Special Report

32 Crucial Tips for Traveling to Foreign Countries

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Learn a bit of the local language

Do not leave the U.S. without learning key phrases in the language of your destination. Learning to say hello, good morning, good evening, thank you, and you’re welcome in your host country’s language can enhance your travel experience and lead to a warmer reception. There are several free language apps, such as Duolingo, that can get you started.

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Wait to get local currency

Don’t change currency in the U.S. but use ATM machines and your debit card to get local cash once you arrive at the airport and later in the cities and towns, if possible.

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Plan your airport escape

Find out how to get from the airport to your lodging. First-world countries typically have excellent, safe public transportation from airports that run 24/7. If arriving in less-developed countries, it may be best to book transportation in advance online so that the driver is waiting for you outside baggage claim with your name on a board. Other possibilities are inquiring at the transportation desk at the arrival airport, but make sure it’s open when you land, or booking an online service like Uber.

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Do not automatically pay for breakfast at a hotel

It used to be, in Europe at least, that breakfast was included in the price of the room, but now many hotels charge for it. First, check out the breakfast in the morning to see if it’s worth the money. If it’s not enticing, you may want to try a local cafe that offers a better deal, nicer atmosphere, or both. Or if you have a busy agenda ahead, it may make sense to grab breakfast at the hotel before taking off for a day of sightseeing.

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Plan for the weather

Remember to check the local weather before traveling and while on the road so you pack the right clothing and gear.