Travel is exciting, especially when you will be exploring somewhere out of your regular realm. It is important, however, to be aware and safeguard yourself from possible situations that could potentially ruin your vacation.Important Travel DocumentsYou cannot travel anywhere without a passport or visa these days, so safeguarding your travel documents are a priority. Have a photocopy or two of your passport/visa located somewhere safe in your luggage, not in a carry-on. It is also a good idea to scan your passport and leave it with someone at home like a friend or family member so you will have an electronic copy on file in the event your documents are lost or stolen.Look Out for Pricey Exchange RatesUsing your credit cards when you travel is usually the best and safest idea. Just in case, before you leave for your trip, call your credit card companies and ask them if they charge any special fees for international charges. Keep in mind that exchange rates at border crossings and embassies will offer you better rates also.Let Credit Card Companies Know You Will Be TravelingIf you are suddenly using your card like crazy in another country, your credit card supplier may suspect theft and freeze your account. Let them know you will be out of the country so they don’t “flag” your account so you cannot use it.Be Careful How You Pack Your Carry-On LuggageHave your essentials with you, such as your identification, boarding passes and passports. Also keep any jewelry you want to bring, a change of clothes, and any important medication you may need just in case your luggage is lost.Blend In Wherever You Go!Whatever you do, try not to act like a tourist! Be aware of how you dress and carry yourself so you don’t stand out. Tourists are often unfortunate targets of thieves, so it is important that you always remain aware of your surroundings. It is a good idea to carry a “decoy” wallet with you with a few useless credit cards and a small amount of money in the event you are robbed, the thief will take off quickly, and you will have lost virtually nothing because of the crime.Respect Local PeopleRemember – you are on THEIR turf, so behave yourself like you are a guest in their home. Before you leave for your trip, learn as much as you can about local customs and traditions, perhaps even learning a little of their language. It’s always interesting and fun to ask local residents to recommend their favorite places to eat and visit and they will love you for this. They typically take a lot of pride in where they live and love to share information with you. This is a perfect opportunity for you to soak up a unique travel experience!Miscellaneous TipsBefore you leave, check out websites such as the U.S. Department of State International Travel Information. Make sure you are aware of any and all warnings or travel alerts.Protect yourself by purchasing a good travel insurance policy, especially when traveling internationally. Register your credit cards with one company that specializes in protecting you if your cards are lost or stolen, such as Holiday Secure (the information for this service, among others, can be found on my website). This way, one simple process will protect you and your family from fraud, identity theft, or criminal use.When traveling internationally to a new location, thinking ahead and careful planning is a must. I hope these tips help you have a wonderful and safe vacation!