Many of you who read this column are seasoned international travelers, but there may be a few out there who are just starting out, so here are a few tips for you newbies that I found on
First, you should learn the basics. Look up the currency exchange rate of the country you will be visiting. Knowing the cost of something in your own currency off the top of your head will keep you from overspending simply because you don’t understand the price.
Learn enough of the language to count to ten. Knowing basic numbers can help you when negotiating a price, and helps to keep you from being a mark for scammers. Learn at least the following three words in the language: “Yes” “No” and “Thank you.” And you might as well learn “Please” while you’re looking up “Thank you.”
Until you have your bearings, you may want to do the less adventurous thing. For instance, taking an official hotel shuttle or heading for an information booth – something you might never do at home – can help you avoid a really messy start to your trip. Once you’ve gotten your bearings, and perhaps slept off some jetlag, you can go back to being your normal, adventurous self.
Do your research, check to see if a visa is required for the country you’re going to visit, and then allow plenty of time to go through the hoops to get it.
Study the airports you will be going through – there are maps of almost all of them online. Especially if you’re going through a major international hub, where you might encounter complicated mazes of terminals, customs checkpoints, re-check-ins and more. This is especially important if you’re connecting through one of these behemoths. You might have to collect your bags and recheck them, go through security, passport control, or take a train or a bus between terminals. Make sure you allow at least two hours for international connections.