International travel realities

March 06, 2022

 International travel is a fantastic experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation. It’s been alarming hearing about foreigners, particularly those of color, who have not been given the same opportunity to get out of Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion. There are many rights travelers cannot assume when they travel internationally. Here are a few realities international travelers should bear in mind.

More than a travel visa.
Many travelers to foreign destinations need to know more than whether a travel visa is required. So many travelers make foreign destinations seem like a dream, but for many travelers with a particular lifestyle, some countries can be a nightmare. This reality is particularly true for many travelers of the LGBT+ community. But not only do travelers of certain lifestyles need to be vigilant, having a particular passport can make some travelers more vulnerable than others.

Travelers are guests.
Not many travelers read the fine print of the entry documents they receive. However, if travelers chose to read the fine print, they would realize that they are only in the country as a guest and have some limitations to their rights. Understanding what safety precautions and laws they need to consider when entering a foreign country should be necessary to all travelers. Breaking laws in another country can be a long and challenging process with lifelong repercussions.

Register with your embassy.
Even though you may not plan on being in a country for an extended time, registering with the embassy is a smart thing to do when traveling internationally. Registration allows you to have access to assistance from your country of citizenship in the case of an emergency. Registering is a free and voluntary service and may seem inconsequential to many travelers, but priceless in the case of an emergency abroad. Please consider the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) if you plan to travel internationally. If you have an accident, illness, or become a victim of crime, your STEP enrollment can be an asset.

Be aware of travel scams.
Certain destinations are known for specific travel scams, so international travelers should be aware of any possible scams before arriving at their destination. Some travelers become potential victims from the time they enter the country. Victimization can happen in taxis when drivers drive around to increase the fare, to human traffickers who are on the lookout for single travelers to exploit. It’s essential to be aware and vigilant when in any foreign destination.

Having traveled internationally as a career has given me a more careful and objective view of foreign travel. While I encourage travel, I also am a strong proponent of travel care and preparation. Have you ever found yourself in a precarious situation when traveling? I’d like to know.

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