Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Things To Consider Before Traveling Overseas

One of the first things to do when considering international travel is to consult the Consular Information Sheets about the country or countries you are interested in visiting. These sheets are available to be viewed online,, and contain information about things such as the country's governmental structure, entry and exit requirements, and existing medical facilities.

Will your trip require you to have a passport and/or visa? The Consular Information Sheet provides this information. If you do need either a passport or a visa, be sure that they are signed and valid before heading to the airport. Also, take a moment to fill out the emergency information page in your passport.

Familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs of the country to which you are traveling. Remember that the U.S. Constitution does not follow you--when you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.

Visit your doctor and ask about appropriate vaccinations. Certain countries require vaccinations before you are allowed to enter, while other vaccinations are simply recommended. Vaccinations are important because they not only protect you; they decrease the chance of you bringing a disease home.

Consider registering with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that is nearest to your destination. This registration will make your presence known in the country in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency.

Finally, be sure to leave a photocopy of your passport or other citizenship documents and a detailed copy of your itinerary with a friend or relative back home. Having such information in the hands of someone you trust could prove invaluable in a time of crisis.

FOREIGN CURRENCY (MONEY) EXCHANGE RATES: You can purchase foreign Currency at Bank of America, at several on-line sites, or in the country you're visiting when you arrive. Banks usually have the best exchange rates. The So California Auto Club has a Euro Travel Pack with a variety of Euro denominations. Canyon Crest Travel has American Express Traveler's Checks in Euros and 6 other currencies. It's a good idea to have a small amount of local currency for things like Taxi Fares, Coffee, etc. Many people find it's easier to use a Credit Card and let your Credit Card Company take care of the exchange rates (at a small fee). Check with your Credit Card Company to make sure. Our CURRENCY CONVERTER is a full transaction calculator that stores the exchange rate in memory even when turned off. It allows you to quickly see what you are paying in US Dollars or see what is a given $ amount would be in the local currency.

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