Travel Tips--Foreign Travel                      Back to Travel

What type of research should I do before I travel?

  • Do some research, learn as much as you can about your destination.

  • Check to see what type of weather the area has so you can plan accordingly.

  • Check with the U.S. State Department concerning safety warnings for U.S. tourists at your destination.

  • Find out if you will need a passport to enter the country. Make sure your passport is up to date and valid. Some countries will not let you in if your passport will expire within six months of your return home, extend it, if you are close to expiration.

  • Find out if you will need any visas to enter the country.

  • Check to see what other type of paperwork and documentation you will need to travel.

  • Find out what type of diseases are common to the area youíll be visiting and take actions to prevent your exposure to those diseases.

  • Find out what types of vaccinations you will need to enter the country, there may also be medications youíll need to take before, during and even after your trip.

  • Find our what type of electrical outlets the country uses, you may need a special converter or adapter to use your electrical appliances.

  • Check your own medical coverage to see what type of coverage youíll have when away from home. Consider purchasing trip insurance.

  • Do some research about the costs of local items so you can set your budget.  Don't forget to budget for taxes and tipping, many governments charge high taxes for travel related services.

  • Check the financial section of your newspaper, they usually post exchange rates and checking in advance can give you an idea of how much youíll need to budget.

  • Do some research with U.S. Customs to find out what you can take with you and what you may bring back.

  • Build some basic language skills in the local language.

  • Check the dates of local major holidays, since services may be limited on those dates.

  • If you plan on driving, investigate the local road conditions, laws and other driving requirements.

  • Most of the world uses the metric system, so try to become familiar with this system. 1 kilometer = .62 miles so 100 kilometers per hour = 62 miles per hour.

What services does the U.S. State Department offer to help me to prepare for my trip?

www.state.gov

The U.S. State Departmentís homepage.

www.state.gov/www/services.html

The U.S. State Departmentís Services web page. This site contains links to the services the U.S. State Department provides to travelers; many of these web sites are also individually linked to this web page for your convenience.

travel.state.gov/travel_pubs.html

The U.S. State Departmentís Travel Publication web page. This site contains links to foreign travel publications, produced by the U.S. State Department, that are available on-line. The publications address a wide range of issues for both the business and vacationing traveler.

What do I need to know if I plan on driving a car in a foreign country?

  • If you plan on driving a car, youíll need to check out the local driving regulations.

  • You might need to obtain an international driverís license or need special insurance.

  • If you are renting a car, check with the rental company to make sure youíll meet the local requirements and be able to pick up the car. Some countriesí car rental companies have upper as well as lower age requirements.

  • You may have to pay a permit fee that allows you to drive on their roads.

  • Road signage may be in unfamiliar languages and the colors and shapes of those signs may be different than those in the United States.

  • The direction of the lanes may be opposite of those in the United States.

  • Gasoline is usually considerably more expensive and is often sold by the liter, 3.78 liters=1 gallon.

  • Road conditions can be considerably more dangerous than those in the United States.

  • Some countries with modern highways allow much higher speeds than the law allows in the United States. Therefore, it is especially important to stay out of the fast lane, unless you are passing or willing to travel at these high rates of speed.

How are rentals outside the United States different from those here?

  • Every country has its own rules, but hereís a list of some items you may want to consider.

  • You may need an international driverís license or permit, in addition to your U.S. driverís license.

  • The rental contract may not be in English. See if they have rental contracts or at least an explanation of contract terms available in English. Also, see if they will have any English speaking counter personnel available to assist you when you arrive.

  • Your personal insurance or credit card coverage may not be valid or acceptable to the rental company, so you may need to purchase extra coverage.

  • Most rental car fleets outside the U.S. are made up of much smaller cars.

  • Many foreign rental fleets have a large percentage of manual transmission automobiles.

  • Gauges may only read in the metric system, 100 kilometers=60 miles.

  • Many countries have even higher taxes on rental cars than those in the U.S.

  • Some countries have both a minimum and a maximum rental age.

