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10 Most Important Things to Consider Before Traveling to Unfamiliar Foreign Countries

Planning your first ever trip abroad? Don’t panic! To make sure you don’t forget anything important, we’ve compiled the top 10 things you should consider before traveling to any unfamiliar country.

1. Securing travel documents Make sure to have the travel documents you need for your overseas trip, such as your passport and travel visa. For those with old passports, check that yours is valid for at least 6 months after your intended return, as many countries around the world require it. As for your travel visa, the requirements can vary from country to country. If you're considering visiting Korea, the visa application process might be a bit complicated, so it's best to check with the Korean Immigration Office. 2. Making copies of documents Make at least two photocopies of all your travel documents — one to remain at home and a copy to bring with you abroad. You should also keep a digital copy of everything in your phone. This is very important in case of emergencies, like if your documents get lost or stolen during your trip. 3. Checking carry-on and checked luggage restrictions Before packing for your trip, make sure to double-check your airline’s luggage restrictions. You should also check the customs and import restrictions of the country you’re visiting as policies can vary per country.

4. Notifying your banks of your travel Along with your family and friends, your bank and credit card company should be on the list of those you should notify with details like when you are leaving, where you are going, and when you plan on arriving home. This is to ensure that the credit or debit cards you’d be using overseas won’t be blocked, since most banks keep track of your spending patterns and may interpret an unexpected overseas purchase as card fraud. 5. Obtaining an International Driving Permit If you’re planning to drive a rental car during your trip, it’s best to obtain an International Driving Permit. While not every country requires it, it’s a good idea to have one in case you run into any issues. 6. Getting a pre-travel check-up Get a pre-travel check up with a doctor before your trip. This is an important step, since traveling to a foreign country can be taxing on your body. You should also research if the country you’re traveling to requires any vaccination certifications. For example, countries like Albania may require you to provide a yellow fever vaccination certificate depending on your travel history. Vaccine availability and mode of administration varies, so it’s best to talk to your doctor and schedule your vaccinations and check-ups ahead of time. 7. Respecting the culture It’s important to remember that the foreign country you’re going to isn’t just a spectacle that exists for tourists’ enjoyment. As such, you should research as much as you can about the social norms and customs of your destination country. For example, Daydreaming in Paradise notes that Japan has a rich history and culture, which influence various facets of modern Japan even today. This makes respecting the culture vital, as you don’t want to make a social or cultural faux-pas during your trip. 8. Bringing the right adapter With around 15 different plugs and sockets in use around the world today, you need to make sure that you pack the right adapter with you on your travels. This is important if you don't want to have trouble charging your gadgets. You also need to check the strength of the electrical current wherever you’re going, and make sure your devices are compatible. 9. Learning key phrases in the local language While you don’t need to be fluent or have perfect pronunciation, learning a few key phrases in your destination’s language will make your travel experience much smoother. It will also show locals that you’re interested in learning more about their culture. Business Insider shares 11 key phrases anyone should learn before they travel, such as ‘excuse me’ and ‘where is...’ 10. Looking up the weather at your destination Researching your destination’s weather may seem like an obvious step, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to do it. It's crucial to prepare for any destination's weather, especially if you have kids travelling with you and you'll be facing tough seasons, like Korean winters. Now that you can see weather forecasts at least 10 days early, you should have no trouble packing accordingly for your trip.

Written exclusively for

by Alex Cohen

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