I’m pretty sure that most people know about this but there are some people that do not – in order to travel to a foreign country you need a passport. And for certain countries, you are required to have a visa meaning a special stamp or paperwork from that country’s embassy or consulate. Apparently, only 30% of all Americans have a passport which is very low for a developed country which also makes it pretty interesting fact to note. No, I take that back. It’s actually kind of scary to hear that most Americans have never travelled to a foreign country and have never experienced the beauty of a different country and culture despite any challenges/hardships that might have to be occurred. I feel that it’s a great thing to travel as you become more appreciative of the things you had back home versus being in a foreign land (such as home having running hot water on order while some places don’t have any to begin with). But in order to enjoy being in a foreign country, you’ll need a passport to have the doors open for you.
A passport shows a country’s government officials who exactly you are by providing the following information of where you were born, birth date, gender, nationality, home address, photograph, height, and weight. Generally, countries will also require you to fill out some of their own forms in order to get more information on you for their own records and quite possibly for their tourist statistic purposes. A customs official will look at both the passport and forms and then make the determination if you can be allowed into the country. Respect and courtesy play a big role as some obnoxious travelers tried to play the role of “I’m an American and I can come into your country since we’re the most powerful!” That is not going to work as these bad guests were generally detained (probably still today) and immediately put back on the next plane to their home country without ever visiting the country itself. What makes it worse is that the badly behaved have to pay for their air ticket back home.
The same can apply if you do not have the proper documentation. For example, you might need a visa which I explained earlier. It’s important to check with the state department and the country’s embassy or consulate for more details on how to enter the country you intend to go to. That way you don’t become a fool and waste money flying into a country only to be kicked out because you didn’t know the rules and regulations. Many have done the same thing without doing any research, only to find out that they are going back home right away. Don’t be that person! Do your research on what each foreign country requires for entrance as well as for the exit out. Once you do that, the customs and immigration officials should let you into the country without any hassle. On a side note, I’ve noticed that when I speak the local language, I get much better respect rather than try to impose my culture and/or language onto them. This also tells the borders/immigration officials that I know what I’m doing and where I’m going so I won’t be a nuisance to them.
And lastly remember this if you forgot what I wrote. All foreign countries require its visitors to have a passport so if you don’t have one, you will have to apply for one. That is the first step to travel by having a passport so remember its importance as every world traveler can attest to. Also keep a copy of it on yourself in case of any questioning by police; I’ve been asked once by a policeman late at night who was I and I explained to him that I was a foreign tourist going out to buy some water because I was thirsty due to the heat. He asked me for my passport which I responded that I only had a copy of my passport and he was content with it. Problem solved.