THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME TIPS WHICH MAY HELP YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIP
Expect the best (but prepare for the worst), stay alert (now that’s a challenge after traveling so many hours!) and enjoy the new people and places you’ll experience!
- We encourage you to enroll with STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program).
- Book your flight with adequate time between connections. (For international flights we recommend at least 2 hours between flights).
- Passengers tend to sleep on long transatlantic flights, so if you are in a middle or window seat, know that it may not be easy to get out. To help pick the right seat for you, go to www.seatguru.com.
- If you fly regularly, you may want to apply for TSA Pre-check or Global Entry to make going through security easier. www.dhs.gov/comparison-chart.
- Notify your bank about your travel plans so they don't de-activate your bank cards if you use them overseas.
- Confirm your flight with your airline (2-3 days before departure).
- Take address and phone numbers of US Embassies or Consulates in your country (http://usembassy.state.gov).
- Arrange airport pick-up in country and have contact info for arrival (have a back-up plan in case no one is at the airport).
- Withdraw cash to take with you from your bank. For traveling purposes, $20 USD bills are appropriate. These bills should be new (2006 or newer).
- Have the post office hold your mail (https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/landingView.do) or arrange for a neighbor to collect it while you are gone.
- When packing, try to avoid putting valuables in your checked luggage.
- Tag your luggage clearly.
- Check baggage weight restrictions with your airline and weigh your bag to make sure you are under the limit.
- Consider getting TSA locks for your luggage (they are the only locks that are technically allowed).
- Consider bringing some over-the-counter medication in case of stomach issues.
- Adjust/set the temperature in your house appropriately.
- Unplug major electrical appliances.
- If travelling for an extended period of time or in winter, consider turning off your water.
- Have a plan for your return to the US; consider what US money you might need for phone calls, transportation, food, etc.
- Take a bank card with you to be ready for emergencies. You may need it to:
- Pay for overweight luggage or airport taxes
- Purchase emergency tickets or hotel accommodations overseas
- If you have electronics to plug in while you are gone:
- Make sure they are dual voltage (110-220)
- Bring appropriate Adapter plug for area of world you are travelling to
Departure and In-Flight Tips:
- Get to the airport a minimum of two hours before departure time for international flights. Some airlines do not give international seat reservations until you arrive at the airport.
- Be prepared to pay for extra overweight bags. Sometimes you will not be charged, but you should always be prepared to pay.
- Always request a receipt when paying for things such as baggage fees or hotel bills.
- Once you are checked in, take time to put all documents and tickets in a safe place.
- Check to be sure only the needed tickets were pulled.
- Be careful about what you say in any language, but especially in English. Many people understand English. Be courteous even if you think no one understands what you are saying. Body language and facial expressions may say more than words. Gestures which are culturally acceptable at home may be totally unacceptable in other cultures.
- While in flight, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Eat moderately. Try to sleep. Exercise by walking the aisles and stretching while sitting.
- Before landing, get your documents in order and take time to ask the Lord for peace and calmness as you go through customs and enter your country.
- Remember you are a guest. Rights and privileges are not guaranteed. Be pleasant, courteous, patient, flexible, and never demanding. Watch for cultural clues in conducting business. Never assume anything will be like it is at home.
- Be friendly, but reserved until you discover how much friendliness is permitted culturally.
- Be cooperative. Don't hesitate to open luggage during immigration inspection (even though you know it will never close again!). Reluctance to cooperate can create difficulty for you. Keep calm!
- If a problem does develop, ask the council of officials how to cope. Usually someone in customs speaks English. If something is confiscated, don't panic. Get a receipt, and then check with your supervisor as to procedure to retrieve the item.
- Once you clear customs, take time to return all documents to a safe place, and then follow directions given by your supervisor in their correspondence with you. If things don't go as planned, call the local contact person using the phone numbers provided to you.
- If approached about being helped (taxi, baggage, shoeshine, etc.) you may politely (but firmly) refuse without explanation. If you decide you want help with your luggage (or it is taken without your consent), keep a very close watch on it. It is generally appropriate to tip for services rendered. Ask for help on this or make your best judgment on how much is reasonable for a tip. As a general rule, settle on the price before the service is performed.
- Beware of your surroundings. This is especially critical in congested areas. Carry wallets in front pocket, use a money belt, or hold purse securely under arm.
- Exercise care in taking pictures - some people are sensitive about pictures and in some countries, picture taking is restricted (governmental/military areas).
- Eat and drink with caution. In general, try to avoid tap water, ice and raw vegetables. Sometimes you may be in situations where it is rude to refuse food served to you by nationals. Check with your supervisor on what is necessary to remain culturally sensitive.
- Always remember to pray for God to protect your stomach. Eat well-cooked food and drink soda or bottled water. Avoid street vendors. Anticipate you may have some stomach upsets just because of changes in diet, time zones, and meal hours, etc.
- Allow for jet lag. Don't plan any serious activities until you have a chance to catch up.
- Keep important documents in a safe place.
THE LORD'S BLESSING ON YOU AS YOU TRAVEL