International Travel Needn’t be an Olympic Event

Unless you’ve been disconnected the past month, you’ve caught wind of the growing juggernaut of excitement/anticipation building around what is being billed as the world’s greatest assemblage of athletes to date – the 2012 Olympic Games. Whether you’re fortunate to attend the games in person, or like many of us at home, carrying a torch for a favorite athlete or event, the pomp and pageantry of the Olympics crosses geographic boundaries to connect us all.   

 True, overseas travel can be exhilarating – but sometimes planning for travel abroad can be overwhelming for even the most intrepid of travelers. With more than 500,000 visitors expected to descend upon the U.K. this summer, London’s travel and transportation systems are sure to be busy, resulting in flight delays and other travel disruptions. Follow this advice anytime you venture abroad, especially if you’re still making your way to the Games, and your international travel won’t be an Olympic event.

 Research before you go. No matter where you’re going, travel is always easier when you have a plan. Especially when abroad, where different customs, expectations and habits can leave you feeling disoriented, planning activities in advance can help you avoid paying more than you have to and make the most of your vacation time. Get started with this handy destination planner for tips on international calling, embassy information and more.

 Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.If you need help, the State Department can better assist you in an emergency when you advise what your travel plans are here. Signing up will help the State Department contact you if there is a family emergency in the U.S., or if there is a crisis in the country to which you are traveling.

 Go social. It’s hard to believe that when the last Olympics began, in 2008, the iPhone had been on sale for barely a year. The app revolution was still to come. Four years later, many travelers don’t visit the restroom without consulting their favorite app. This year, the 2012 games, dubbed the first “Socialympics”, will see social networks on fire as people around the world follow Olympic action from multiple devices and across multiple platforms. You’ll be a step ahead during this year’s games with the best new Olympics apps for Android or Apple. And make sure to check in on the games through the official Olympics Facebook portal where you can see what’s trending and be a part of the fun.  

 Good Samaritan tourist advisors: While it might seem like a good idea to ask locals about recommended sights in their home country, beware of strangers posing ashelpful locals. Solution: Get directions from a Smartphone app or the concierge at your hotel.

 Get 24/7 travel assistance with a travel insurance plan that can help with travel advisories, referrals, emergency cash transfer assistance, language interpretation assistance and much more. Learn more about Olympics travel and travel insurance here.



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