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How to Be Prepared When You Arrive at a Foreign Destination

Looking forward to that overseas trip, but clueless about how to prepare? With a little effort you can come off like a seasoned globetrotter.


  • Step 1: Check passport Check to make sure that your passport has not expired.
  • Step 2: Do research Find out whether special visas or vaccinations are needed for entry to the country or countries you’re planning to visit.
  • TIP: Also, investigate whether there are any other special conditions for entry into that country. Some nations require that your current passport is more than 30 days from its expiration.
  • Step 3: Arrange accommodations Arrange accommodations for at least the first night of your trip. You’ll probably be jet-lagged and disoriented when you arrive – not the best time to wander around with your luggage, looking for a hotel.
  • Step 4: Record your info Make several photocopies of your passport, leaving one with a friend or relative and packing at least two in your luggage.
  • TIP: If you’re using travelers’ checks, leave the serial numbers and denominations with the same person—along with your flight and hotel information.
  • Step 5: Get a phrase book Buy or borrow a tour book with maps and key foreign phrases. Learn the most essential ones and, just in case your accent leaves something to be desired, flag the important pages—like those that tell you how to find a bathroom.
  • Step 6: Bring voltage adapter If you’re packing electrical equipment, such as hair dryers, be sure to see if you’ll need to bring a voltage adapter and/or special plugs.
  • TIP: Drink water in flight Opt for water instead of caffeine or alcoholic beverages in flight. The latter will only dehydrate you, which in turn delays your body’s ability to get used to the change in time zones.
  • Step 7: Adjust your watch Set your watch to the destination time as soon as your flight takes off. This tricks your mind into thinking that you are already in the new time zone.
  • Step 8: Carry local currency Carry some local currency with you, preferably in small denominations. That way, if your flight touches down in Prague at 1:30 a.m., you won’t have to hunt down an ATM just to pay the cab driver.
  • FACT: According to a survey of international travelers, rude immigration officials and long delays in processing visas have turned the United States into the world’s most unwelcoming country.

You Will Need

  • A passport and any other required documents
  • Local currency
  • A tour book with maps and key foreign phrases
  • Inoculations
  • A voltage adapter kit

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