Americans take about three billion trips every year, resulting in a three trillion dollar expenditure on travel annually. The majority of these trips are domestic travels (about two billion trips). The rest are international travels (about 90 million trips). Domestic travels are considered the most straightforward kind of travel as it is just within the country. First-timers usually don’t have a hard time with this kind of travel arrangement. Children aged five above can even travel domestically without accompaniment from their parents. It is in international travel that most first-time Americans have a hard time doing.
International travel can be a daunting task for first-timers. There are a variety of reasons why they would travel to another country. Some might be doing it for their studies. Some might be doing it for their business. Some do it to emigrate to another country. About 8.7 million Americans live abroad, and thousands of Americans relocate to another country every year. If it’s your first time traveling abroad, here are some things you should know before leaving the US.
As a citizen of the United States, you’re going to need a passport before leaving the country. This is essential and most likely than not, you’ll be asked for your passport before you can even buy airfare to another country. You can secure a passport in various ways. Some immigrants require to consult their immigration lawyer before securing a US passport. If you’re not inherently born in the US, you’ll probably need the same service. However, if you are already a citizen of the United States, you can secure a passport online. In most cases, this is all the legal material you’ll need.
You can spend a decent amount of days in another country with the use of your US passport. However, this depends on the country. For example, you can spend 90 days in Argentina and six months in the United Kingdom. In some situations, you’re going to need a visa to enter another country, like China. Visas can be more challenging to apply for when compared to passports, and it requires you to have a passport before you can apply for one.
There may be some other legalities you have to take care of that is unique to your situation. It’s always good to consult professionals such as lawyers regarding these legal manners.
Also read: Why Should You Travel More?
Immigration Officers Can be Scary!
In some situations, the immigration officer you might meet during your first international travel might be mean and rude to you. This is a normal occurrence in some countries. Remember that these officers have to keep an eye out for potential smugglers and traffickers. They also have to watch out for criminals trying to leave the country. This is a part of their job, and it can be quite stressful. As long as you answer their questions courteously and decisively, you should be fine.
The common questions that immigration officers may ask you–and this usually happens if they know that you’re a first-time international flier–is that if you have a place to stay in the country you are visiting and the reason for your travel. On some occasions, they might even ask you regarding the address of the place you are staying.
If you’re an adult, they might also ask you for your work ID. They might also ask some questions regarding your work. As long as you answer these questions appropriately, they have no reason to detain you. But if you act suspicious and do not answer these questions, they have a reason to detain you. This can lead you to miss your flight, depending on the circumstances.
Be Prepared to Pay More than You Expect
In some situations, there might be fees you need to pay for when you enter another country. Some countries require you to pay terminal fees, while some require you to pay tourist tax. These are common occurrences, and you should prepare for them. You should also have some money saved for transportation.
Some airports don’t have the banks we have in the US, and if you don’t have access to any cash, it might be hard for you to utilize public transportation if you need it. This is why you should always have money on you when you travel. Make sure to bring a decent amount, too, because you never know what else you’ll need once you’ve reached the airport.
Here are some things you should know before leaving the US. Once you have this knowledge, you should be prepared for your upcoming international trip. Take care and good luck!