How can I get an International Driverís Permit?

www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html

The American Automobile Associationís International Driving Permit web page. This site contains information on how to get an International Driving Permit. This permit, used in conjunction with your valid U.S. driverís license, is valid in 150 countries. Check out the siteís IDP FAQ link for further information.

What can help me prepare if Iím planning on driving while in Europe?

www.travlang.com/signs/

This site contains information on traffic codes, road signs, parking, and road vocabulary for those planning on driving in European countries.

How do I deal with the language barriers when I travel?

Build a vocabulary in the local language. Learning even a few words and phrases of the local language in advance of your trip can greatly increase your enjoyment, safety and comfort during your stay in a foreign country. Hereís a suggestion list of a few words and phrases you might consider researching to build your new vocabulary.

First, the complicated bathroom, this can be a complex issue when you probably donít have the time to deal with complications. Asking for a "badezimmer", literally a bathroom in German, will get you a room for taking a bath. But, it might be lacking the toilet you were seeking. Find out what they call it and ask for it. It is always best to keep it simple and direct.

  • How do I get to Ö.?

  • How much forÖÖ?

  • How manyÖ.?

  • May I haveÖ.?

  • Where is theÖÖ.?

  • When is theÖ..?

  • What time isÖ..?

  • I need help.

  • I donít understand.

  • Would you please speak slower.

  • I donít speak much Ö

  • I would like to speak to someone that speaks English.

  • Please, thank you, youíre welcome, excuse me, may I?, hello, goodbye.

  • Yes, no, accept, decline, agree, disagree.

  • The names of any foods to which your are sensitive or allergic.

  • The names of any of your medical conditions or allergies.

  • Fire exit, emergency exit, help, police, doctor, hospital.

  • Telephone, taxi, bus and bus terminal, train and train station, airport, rental car office, auto repair.

  • Toll Road, prohibited, forbidden, exit ramp, entrance ramp, detour, parking, danger, construction, closed.

  • Post Office, Tourist Office, Customs Office, Bank, Embassy, Consulate

  • Basic numbers, at least one to ten.

  • Restaurant, hotel, bar.

  • Left, right

  • North, South, East, West.

What credit cards do I need to take with me?

  • Take your major credit cards, such as, Visa, Master Card and American Express.

  • Make sure they are really credit cards and not just debit cards with a credit card companyís logo on them. Many locations require a credit card and will not accept a debit card, so they may have limited use on your travel.

  • Leave all your local store credit cards in a secure location at home; there will be no need to carry them with you.

Why should I contact my credit card companies before I leave?

  • You want to notify them of your trip. They may delay you if they are unaware you are traveling. The unfamiliar spending patterns might cause them to suspect that the card is being used fraudulently and delay your approvals.

  • They will be able to explain many of the services that they can provide while you are on your trip.

How can my credit card company help prepare me for my trip?

  • You can arrange to pay bills that will come due while you are gone.

  • They will be aware that you will be making charges from another country.

  • They will be able to give you an idea of how acceptable their credit card is in that particular country.

  • They can verify acceptance at certain foreign locations.

  • Theyíll be able to see if your PIN number will work in the countries you are visiting. They can also issue you another PIN number if your current PIN is unacceptable to the foreign bankís system.

  • They can explain cash advance, ATM, foreign purchase and foreign exchange rate policies and fees.

  • They can explain any services they offer, such as, extra insurance for your rental car, luggage or purchases. Make sure the coverage offered extends outside the United States and will be valid in all the countries where youíll be traveling. Also, be sure to note any other exceptions.

  • They may need to give you another phone number to call in case you need to reach them. The 800 number listed on the back of your card may not work from foreign locations.

  • You can find out if they charge a currency conversion fee, so you can find the most economical card on which to place your foreign purchases.

Should I use my credit card when I travel?

  • Yes, using your credit card can be more valuable than using cash, so use it when you can.

  • Youíll probably be able to get a better exchange rate than changing money to spend yourself.

