Money
When decid­ing on where to vis­it, you may want to con­sid­er the exchange rates. Right now the dol­lar is strong near­ly every­where, so many parts of the world are more afford­able than ever. Europe has seen a change in the U.S Dol­lar to the Euro exchange so it is more afford­able there than in the recent past. Some cred­it cards such as Dis­cov­er, for exam­ple, have been drop­ping their fees for over­seas charges, mak­ing them even more affordable.

Food for Thought
Some of us are picky eaters. I can­not eat seafood, so that lim­its me on my choic­es when vis­it­ing the most coastal places. I’ve nev­er had trou­ble find­ing some­thing good to eat; I just feel I have missed out on a lot of the local spe­cial­ties. Of course, there are always options. In Jamaica, I get to gorge myself on Jerk Chick­en and Pork. In this day there’s always a McDonald’s or even a Ken­tucky Fried Chick­en out­let some­where near­by but don’t be the tourist who sticks to their com­fort zone too much. Try­ing dif­fer­ent food in far-away lands is one of the joys of inter­na­tion­al travel.

The Weath­er is Delight­ful or Dreadful
If you can’t han­dle the heat and/or humid­i­ty, you should be care­ful of where you go or at least when you go there. Many pop­u­lar trav­el des­ti­na­tions, oth­er than the Arc­tic or Antarc­tic regions, can get very hot in the sum­mer. That’s why May and Octo­ber are great months to trav­el to places that get a bit warm. Humid­i­ty can be sti­fling, espe­cial­ly to those of us not used to it. On the oth­er hand, you are trav­el­ing so expe­ri­enc­ing a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent cli­mate makes for part of the fun. If the heat and humid­i­ty are tough on you, make sure you’re on or near the beach or have a pool avail­able. If the cold bites all the way to your bones but you want to ski in Europe, go in March or April when the days are warmer. There is always a way to make any cli­mate bear­able, you just have to plan it right.

Safe­ty First
While dan­ger lurks in every cor­ner of the world, that doesn’t mean you can’t be and feel safe wher­ev­er you are. The U.S. State Depart­ment issues trav­el warn­ings for hotspots around the world and you should heed them. They pro­vide great insight as to the lev­el of dan­ger, but also what areas of indi­vid­ual coun­tries you should avoid. Some regions have hotspots of crim­i­nal activ­i­ty that should not pre­clude you from vis­it­ing oth­er safer areas of the same coun­try. Cer­tain parts of Mex­i­co, for exam­ple, have been list­ed as too dan­ger­ous to vis­it while oth­er areas such as the Mayan Riv­iera area of Can­cun and Playa del Car­men are per­fect­ly safe for all tourists. Let’s be hon­est, there are prob­a­bly parts of your home­town you wouldn’t rec­om­mend vis­it­ing, so use your head, don’t go where you have no busi­ness being and you will be fine.