International Travel Tips For a New World

The Internet isn’t the only thing that has changed how you plan your international travel today. The events of 9/11/2001 and subsequent airline security measures have complicated things, but as long as you plan ahead, know what you’re doing and pay attention to rules and regulations, international travel can be as safe and secure as ever.Among the most important things for Americans to remember about international travel are (1) you are not in the U.S. anymore, and (2) you need to respect local cultures and laws. The “ugly American” of 1950s paperback novels was something of a cultural imperialist, never showing any interest in other lands or cultures. The main way to ingratiate yourself with your hosts in a foreign country is to be sincerely grateful for their help, and respectful of their laws, religious beliefs and customs.Low-tech considerationsInternational travel, for the inexperienced, should always be coordinated through a reputable travel agency, friend or relative with solid experience in various parts of the world, particularly the ones you are headed for. You should also do your “homework” before leaving home, so that you are aware of possible difficulties with language, local politics, religion and the state of the destination country’s water and food supply.In addition, of course, you will need to make sure your passport, identification, travelers checks, tickets, etc., are all in order and easily accessible to you during your travels. Don’t pack these essential documents in a suitcase that can get lost while transferring at London’s Heathrow Airport.High-tech guidelinesYou can usually take your laptop through airport security as long as you can turn it on when asked. Make sure your battery is charged before heading out, or have the AC adapter handy, because showing the security officers that it works is essential. Your phones, PDA’s, DVD players and other electro-geegaws are usually safe on your person or in your carry-on, but check with the airlines to be certain.Another high-tech device that may be a lifesaver is the new kind of pocket translator that actually speaks common phrases in a number of languages. Ten-language devices that have every tongue from French and Italian to Russian and Chinese will help you in every part of the world, and if you don’t have language skills yourself, these can prove indispensable.Planning is always keySecurity is the topic on everyone’s mind while traveling the world today, of course. The best way to stay safe is to plan your trip with as many details, and on as tight a timetable, as you can. Make sure to check in with family at home at set intervals, and check in with the travelers’ aid offices and the U.S. embassies when you have any problems in a foreign country.When you plan properly and get professionals’ assistance, all the difficulties in international travel fade into the distance and you are able to enjoy the trip without worrying about flights, reservations, currency exchange, language barriers or cultural clashes. You will have no nasty surprises if you get the right help in planning your trip, and international travel can remain the educational pleasure that it really is.