  • Youíll be in a stronger position; the credit card company can often charge back disputed charges.

  • Many times your credit card will offer an extra guarantee or warranty when you purchase items with your card, but youíll want to read the fine print for exceptions.

  • You wonít have to risk your safety by carrying and displaying large amounts of cash.

  • If you lose your card, most credit cards have a low maximum liability limit if you quickly report the card as lost.

Should I use my ATM card while traveling?

  • Yes, youíll have access to cash during your trip so you wonít have to take as much cash with you and using your ATM card can also be a good way to get cash in foreign countries.

  • The ATM will issue money in local currency.

  • You should exchange at the bankís wholesale exchange rate. You may still want to shop around to different banks since some will charge a high usage fee for their ATMs. Although, even high ATM fees may be less than others will charge for currency exchanges.

  • Don't wait until you're out of money to go to an ATM, the machines can run out of money or break down.

How can I make sure Iíll be able to use my ATM card while traveling?

  • Call your bank to make sure your PIN number will work in foreign countries.

  • Find out your daily limits and plan ahead. You may need to take out money little by little or ask to have your daily limit increased.

  • Use your ATM card before you go, to make sure it is still good.

  • If you go through many airport security checks, remember that the security scans can demagnetize your cards. You might want to ask for a visual inspection.

  • Donít wait until youíre out of money to go to an ATM, the machines can run out of money or break down.

Where can I get quick access to cash while Iím traveling?

www.visa.com/pd/atm/main.html

Visaís ATM locator web page. This site provides a searchable database that locates ATMís belonging to the Visa, Visa Electron and Plus ATM network worldwide.

www.mastercard.com/atm/

  • MasterCardís ATM locator web page. This site provides a searchable database that locates

  • ATMís belonging to the MasterCard and Cirrus ATM network worldwide.

What should I know about using travelers checks?

  • If the particular brand of travelers checks are accepted in the country youíll be visiting.

  • How widely they are accepted within the countries youíll be visiting.

  • Any fees for purchasing and using the travelers checks.

  • The travelers check companyís loss, replacement and refund policies.

How can I protect my travelers checks while traveling?

  • Take the same precautions you would to protect your cash. Be sure to learn and follow the procedures required if you lose your travelers checks.  Youíll also need to make copies of your travelers checks before you go and keep separate from them the following information. 

  • The serial numbers of the travelers checks.

  • The denomination of the travelers checks.

  • The date and location of their purchase.

  • The phone number to call to report them missing.

What should I know about shopping abroad?

  • In many countries of the world, negotiation on the price of an item is appropriate and often expected.

  • Satisfaction guaranteed is much more widely practiced in the United States. Make sure you are familiar with their return and exchange policies.

  • Many countries do not enforce copyright laws, the logo you see may have nothing to do with the company it represents to you. Check to see if the item is a fake.

  • Some items for sale may need a special license for export. This is especially true for antiques, works of art or other items of cultural significance.

  • Taxes can make up an even larger percentage of the purchase price than you will find in the United States.

  • Duty free may only mean the items are free from duty where they are sold. U.S. Customs have their own guidelines for taxation when you return.

Shopping abroad, what does Caveat Emptor mean?

It means the buyer beware. Remember that merchants know that putting up a duty free sign often means bargain to many. There are some great buys to be had, but make sure your purchases are good values. Stick with brand names you know and make sure those brand names are spelled right on the product. In other words, make sure itís not a fake. Also, duty free may just mean it is duty free where you are buying it. U.S. Customs have their own guidelines for taxation when you return.

What is a VAT tax?

VAT stands for Value Added Tax, and it is a form of sales tax that is assessed in many countries and is especially common in Europe. In many cases, this tax is a large percentage of the purchase price and sometimes can be refunded to foreigners who are exporting the item outside of the country of origin.

How can I avoid paying the VAT tax?

