Get ready for travel abroad


In case you haven’t noticed, the world is going … well, global. That means more people are taking more trips beyond their country’s borders. While globalization does bring some standardization to the way things get done around the world, there are still enough differences among nations to hang us up when we travel.

Here are some suggestions to help you avoid problems and optimize your efficiency while “over there.” For new overseas travelers, this is a primer; for seasoned travelers, it’s review.

Get your papers in order

Not having the necessary documents in hand when you travel can lead to difficulty and even delay your departure from one country or your entry into another (even your own). Consequently, you should assemble all the papers you need for your trip in advance-well in advance-of your departure. Not just your passport and visas, but your medical records, travel insurance policy, and cell-phone rental agreement, too. The following sites can help you determine which documents you’ll need and help you get them.

Official Travel Documents

Priority Passports

Travel Document Systems

U. S. Department of State

Get some dough

Few experiences are more disconcerting than arriving in a foreign country without a dollar (or a peso or a euro or a yen) in your pocket. Sure, you can stop by a currency exchange booth at the airport-if one is open and you don’t mind the fees-but why not have currency delivered to your home before you leave? Here are some sites that provide such a service.

American Express

Currency Source


Purchase Currency

Get your bearings

Travel is challenging enough without getting lost at every turn of the road. Get a map of your destination and study it before you leave home, then carry it with you everywhere on your trip. You can find maps of just about any place at the following sites.


Amazon maps

Get your tongue wagging

You don’t have to be fluent in your host country’s language to get by, but knowing a few phrases will make you more comfortable and your trip a heck of a lot easier. Even if you stumble your way through a conversation, you’ll get points for trying, and locals will be more likely to lend you a hand. These sites can help with anything from a full-blown language course to a pocket-size phrase book.


Pimsleur Approach


Amazon phrase books

Get your rest

There are any number of “programs” available to help travelers deal with jet lag-everything from popping melatonin tablets to changing your diet to altering your sleeping routine. I’ve yet to find one that works for me, but you may get some help at one of these sites.

Alertness Solutions

Argonne Anti-Jet-Lag-Diet

National Sleep Foundation


By the way, Jet Lag Travel is a whole ’nother story. Check it out for a good laugh. And bon voyage.