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International Travel Tips
It is easier to travel with a passport for ID. If you keep it in an accessible pocket, this can eliminate having to fish for a driver's license in the depths of a purse or wallet at every checkpoint. Make a vinyl opening in one of the pockets (one that will be to the inside of your garment) and put your ID in that pocket. You can then "flash" the person checking ID. I also use a wallet with a vinyl front pocket so there is no digging. I know some people like to wear a pouch around their neck with ID but that really identifies you as an American (not a bad thing, of course) when you travel abroad. -- Barbara H.
Investigate duties and US customs limitations. The Custom Service's free brochure "Know Before You Go" (Publication 512) is online at www.customs.gov/travel/travel.htm
Pack with purchases in mind. Pack a foldaway bag or bring an extra suitcase. Bring along a small tape measure, a calculator for figuring exchange rates and scissors. Do not carry the scissors in your carry on bag.
Get information about shipping options for larger purchases. Sometimes it is possible to check an extra bag for the flight home for a nominal fee. Sea freight is usually the cheapest, but can take up to 6 months to receive your shipment.
Memorize the traveler's mantra: "Boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it."
If it is "cubed ice" with a hole in it, it has been purified and packaged for distribution. If it is "shaved ice", STAY AWAY FROM IT. It has not been processed and purified. This was told to us by an American owner of one of our favorite restaurants. -- R. Wissler
Resist street vendor's foods. It might smell delicious but you have no idea how long the food has been sitting around at a low temperature.
Before you leave home, get a small amount of currency from the country you will be visiting. This makes it easier if you need money for a taxi or telephone call before you check into a hotel. The exchange rate at your hotel will not be as good as a local bank or cash machine.
We color photocopied the first two pages our passport and had them laminated. We always had them with us in our wallets and most times were able to use them to cash travelers checks when shopping while our passports were safely stored in the hotel safe. We lived in Asia for 10 years and found that to be an easy solution for always having identification with us. -- Diana S.
Be sure to drink A LOT of water. Your body dehydrates quickly in hot climates and the symptoms are the same as food poisoning. Water is the only solution. Soda, coffee and ice tea will NOT work. The caffeine helps to dehydrate your body faster. -- R. Wissler