  • You canít usually avoid paying it up front, but you can often have the tax refunded to you after you leave the country. The item must be taken out of the country and cannot be consumed inside the country if you are to receive a refund. Therefore, you will probably have to pay the VAT tax on some items and be able to get a refund on the items you are bringing home as souvenirs. Read the following suggestions for help on getting some of your VAT tax payments back.

  • Check with each country you are visiting since refund procedures and policies can differ.

  • Find out where the refund forms are available, you may be able to request them from the countryís embassy, tourist office, customs office or airport.

  • Take your passport with you when you go shopping to verify your foreign status to merchants.

  • Arrive early at the Airport to allow for plenty of time for the VAT paperwork to be completed.

  • Donít check luggage with items that may need to be inspected for a VAT refund.

  • Pack your luggage so the items you want to be inspected are easily accessible.

  • Make sure you receive the proper inspection and stamp for your paperwork from the customs officer before you leave the country.

Where can I find information, from the countries themselves, about regulations concerning purchases made in their country?

Go To:  Embassy Links

This page contains links to many foreign countriesí Embassies and Consulate Offices located in the United States. Each Embassyís web site is different, but they all contain contact information and other helpful information for anyone planning on visiting their country.

What are some helpful hints for dealing with Customs Officials?

  • If you are taking foreign-made or expensive items with you on your trip, register them with U.S. Customs before you leave. Otherwise, if you canít prove you already owned them, you may be charged a tax on those items when you return. You can register items with Customs by their serial numbers or use itemized receipts, detailed insurance policy information or jewelerís appraisals.

  • Know the amounts of arrival and departure taxes youíll be responsible for paying at Customs.

  • Leave plenty of time for the Customs process.

  • Know the restrictions on carrying foods, plants and animals across the border.

  • Log your purchases and keep the receipts of your purchases made abroad.

  • Pack so it is easy to inspect your items.

  • Immediately follow the requests for cooperation from Customs Officials. Customs Officials generally have special powers to guard a countryís borders and can enforce strict penalties if you refuse to cooperate.

How can I get help in understanding all the U.S. Customs Service regulations?

www.customs.ustreas.gov

The U.S. Customs Service homepage.

www.customs.treas.gov/travel/know.htm

The U.S. Treasury Department Customs Serviceís Traveler Information, Know Before You Go web page. This site contains information on U.S. Customís declarations, duty free exemptions, prohibited and restricted articles and the procedures for shipping items back to the U.S.

www.customs.ustreas.gov/travel/travel.htm

The U.S. Customs Service Traveler Information web page. This site contains links to the services the U.S. Customs Service provides to travelers; some of these web sites are also individually linked to this web page for your convenience.

Will I need a passport?

  • It depends on where you are going. Foreign travel often requires a passport. However, you may be able to enter some countries with just a notarized birth certificate with a raised seal and your driverís license. Although, some countries may not require much to enter, youíll still need proof of citizenship when you re-enter the United States.

  • Youíll need to find out if any of the foreign travel you are planning will require a passport or visa.

  • You should be able to find specific instructions on what type of paperwork youíll need from the embassy or consulate of the country youíll be visiting.

  • The passenger is completely responsible for all travel documents. Just having a ticket to get there wonít do you any good.

  • If you donít have a passport, apply for one at least 3 months before travel.

  • If you already have a passport, make sure it will still be valid for your entire trip.

  • If your passport will be within six months of expiration while youíre traveling, you may want to get a new passport since some countries now require that your passport must be valid six months after your return to the U.S.

Where can I get a passport?

You can get one at a State Department Passport Agency, a clerk of any Federal or State Court of record, designated municipal or county official or a designated U.S. Post Office.

Where can I find online passport information?

travel.state.gov/passport_services.html

The U.S. State Departmentís Passport Services web page. This site contains information on how to get a U.S. passport.

What will I need to get my passport?

  • You may need to appear in person. If you are a first time applicant, youíll need to appear in person at one of the official locations listed above. You will also need to appear in person if it has been more then 12 years since your last passport was issued or you were under 16 years of age when your last passport was issued. Applicants under 13 are not always required to appear in person since a parent or guardian may execute the application on the childís behalf.

