Special Report

32 Crucial Tips for Traveling to Foreign Countries

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Do not discount hiring a local guide

He or she knows the best spots and how to avoid crowds. A guide can translate and help cut through red tape, be your chauffeur, and provide protection.

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Tell your bank where you’re going

Remember to notify your bank and credit card companies online or by phone if you are traveling so they don’t shut off transactions in unfamiliar places.

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Practice good hygiene

Do not forget to degerm your hotel room and seats on planes, trains, and buses. To do so, bring disinfectant wipes, disposable plastic gloves, alcohol, and perhaps even a surgical mask. You may get looks from your fellow passengers, but who cares if you’re less likely to get sick.

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Leave TSA-banned items behind

Do not bring items forbidden by the Transportation Security Administration onboard an airplane. Check the long list of items you can and cannot bring in your checked luggage and carry-on bags. For example, aerosol insecticide is allowed in checked luggage, with some exceptions, but not in carry-ons. Peanut butter can go in your checked bag, but it’s limited up to 3.4 ounces in a carry-on. And if you want to pack tents, the TSA recommends you check with the airline first.

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Check the lock for your luggage

Avoid using luggage locks that aren’t TSA-approved to limit damage to your bags and belongings and to keep everything secure. These locks can be opened with a master key that TSA agents have. If an agent needs to open your bag with another type of lock, you run the risk of having your lock or zippers broken.