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Note: We actually wrote these travel safety tips for couples before we heard about the tragic killing of the solo female traveller Sarai Sierra in Turkey last week. Our travel safety tips can be used for solo female travellers (and males) as well as travelling couples.

We get asked a lot of questions regarding travel safety tips for couples because we like stepping outside of our comfort zones. That is not to say that we put ourselves in harms way, we aren’t that stupid. But we travel with open minds rather than being shrouded in fear.

Mint Tea in Egypt

If we heeded everyone’s advice we wouldn’t have enjoyed this mint tea in a local Egyptian market.

6 travel safety tips for couples, before you travel

Don’t listen to what others, mostly the media, have to say.The world is NOT dangerous or unsafe. While there are dangerous people and destinations, they are a really small percentage of the world.

You are probably more likely to get into trouble in your home country rather than from travelling.

Most of the unfortunate bad experiences that happen to travellers arise from them being stupid, drunk or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And it has happened to us. We think we travel smart and our experiences prove that. But we have also had our fair share of things go wrong while travelling.

A broken collarbone, internal bleeding, lost luggage and lost passports to name a few.

Travel Safety Tips for Couples, Broken Collarbone

But after 3 years of travel we think that is pretty good. Especially since we have yet to have anything stolen (touch wood). By using a few simple travel safety tips, we have cut down our risks.

And minimising risks doesn’t start when you begin travelling. Travel safety starts at home before you go.

By using our travel safety tips for couples, and solo travellers, you can minimse your own travel safety concerns.

Before you go: Travel Safety Tips for Couples

These are the travel safety tips you should implement before you actually leave home.

Travel Safety Tips: Do your research before you travel

The first thing you want to do is research the destination. You can quite easily find out from locals, not other tourists, the safest places in a city. Online there are local forums, websites and other travel blogs for every destination in the world.

Read it all and talk to your friends. But please don’t discount somewhere just because of one persons bad experience. Use your own common-sense to decide if you really should go or not.

No two peoples travel adventures are ever the same.

Travel Safety Tips: Buy Travel Insurance that covers everything

So far our travel injury bills after 3+ years have totalled more than $105,000.

Adela broke her collarbone, I ruptured my appendix and had internal bleeding from a snowboarding accident. Luckily our comprehensive travel insurance meant that we were fully covered for the full amounts.

New Zealand Snowboarding Grim Lab

Take a moment to think about what you might get up to while travelling as not all travel insurance is the same. For example, some may include snow adventures and other extreme sports, while others won’t. You can usually add on extras if you know what you what activities you might be doing.

We recommend you check out World Nomads Insurance who will cover most situations. Just be sure to read the fine print.

Travel Safety Tips: Leave your valuables behind

In most countries you should try and blend in and not advertise that you are a tourist. And more importantly, a wealthy tourist. You will likely stick out like a sore thumb anyway, but advertising it by wearing fancy jewellery or carrying an expensive camera around is best avoided.

Adela always leaves her jewellery at home but will usually end up buying something locally made. It supports them and ensures you won’t get your nicest stuff stolen, or lost.

Depending upon where you travel, you may also want to consider leaving laptops and other expensive gear at home. If it is not feasible like us, as we travel with a lot of gear to keep this travel blog running, you can usually lock gear in your room safe or behind the check-in desk.

Much better than carrying it around all day too. You might also want to consider buying a “money belt” (examples here) that wrap around your waist underneath your shirt.

Travel Safety Tips: Get vaccinated

Vaccinations can be quite tricky to organise. We recommend visiting your doctor a few months before you travel to find out what you may need to get vaccinated for.

Some vaccinations/immunisations for certain destinations will actually require you to have several injections over the course of a few months. You may also need to prove to border control that you have been immunised when you travel.

Travel Safety Tips: Scan all your major documents

The final travel safety tip is to make sure you have a copy of all your travel documents. We used to carry around a folder with photocopies of our passports, relevant visas, travel insurance etc. As well as leave copies with our families.

Now we are able to just use Dropbox to store all our important travel documents online. Extra travel tip: We also use Dropbox for storing our photos online so that we won’t ever lose them.

These online copies can then be used if we ever need to print off documents or in case we lose something important while travelling. Of course if you are trekking through remote areas it might be best to print them BEFORE you leave!

Travel Safety Tips: Notify your bank

While notifying your bank that you are going overseas won’t stop your credit cards or money getting stolen. It may stop them (hopefully) from cancelling any cards that they suspect are being used fraudulently while you still have them.

Banks monitor suspected fraudulent use and will stop a card from working if they suspect it has been used in the wrong place. It should only take one phone call to reactivate it but letting them know your travel plans never hurts.

They can also provide advice on who to contact should your cards be stolen. Which means that you should keep a record of your credit card numbers and bank phone numbers if you need to cancel them. Just don’t record the security numbers too!

Do you have any special travel safety tips you do before you leave home?

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Larissa

    February 11, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Great tips-and I’m proud to say we’ve done all of the above 🙂

    I woud also add that it’s good to check into if you’ll need malaria medication where you’re headed, and if so bring the meds with you (or possibly even start the regimen before you leave home).