  • You will need one of the following to provide proof of U.S. citizenship.

  • A certified copy of your birth certificate with a U.S. State or county embossed seal. Hospital certificates are NOT accepted. OR

  • Your naturalization/Citizenship certificate. OR

  • Your previously issued and expired passport. If your name has changed from the one listed on your previous passport, you must submit the sealed legal document showing the name change. (Marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.)

  • Two identical recently taken 2x2inch front view facial, from the bottom of your chin to top of head, photographs. No hats or dark glasses can be worn in the photographs. Have them taken at a passport shop since snapshots and machine photos are not acceptable. You may want to get several extra copies of the photograph since they can also be used for international driverís permits and other documents. Traveling with extra photographs will also make it easier to replace your passport, if yours is lost.

  • A Driverís license or Military I.D. issued over six months ago. State I.D. cards are only acceptable with several other forms of I.D. Temporary or altered documents are NOT accepted. Parentís I.D. will be used for that of a minor child.

  • A completed official passport application form.

  • Youíll also have to pay a passport fee that will be listed on your application form.

What is a visa?

A visa is an endorsement on your passport that will allow entry into the country youíll be visiting. It states that your passport has been inspected and that everything is valid. It will usually give permission for you to visit a country for a specific time period and purpose.

Will I need a visa?

Some countries in the world require that you be issued a visa before you are allowed to enter their country. They may also have special requirements if you plan a particularly long stay or will be doing business while visiting. Youíll need to make sure to have all the papers youíll need. All travel documents are the responsibility of the passenger. Your ticket to get there wonít do any good if you donít have the required paperwork. You should contact the embassy or consulate of each country youíll be visiting for information on the paperwork needed for entry. Remember to allow plenty of time for the paperwork to be processed before you travel. Visas often require several weeks to be processed.

How can I find out if I will need a passport or visa for my trip?

Go To:  Embassy Links

This page contains links to many foreign countriesí Embassies and Consulate Offices located in the United States. Each Embassyís web site is different, but they all contain contact information and other helpful information for anyone planning on visiting their country.

travel.state.gov/foreignentryreqs.html

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairsí Foreign Entry Requirements web page. This site lists the entry requirements of foreign countries. It also includes the addresses and telephone numbers of foreign embassies and consulates in the United States. This web site is a good starting point, but since the information presented is subject to change, you should also check directly with the embassy or consulate of the country you a planning to visit.

www.state.gov/www/travel/consular_offices/fco_index.html

The U.S. State Departmentís Foreign Consular Offices web page. This site contains an updated listing of contact information for foreign countriesí consular offices in the United States.

What should I do if I lose my passport?

Immediately notify the local police and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, so they can begin to work on a replacement and grant you permission to re-enter the United States. Hopefully, you will have made a copy of your original passport and brought along some extra passport photographs to expedite the process.

How can I find the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country that Iím visiting?

usembassy.state.gov

The U.S. State Department International Information Programís U.S. Embassies web page. This site contains links to U.S. Embassies and Consulates in foreign countries throughout the world. Each site is different, but they all contain information that would be helpful to a U.S. citizen planning on visiting the particular foreign country.

How can I protect my health when I travel?

  • If you have any food allergies, learn the names of those foods in the languages used in the countries youíll be visiting. This way youíll be better equipped to stay on the look out for them.

  • Find out what types of diseases are common to the area youíll be visiting and take actions to prevent your exposure to those diseases.

  • Find out what types of vaccinations you will need to enter the country, there may also be medications youíll need to take before, during and even after your trip. Get your vaccinations early in case you have a reaction and need some recovery time.

  • You should consider a dental appointment if you havenít had a check up in a while.

  • Be careful what you eat and drink.

  • Carry complete health information with you on your trip.

  • Consider joining Medic Alert or IAMAT, the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers.

