International Travel Need-to-Knows

by Kevin Le and Quinton Le 

 Planning on traveling abroad? Before you head to the airport, there are a few things you need to know in order to stay safe and relatively happy.    

What country do you plan to visit?

What country do you plan to visit?

1.  Vaccinations
First and foremost, you need to make sure you have the proper vaccinations for the country you plan to visit. You don’t want to get sick in the middle of your vacation! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every traveler should keep up to date with regular vaccinations like the flu shot. When going to India, the CDC also recommends getting shots for hepatitis A and typhoid as well as a few other shots depending on what you plan on doing there. Additionally, the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs states that “some countries require foreign visitors to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination (aka Yellow Card) or other proof that they have had certain [vaccinations] or medical tests before entering or transiting their country.” Check the CDC website for shots you might need for the country you’re visiting. 
 

2.      Culture and Customs
It’s also a good idea to know some customs of your destination. According to Huffington Post (2013), in the Philippines, curling the index finger with the palm facing up (think of a beckoning gesture) is illegal; when in another country, its laws apply to you, too. Additionally, pointing at someone or something with the index finger “is considered a very rude thing to do in China, Japan, Indonesia, Latin America, and many other countries.” In order to prevent any misunderstandings, learn a bit about the country’s laws, culture, and customs. You might even learn something interesting in the process! 

A United Airlines plane flying 30,000 feet above ground. 

A United Airlines plane flying 30,000 feet above ground. 

3.  Handling Money
 How you carry your currency is also important. It is a good idea to carry the currency of the country you are visiting in case a business doesn’t accept the dollar bill. You shouldn’t, however, carry a large amount of money on your person in case of theft. Instead, the Department of State recommends you use your credit card or traveler’s checks, keeping excess money in your hotel safe and “before you leave, notify your bank, credit card company, or other financial institutions that you are going overseas.” According to Lazarony from Bankrate (2009), “[you should] pack an ATM/debit card for withdrawing cash at ATMs.” Also consider carrying two credit cards in case something happens to the first. Make sure you tell your credit card company if something does happen so another person can’t use your hard-earned money!                 

 Congrats! You know, to an extent, how to carry yourself in a foreign country. Now, get out there and enjoy yourself.