Travel tips to consider while traveling abroad.

If you are planning a long distance trip, one that will take you clear across the globe or at least beyond the US’ borders, you need to organize your trip with care. There are a number of steps you should take before you leave and while you are yet away. With careful planning, you can ensure that your trip goes well with contingencies built in should a problem arise.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Leaving the US means you will be in unfamiliar territory with strange laws and unfamiliar customs awaiting you. You may be days or weeks away and traveling to locations that are far from the beaten path. Your travels, however exotic, should be known to at least one person back in the states.

While you are away, maintain communication with your family and friends. Access a local Internet cafe and update your Facebook page. Send an email message to a trusted party if your itinerary has changed. You should also leave copies of important documents including your passport with someone you trust advises the U.S. State Department. Include copies of your itinerary, your driver’s license, the credit cards you will be bringing with you on your trip, your hotel confirmation and your airline tickets. Keep one set of copies with you.

Update Your Insurance

What insurance coverage do you have? Is it sufficient for global travel? Contact your insurer, explain where you will be going and for how long. You may need to purchase a rider to provide coverage while abroad.

Consider also purchasing supplemental insurance, what can cover an accident while you are abroad. This type of insurance includes helicopter or airplane transportation to a hospital, a critical option for people who are seriously hurt or ill and need better medical coverage. Medical evacuation insurance can literally save your life.

Financial Considerations Are Important

You need to have enough money with you when you travel abroad. That money should be more than sufficient to meet your needs while you are away.

Many travelers do not like to carry much cash, relying on credit cards instead. Before you go abroad, you need to notify your credit card providers of your plans. If left unaware of your travels, your bank may freeze your card when “strange” purchases are made in other countries. Also, ensure that you have access to your bank account while abroad. Understand how foreign exchange works too.

Register With the State Department

Although you are not required to register with the US State Department while traveling abroad, in doing so you can be contacted if a crisis breaks out while you are on the go. Under the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, the State Department invites Americans to register.

You should also be mindful of local laws while traveling. In Venice, you could be fined if you feed the pigeons. In Saudi Arabia, photographing government buildings and military complexes can result in your detention and arrest notes CNN. Be mindful of what local laws are in place and abide by them.

Travel Considerations

Clearly, traveling abroad can be an enjoyable and fun experience, but it should never be undertaken apart from full awareness of your surroundings. Even in areas frequented by Americans, danger may lurk as pickpocketers and drug traders abound.

You should also know that the police in some countries are corrupt and may bring you more harm than help. These countries include Haiti, Mexico, Kenya, Burma and Nigeria. Familiarize yourself with the State Department’s travel warning information to learn about these and other dangers that await visitors.

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