Guru Travel Tips of Planning for your Overseas Trips

At provides most accurate and complete Tips and Tricks for your Health and Safety during your Trip.

  •   This is the U.S. State Department’s homepage.

  •     This is the U.S. State Department’s Services web page.  It contains links to the services the U.S. State Department provides for travelers.  Many are linked to this web page for your convenience.

  •  This is the U.S. State Department’s Travel Publication web page.  It contains links to foreign travel publications, produced by the U.S. State Department.  They are available on-line.  These publications address a wide range of issues for both the business and vacationing traveler.

  • If you're renting a car, check the local driving regulations and restrictions.

  • Find out if an international driver’s license or special insurance is necessary.

  • Check with the rental company to make sure that you meet the country's requirements.  A few countries have minimum and maximum age restrictions.

  • Are you required to purchase a special permit to drive in that country ?

  • Remember, road signs will probably be in unfamiliar languages.  The alphabet may be different   The colors, shapes and designs of the signs are often different than those in the United States.

  • Lane direction may be opposite of those in our country.

  • Gasoline, petrol or fuel costs are usually much higher and are often sold by the liter.  (3.78 liters = 1 gallon)

  • In many countries, road conditions are much more dangerous than in the United States.

  • Some countries, such as Germany, have ultra modern highways that allow much higher rates of speed than in the United States.  It is essential to stay out of the fast lane unless you are passing.  If you want to travel at the high rates of speed, you are free to do so..

  • Of course every country has its own rules and regulations.  Below are a list of some that you may want to consider.

  • Do you need an international driver’s license or permit, in addition to your U.S. driver’s license ?

  • Remember that the rental agreemant may not be in English.  Ask if they can provide a rental contract or an explanation of the contract, in English.  See if they have an English speaking counter agent available when you check the car out.

  • Often, your personal coverage or credit card insurance may not be valid or sufficient in the eyes of the rental company.  You may be required to purchase extra coverage.

  • Most foreign rental fleets are composed of much smaller cars than we are used to.

  • Many have manual transmissions in most of their cars.

  • The gauges will probably read in the metric system, (100 kilometers = 60 miles).

  • The tax rates on foreign rentals is usually much higher than in the U.S.

  • Many countries have both a minimum and a maximum rental age.  Be sure before you book.

  • Check the research links page.  It is an internal page that contains links and descriptions of sites helpful in planning a trip overseas.  To make it easier, many of the links are also in appropriate sections of the site.  The main page condenses all the links into one location.
  •   Look on the American Automobile Association’s International Driving Permit web page.  It contains information on how to get your International Driving Permit.  The permit, used in conjunction with your valid U.S. driver’s license, is valid in 150 countries.  Check out the site’s IDP FAQ link for further information.
  •   This contains valuable information on traffic codes, road signs, parking and driving vocabulary. It can be essential for anyone  planning to drive in Europe or other foreign countries.
  • Learn as much as possible about your destination.

  • See what the climate and weather is like during the time that you will be visiting.

  • Check into any safety or health warnings at your destination.

  • Determine whether you will need a passport to visit the country.  If so, be sure that your passport is current and valid.  Note that a few countries won't  let you in if the passport expires within six months of your return home.  Extend or re-new it if you are close to the expiration date.

  • Find out if any visas are needed to enter the country.

  • Will any other type of paperwork or documentation be needed for you to visit any country on your itinerary ?

  • What type of diseases are common to the area ?  Take any precautions necessary to prevent exposure.

  • Are vaccinations or inoculations needed to enter the country ?   In some cases, there are medications that you can take before, during and after your trip to lessen your chances of getting sick.

  • Check to see what type of electrical outlets are used in your destination country.  You will probably need a converter or adapter to keep from blowing up your razor or hairdryer !

  • Look over your medical coverage carefully to determine the type of coverage you have while travelling abroad.  Think about purchasing additional trip insurance.

  • Research the costs of local items that you want to purchase, so that you can set a budget.   Remember to allow for taxes and tipping,  Most foreign countries impose high taxes on travel related services.

  • Check the financial section or travel section of your newspaper for currency exchange rates.  This should help to give you an idea of how much cash you’ll need to take along.

  • Do your homework with U.S. Customs and find out what items can and cannot be brought back into the country.

  • Learn some basic words and phrases in the language of the country that you're visiting. 

  • Find out the dates of local holidays in the various destination countries.  Services will probably be limited or unavailable on those dates.

  • If renting a car, check into local road conditions, laws and any special driving requirements.

  • Remember, most of the rest of the world is on the metric system, so try learn some of it.   Example:  One kilometer = .62 miles so 100 kilometers per hour = 62 miles per hour.

Learn a few words and phrases and try to build a small vocabulary in each language before you go.  Even a few words and phrases of a local language can increase your enjoyment, safety and comfort during your stay.  Below are some suggestions, with a few words and phrases to consider learning to assist in awkward situations.

  • How do I get to ….?

  • How much is ……?

  • How many….?

  • May I have….?

  • Where is the…….?

  • When is the…..?

  • What time is…..?

  • I need help.

  • I don’t understand.

  • Would you please speak slower.

  • I don’t speak much …

  • Does anyone here speak English ?

  • Please, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me, may I ?, hello, goodbye.

  • Yes, no,  I accept, I decline, I agree, I disagree, I don't know..

  • Learn the names of any foods to which your are sensitive or allergic.

  • Memorize the names of any of your medical conditions, medications or allergies.

  • Fire exit, emergency exit, help, police, doctor, hospital.

  • Telephone, taxi, bus and bus terminal, train and train station, airport, rental car office, auto repair.

  • Toll Road, prohibited, forbidden, exit ramp, entrance ramp, detour, parking, danger, construction, closed.

  • Post Office, Tourist Office, Customs Office, Bank, Embassy, Consulate

  • Basic numbers from one to twenty.

  • Restaurant, hotel, bar.

  • Left, right, up down. 

  • North, South, East, West.

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