You've seen the suckers in the papers and on the news — people who got ripped off in a foreign country and are in shock. You quietly scoff at their naiveté as you get into an odd-looking cab in a foreign country … and end up penniless on a back road in the middle of nowhere. How could you have avoided this?At the Airport
Do your research on a foreign country before you go. Know the layout of the airport before you come off the jetway — have an idea of where the baggage claim is, where the taxi stand is, where the hotel shuttle should be. Don't allow locals to “assist” with your bags — unless you really want the help, that is. You'll end up tipping everyone left and right at best, and being the victim of a scam at worst.
Before you rent a car on your honeymoon, ask yourself if you really need one. Some foreign countries have very strict legal policies following accidents (i.e., you could end up in their jail). If you're visiting a big city, you'll have public transportation at your disposal, which will cost you far less than the cost of renting a car for a week. It's also very expensive to park a car in a city garage, and often impossible to find parking on the street.
Try to use the airport or hotel shuttle service to get to your resort. They're simply often the safest form of transportation.Elsewhere
If your hotel room has a safe, use it. But be aware that if it's an electronic safe, insiders at certain hotels have been known to find ways to de-code your combination. Always wipe down the numbers with a damp cloth after you lock the safe so that your fingerprints can't be lifted off the numbers you've used.
Don't walk around carrying a map in your hand. You might as well take a permanent marker and write “Tourist” on your forehead. You'll be perceived as an easy mark by pickpockets and thieves.
Change some of your money into the local currency before you leave, and never flash around large amounts of cash. Instead of putting your money in a wallet (or having your bride keep it in her purse), use a money belt. Sure, it looks like something your dad would wear, but it's a better way to hang on to your money.
Know the tipping customs where you are. For example, many European countries add the gratuity into your hotel and restaurant bill; this is also customary in many all-inclusive resorts. Unless you like throwing money around twice, you don't need to double-tip anyone.Passports
Leaving the country? Not if your passport isn't up to date. Don't know the first thing about passports? Don't be intimidated. Getting one is relatively easy … if you don't have anything to hide, that is.
You can find the application itself (and loads of passport information) on the Department of State's Web site at
You haven't the slightest idea of where to find a passport acceptance facility? You're worried that you'll have to travel many miles (and may actually need a passport) to locate one? You won't. If you live near a sizable post office, start your search there; you might also find one located in your county court or county offices.
If your current passport has expired or you've never had a passport, you need to identify yourself when you submit your application. To this end, you'll need the following:
Proof of U.S. citizenship (your original birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or previous passport).
Proof of identification. This can include a valid driver's license or military ID.
Two passport photos. These can be taken at many one-hour photo shops. There are regulations as to the size (2″ × 2″) and the content (you must be facing forward, for example — no mug shots allowed).
Fee. Currently, the fee totals $85.
Generally speaking, passports take about six weeks to find their way into your hands. Give yourself at least three months to allow for any glitches — and more time than that, if you have it, just to be on the safe side.
There are Web sites that promise to aid you in obtaining your passport much faster than the standard six weeks it takes for mere mortals to receive theirs (the expedited times range from twenty-four hours to several weeks). Since you won't wait till the last minute to get the passport ball rolling (will you?), you probably won't need to look into these services. If you want your passport