Where can I find information that will help keep me healthy while traveling?

www.cdc.gov/travel/

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Information web page. This site contains updated information and articles on diseases. It also includes guidelines for travel to areas that have suffered a recent natural disaster. The most valuable section of the site is the destinations section. This area of the site contains detailed specific information on diseases common to particular regions of the world, along with the recommended precautions and vaccines advised to avoid those diseases.

www.medicalert.org

The Medic Alert homepage. This is a nonprofit organization that provides bracelets that identify diseases or allergies from which you suffer. The bracelet also contains a phone number that can be called so medical personnel can have access to your medical records 24-hours a day. There is a registration and yearly membership fee to receive this service.

What health information should I carry with me?

  • Complete and take with you a personal medical history. Your doctor should be able to help you complete the history. It should include:

  • Your Insurance Companyís name and address.

  • Trip Insurance contact information.

  • Contact person in case of emergency.

  • Your blood type.

  • A copy of your eyeglass prescription.

  • A list of current medications with their generic names, brand names can vary in foreign countries.

  • A list of allergies, including any known food or drug allergies.

  • A list of immunizations with their dates.

  • A basic description of your past and present medical condition, including past hospitalizations and any current problems.

How can I protect myself from travelerís diarrhea while traveling abroad?

  • When you are traveling abroad, donít forget that drinking another countryís water can be dangerous.

  • Stick with bottled or boiled water and carbonated soft drinks.

  • Remember that the ice in your drink turns into water, so order them with out ice.

  • Wipe off the tops of cans before you drink from them, or better yet, bring some straws to use for drinking.

  • Avoid raw foods, as they can also be a good way to get sick.

  • Only brush your teeth with bottled water and keep your mouth shut when youíre in the shower, even an accidental spray can get you sick.

Do I need Trip Insurance?

  • Check with your insurance agent to see if your current medical coverage will cover you outside the country.

  • Even if you are covered, you may still be expected to pay the bill in cash and be reimbursed from your insurance. Make sure you receive a completely itemized bill, in English, if possible.

  • Medicare and Medicaid do not provide payments for medical care given outside the United States.

  • If you donít have any coverage that will apply, you should strongly consider travel insurance that will cover you outside the country.

  • Be sure to read the trip insurance policy carefully, noting any deductibles, exceptions or exemptions for pre-existing conditions, activities, diseases or areas of the world.

  • You also want to see if the policy covers any medical evacuation costs, especially if you plan on traveling to an area of the world that may not be able to provide you the type of medical care you will need.

  • You may be making your travel plans months in advance. Many things can happen in that time that would cause you to have to cancel your trip and possibly lose your deposits.

  • You are susceptible to travel delays, often ones beyond your control, which can cause you to miss all or part of your trip.

How can I protect my safety while traveling abroad?

  • Do the research so youíll know the particular risks you face.

  • Know the local laws and abide by them.

  • Register your whereabouts with the U.S. Embassy if you are staying longer than two weeks or are in a particularly dangerous area.

  • Dress conservatively and try to blend in. If you are in an area with groups of people hostile to the United States, and there are many, avoid clothing or other items that openly label you as a U.S. citizen. You might be safer if they think you are a Canadian.

  • Take care when choosing your hotel and transportation providers.

  • If you havenít left your valuables at home, leave them in your hotelís safe.

  • Donít draw attention to yourself, avoid wearing flashy jewelry and donít display large amounts of cash. Carry only enough cash to make it through the day and leave the rest in the hotelís safe.

  • Avoid traveling alone.

  • Be careful about sharing your traveling plans with strangers.

  • Stick to the main roads and avoid taking shortcuts down narrow alleys and/or poorly lit streets.

  • Always be aware of what is going on around you.

  • Only use taxis, tours and other transportation services with official markings. Only select transportation from official pickup points at transportation hubs.

  • Be very careful if you are asked to sell or part with your personal items. Many countries have restrictions on items foreigners can sell or give away and you can get into serious trouble for violating those laws.

  • Never accept gifts or packages from unknown parties.

  • Donít accept items from locals to carry out of the country and deliver or mail to someone they know.

