Special Report

32 Crucial Tips for Traveling to Foreign Countries

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Do not stay in an uncomfortable room or other lodging

If accommodations are unsatisfactory, call the desk to request a resolution. The problem could stem from partying neighbors, a loud leaky faucet, or a TV on the fritz. If the desk clerk isn’t responsive, ask to speak with the manager. A good hotel will resolve the problem right away, even if that means you move to another room. If the hotel doesn’t come up with a suitable solution, then check out as soon as possible and move to another.

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Avoid dressing in inappropriate clothing

In more traditional countries or situations, such as visiting religious monuments, avoid wearing tank tops, shorts, and possibly offensive T-shirts. In some places, women will have additional dress restrictions or demands, and to enjoy a stress-free holiday, it’s best to conform to these rules. Among the best advice is to dress like a local, if possible, also to keep you from being targeted as a “rich tourist.”

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Photograph and itemize your belongings

Do not leave without a list of what you’re taking, and take photos of your bags and clothes. For car rentals, take photos of the car inside and out before driving it off the lot. If your belongings get lost or there’s a dispute about the car’s condition, photos may speed up retrieval or protect you from paying extra for damages.

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Avoid eating your big meal in the evening

When traveling, in Europe especially, you can order a satisfying lunchtime meal, which is the locals’ main meal, for between 30% and 40% less than what you would pay for the same food at dinnertime.

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Eat cautiously if you have allergies

For those with food allergies, avoid eating local foods unless you are certain that they won’t cause a reaction. You can consult with the chef and hotelier and carry chef cards that outline the foods you’re allergic to in the language of the countries you’re visiting, which are available from the Food Allergy Research & Education. Bring nonperishable food from your own country, as the same brand in another locale may be made with different ingredients. Also, bring several copies of your Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan, which is a personalized treatment for a person with allergies.