International travel can be an incredible experience, especially if you have never traveled abroad. Different cultures offer many new sights to see and things to try. Study the local climate and tourist seasons so you pick the best time to be there comfortably. Learn about festivals, holidays, and shows in the country you are about to visit. Be sure that important attractions are open the day you will be there. Many tourist attractions are closed for at least one day during the week.You also need to be aware of the potential dangers of traveling as well. Knowing ahead of time will make your trip more enjoyable. The nature of some cultures means that conditions on tour may be different from those you are used to. Service standards, operating conditions, unusual events, and infrastructural inadequacies are sometimes such that a sense of humor can be useful. If you expect everything to run like clockwork, irrespective of which country you are in, then you may be advised not to book some tours.Another good idea before leaving on your trip is to make copies of all your documents. Photocopy your passport as well as boarding pass and any other travel vouchers you may have. Also include credit cards, medical prescriptions, and your medical insurance information. Credit cards with your photo on them may help locate them in the event your wallet is stolen. Having photocopies will also provide you with the numbers for everything as well as expiration dates. Copying prescriptions gives you the exact information should you need to refill a prescription slip that’s been stolen.Prepare medically for your trip. CDC.Gov/Travel.com provides a comprehensive guide for travelers—from what vaccinations to schedule to what medical supplies to pack. It is imperative to contact your doctor to receive necessary vaccinations and enough medication for the entire journey. When visiting any developing country we recommend that you be immunized against typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Malaria and/or yellow fever may also be a factor. Remember to leave sufficient time to have any inoculations as the process may take some weeks.You may want to consider taking out insurance. Travel insurance is available to protect you from last-minute changes in your plans such as flight cancellations. International flights tend to cost more than domestic ones so it would be a benefit to have this type of insurance. Aside from flight coverage, it is good for other things as well. A crucial point to remember is medical insurance. If you have a medical insurance plan, find out in advance if it covers you for international travel. Some plans do not cover expenses in foreign countries.When preparing for departure, be sure to arrive at the airport well in advance. With all the safety and security measures in place nowadays, it can take a long time to get to the gate. You want to leave yourself enough time to check your bags and account for security delays. It’s better to have time to kill than to wave goodbye to your plane as it takes off without you. To facilitate going through security, make sure you have your boarding pass and passport convenient at all times. This way you don’t have to stop and search through your bags every time someone asks to see your identification. Make sure, also, that you have your airline’s 800 telephone number with you or preprogrammed in your phone so, if your flight is cancelled or greatly delayed, you can reach them on the phone for rerouting.Notify by phone or register in person with your homeland embassy or consulate upon arrival, especially in developing or non-democratic nations. First time international travelers should be beware of scams. Many times, thieves or phony tour guides pounce on unsuspecting passengers. In order to keep yourself and your belongings safe, keep your bags close at all times.Try to avoid taking unnecessary items with you. Also, we suggest you keep your wallet, keys and/or cell phone with you and not in your checked luggage.An important goal for learning as much as possible about the people and places you’ll be visiting is the ability to go out of your way to meet the locals while you’re there. You can do this in small ways: by admiring a gardener’s work, offering to take someone’s picture, asking for information about local landmarks, accepting an invitation into a family home for a meal, etc. People everywhere respond to friendliness, so leave your shyness at home, determine to make friends, and go for it.When traveling to another country, it’s good to know the currency conversion rate between the dollar and the national currency. Even if you travel with credit cards, make sure that they will be honored as payment. Find a place to exchange your cash for local currency. Sometimes going to a bank machine offers the best rate since it will be current. Otherwise, going directly to a bank would be a good idea. Either way, it’s good to do the research before you travel anywhere. It will help prevent you from potentially getting ripped off. Though they’ve declined in popularity, another option is traveler’s checks, which can be purchased from your local bank prior to your trip, and can be used anywhere.Bottom line when you travel; you want to make sure your time abroad is well spent and enjoyed. Make sure you handle the necessary preparations before leaving home so that you don’t have to worry about them on your vacation. So see as many sights as possible and don’t forget to take your camera. A well-planned vacation always means a happier, more enjoyable, more memorable, and safer trip.