  • Approach any "special deals" with caution, especially if you have to go off the beaten path to get them.

  • Know the laws about exchanging money. Only use official exchange facilities since this is another area that can get you into trouble fast.

  • Take precautions to protect your money and avoid pickpockets.

Where can I find information on issues that will effect my safety while Iím traveling?

travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html

The U.S. State Departmentís Travel Warning and Consular Information web page. This site contains detailed information on foreign countriesí entry requirements, safety, crime, medical facilities, traffic and aviation safety, customs, criminal penalties, and special issue information. It also includes contact information and web links to foreign Embassies and Consulate offices.

How can I avoid being the victim of a pickpocket?

  • Donít travel in narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.

  • When possible, avoid having crowds of people surrounding you.

  • Carry a dummy wallet and put your money in your front pocket.

  • Place a rubber band around your wallet, it will make it much more difficult to remove from your pocket without your knowledge.

  • Carry your purse under your arm.

  • Carry your money under your clothes.

  • Know the pickpocket's tricks

What are some of the pickpocketís tricks?

  • There are lots of situations that pickpockets use to create opportunities to relieve you of all that heavy cash. Be especially aware of your money when you find yourself in the following situations.

  • Getting bumped by someone else.

  • Having something spilled on you or someone pointing out a spot on your clothing.

  • Someone approaching you and asking for help or directions.

  • Someone causing a disturbance that draws everyoneís attention.

  • Being surrounded by a crowd, especially if you are surrounded by groups of children.

How can I avoid getting into trouble with the locals?

  • Know the laws and obey them.

  • Learn the customs and respect them.

  • Dress conservatively.

  • Remember that those of us in the United States are some of the most hurried people in the world. Not everyone in the world values the demands of a fast paced life. In fact, many think we are fools to spend our lives rushing around. You should try to respect the culture of others and follow their pace. You may find it frustrating to slow down, but youíll probably find it even more frustrating when your attempts to hurry everyone else is met by an even slower pace.

  • Be careful when taking photographs. Many countries have restrictions against taking pictures of military or police operations or facilities. Taking photographs of public demonstrations can also be risky. If you have doubts, ask permission first.

  • Be courteous and respectful when taking photographs and/or observing cultural and religious events. Put yourself in their place. How would you like some improperly dressed tourist showing up and taking pictures at a family funeral just because they find the ceremony interesting? Again, if you have any doubts, ask permission first.

What happens if I get into trouble with the law while traveling abroad?

  • Donít, you wonít have the same protections that you do in the United States. Youíll be under that countryís legal system, which may not have bail or the right to a speedy trial among other protections available in the United States.

  • If you are arrested, ask that the U.S. Embassy or Consulate be notified and ask to speak with their representative.

  • U.S. officials can help you to locate an attorney, secure supplies you might need and notify those back home of your trouble.

  • The U.S. Embassy or Consulate can only make requests on your behalf since they donít have any authority to intervene in another countyís internal criminal matters.

Who can I contact if I get in trouble abroad?

usembassy.state.gov

The U.S. State Department International Information Programís U.S. Embassies web page. This site contains links to U.S. Embassies and Consulates in foreign countries throughout the world. Each site is different, but they all contain information that would be helpful to a U.S. citizen planning on visiting the particular foreign country.

How can the U.S. government help me if I get into trouble abroad?

travel.state.gov/acs.html

The US State Departmentís Services and Information for American Citizens Abroad web page. This site contains links to specific information on services that the U.S. State Department can provide to U.S. citizens traveling abroad. It contains sections on emergency services, legal assistance and other aid available, in case of crisis, arrest, death or marriage aboard.

How can I get access to the Internet when I travel?

www.kinkos.com/mapquest/

This site contains a searchable database with contact information and maps for Kinkoís in the United States and several foreign countries.

www.cybercaptive.com

This site contains a searchable database with contact information and web links for over 4000 cybercafes, public Internet access points and kiosks in 135 countries. They also offer some premium information services for a fee