International travel is one of the most rewarding ways in which you can spend vacation time. When you visit another country, you’re exposed to all sorts of exciting new things: food, people, language, history, and more. These new experiences will expand your mind and enrich your life permanently. You should travel internationally.

But you need to be prepared when you leave home. Things work differently in different places. If you don’t know what what you’re getting yourself into, you could find yourself in big trouble. Here are some of the big things to get ready for before you get on that plane.


Different illnesses thrive in different climates. And if you’re not prepared, you could catch a nasty bug the likes of which you’ve never seen. Diseases like Dengue fever and malaria, while rare in the United States, are endemic in certain parts of the world. Read up on the common illnesses in the place you’re going, and research the best ways to prevent infection.

Additionally, make sure you’re up to date on any required vaccinations. Vaccines will keep you safe and will prevent you from exporting any of your local bugs to your host country. Your travel agent will inform you of essential inoculations.


The insect and animal life of a foreign country can be both wonderful and horrifying. No one forgets the jaw-dropping majesty of their first encounter with a wild whale or elephant. On the other hand, few sites are as terrifying as a surprise visit from a King Cobra or a coconut crab.

Check out the websites of local governments and wildlife groups to figure out things you might encounter. It could save you a lot of trouble, or at least a bad scare!

Alcohol and Drug Laws

Things that are perfectly legal in one place can be severely illegal in other places. Drug possession can lead to the death penalty in Singapore, for instance, and even alcohol is banned in some countries. These laws vary greatly from place to place, so look into local laws and prepare accordingly. You don’t want your temporary vacation to become permanent imprisonment.

Part of traveling in another country is being a respectful guest. Follow all the laws of your host country when you’re out. Don’t complain about local regulations. Remember that you’re representing your homeland. Making good impressions on people around the world has great benefits for everyone.

Traffic Laws

Driving is not the same everywhere. Some differences will be obvious, such as which side of the road people drive on. Others, such as left-lane passing and tailgating ordinances, are less obvious. Read up on differences between your home and host countries and keep them in mind if you get behind the wheel. And remember that legal alcohol limits differ hugely from country to country. Perfectly legal back home could be flagrant crime somewhere else.

Travel Wisely

World travel enriches your life, puts you in contact with the rest of the world, and builds lasting memories. Nothing can compare. Explore the wide world. Just be careful. Different countries do things differently, and it’s your job to anticipate and follow the customs and safety guidelines of the places you visit. Happy (safe) trails!