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The best tips for worldwide travel are to obtain a passport, get travel insurance for emergencies and learn to respect local laws and culture. Passports are important documents that most people cannot travel without, and they should be kept close and secure at all times. Travel insurance is an extra expense that might end up being unnecessary, but like car insurance and health insurance, it is better to be safe than sorry. In addition, worldwide travel introduces people to new and sometimes seemingly odd laws and cultural traditions that should be respected.
Worldwide travel requires having a passport each time a person exits a country. People who travel frequently should consider ordering a passport with more pages than standard. Either way, however, a traveler should apply for a passport as soon as possible. Depending on how backed up the passport office is, it might take several weeks for a passport to be processed, created and sent to the traveler. If a traveler waits to get a passport at the last minute, he or she might have to pay significant fees to expedite the process.
All travelers should have some form of travel insurance. This kind of insurance can reduce the costs associated with canceled flights or emergency evacuations. More importantly, travel insurance usually provides travelers with medical coverage and might even cover the costs associated with transporting the injured person to his or her home country. Like other types of insurance, better plans usually cost more than plans that cover only the basics. Overall, though, travel insurance is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with what a traveler would normally pay for such emergencies.
Obeying local laws and respecting authorities is an important part of worldwide travel. Some regions of the world ban smoking tobacco in most public places, for example, but other places do not care if travelers smoke tobacco, marijuana or other substances. In addition, it might be illegal, rude, or dangerous to wear certain types of clothing. For example, wearing shorts and a sleeveless top is normal in many places, but some countries frown upon baring that much skin — especially by women — no matter how hot it is outside.
Lastly, part of being safe during worldwide travel is knowing who to contact during emergencies. Many countries have standard phone numbers to dial for medical help or law enforcement officials. In addition, it sometimes is necessary to contact government officials from the traveler’s home country, so that number also should be kept on hand.
@pastanaga - I was recently in Tonga and the manager of the resort we were staying in told us that he always had trouble with the Europeans about this sort of thing.
The Togans were quite conservative, but they didn't mind people wearing swim suits as long as they stayed in the resort area. Private land, do what you like essentially.
But there are so many nude beaches in Europe, that many of the people will just strip down entirely and go wandering around the island. He said that while the islanders were generally cheerful about swimsuits, they were completely shocked whenever they saw people completely naked in the water!
I agree that one of the best tips when you are travelling to a new culture is to read up on what is acceptable and what isn't. You never know what the differences are going to be.
I agree with the author when they say to respect local customs.
When I was living in West Africa one of the biggest mistakes I saw tourists making was to wear shorts when they were walking around.
Not only is this considered really disrespectful in most areas, it was also kind of dangerous. Even with sunblock the desert sun is going to damage any skin that you leave open to it. You're much better off dressing to the conditions, which means loose, light long trousers.
They just didn't realize that the locals saw bare thighs the same way they would see bare breasts. It's one thing to see someone with bare breasts while wandering around West Africa, it's another to see them while wandering around your home country. And the same thing with bare thighs. You might be able to get away with it in your own country, but doing it where it's got a different meaning is a bad idea.
It's just something to respect in the culture.
Getting the best kind of travel insurance you can is the most important thing you can do to prepare for your trip in my opinion.
Especially health insurance. You have no idea how expensive it can be to break a leg or get a chest infection in a foreign country. Even the locals won't really know, because the chances are they don't have to pay because their government does, or because they all have health insurance themselves.
I just don't think it's ever worth the risk. I always get travel insurance, just in case.
That way I can relax and not worry about the entire trip being ruined by a single late plane, or an unruly horse.