    • Cole Burmester

      February 11, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      Malaria is a good point Larissa! We haven’t needed it yet so it slipped our minds for the list 🙂

  2. Steph | DiscoveringIce.com

    February 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Great list…we really need to get our docs on Dropbox too!
    Another tip we use is to research and always travel with reputable bus companies, especially in countries like Colombia. It is better to pay a little extra to stay safe, plus we got stuck on a really crappy bus (that was a replacement for another one that never bothered showing up!) because we left it too late to book our tickets. Planning ahead is one of the best ways to avoid being stuck in dangerous situations too!
    Happy and safe travels!
    Steph

    • Cole Burmester

      February 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      Great extra tips Steph! Definitely a good idea paying a little extra for transportation. I have also found that the longer we travel, the less planning I do. I guess I am happier taking chances and going with the flow now 😉

  3. Micki

    February 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Excellent tips.

    I think that sticking to the common sense safety tips you use at home is a great starting point; things like being careful where you walk (especially at night), keeping expensive gear out of sight, and keeping your wits about you when drinking (or having someone watch out for you).

    It’s funny how many people seem to think that when they’re on vacation, and taking a break from their every day lives, that these rules somehow don’t apply any more.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 12, 2013 at 8:18 AM

      Definitely Micki! Like I said, everyone seems to forget their common sense and brains when they travel, when in reality this is when you need both. It is fine to relax, but still be cautious 🙂

  4. Rachel

    February 12, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    I sometimes think of traveling alone, but these kind of tragedy is stopping me, or maybe I’m just not that independent? or brave enough? Maybe flying solo isn’t for everyone.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 12, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      Hey Rachel, thanks for your comment. It is a shame that you are worried about travelling alone but you are right, it isn’t for everyone. I suggest though that you go on Twitter and search for the tag #WeGoSolo. Lots of female solo travellers writing about how safe solo travel is at the moment using that #Hashtag!

  5. Vera

    February 12, 2013 at 5:53 AM

    Good tips! I think you basically have it covered with this post, and I’m glad travel insurance made your list:) I just always try to think ahead of the worst case scenario (comes naturally…) and then try to keep the risk of it happening as small as possible, or the consequences should it happen as less impacty as possible. With that kind of mostly mental preparation I feel more in control. And nothing bad has ever happened to me *knockonwoood* but to be honest, I believe there’s a portion of good luck involved, as well, and it doesn’t matter if you’re travelling or at home when your guardian angel looks away for a second. Also, devastating stuff is always going to be devastating, and it happens at home as well. Stay safe, whereever you are:)!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 12, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      Brilliant points Vera! Mentally preparing is a good idea for any situation. Expecting that nothing will happen to you is probably a bad idea so any preparation is time well spent. And agree that there is luck involved, to a degree anyway 😉

  6. Wends of Journeys and Travels

    February 12, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    great tips and one which I have had yet to do even after traveling solo for sometime now. will definitely get insured 🙂 thanks for this post.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 12, 2013 at 8:41 AM

      We have had wayyyyy too many problems not to travel with insurance any more! Definitely check out World Nomads, they cover everything 🙂

  7. Pingback: #Travel Tag Roundup 2/12: Scotland Views and Travel News - Travel Freak

  8. Jeremy Branham

    February 12, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Yikes on the shoulder injury. Just reading about it sounded pretty gruesome.

    As a budget traveler (most of the time), I pack light and don’t carry many valuable things. However, I did forget to notify my bank on a trip to Europe once. What a pain!

    Another travel tip – don’t go snowboarding with you two 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      February 12, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      Haha definitely don’t go snowboarding with us 😉 They refused to take Adela down in the ambulance until I handed over my credit card too! Crazy.

  9. Suitcase Stories - Nicole

    February 12, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Great tips! I am happy to say we did/do all of these for our travels. We’ve been traveling as a couple full time for almost 12 months now and I think its because we were so prepared that we haven’t run into any problems. It worries me when I hear of travelers not getting travel insurance (to save money!) and your incident just proves why its SO important!

    Thanks for the tips.. I will forward this post to a friend of ours who is just about to take off on a 12 month trip!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 12, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      When we first started travelling we hated buying insurance as we thought it was such a waste of money! Fair to say we were glad we did 😉

  10. Brandon Elijah Scott

    February 12, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Great blog!!

  11. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family

    February 12, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Great tips guys! I get a bit blasé about keeping my electronics locked away when I’m out of my hotel room. I’m thinking I’ll need to get better about it when we travel through Central America. Maybe a pacsafe for our laptop backpack?

    • Cole Burmester

      February 13, 2013 at 7:02 AM

      We haven’t used a pacsafe ourselves, but have heard good things about them. It totally depends on where you are travelling, and while I actually don’t think Central America is any unsafer than Europe, it is probably a good idea!

  12. T.W. Anderson @ Marginal Boundaries

    February 13, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    Most important part of this: don’t trust the media when it comes to safety while traveling, or safety in other countries. This is especially true in Western countries where the media looooves to spread propaganda regarding how “dangerous” and “backwards” other countries are in comparison.

    Otherwise, good notes, especially the insurance if you plan on doing any adventure activities.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 13, 2013 at 7:03 AM

      I am sure that when you tell people that you live in Mexico they freak out and tell you that it is a drug-infested unsafe country because the news told them that! Frustrates me so much. People need to open their own eyes and ears.

  13. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    February 13, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    I thikn I’ve been extremely lucky when I’ve traveled, and that I’ve gotten out of sticky situations unscathed (having my room ransacked in Acapulco while I was down at the pool sticks out at the most potentially dangerous – the door was broken and the wood split!!).

    I’m now struggling with what to do with my eletronic while I walk the Camino de Santiago in August – I would love to take my reflex and Air to document it all, but the thought of carrying them and risking that they could get taken in the albergues makes me nevous (one stolen laptop this year is enough!)

    • Cole Burmester

      February 13, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      As long as you have backed up all your photos and documents before you go, and leave them at home, then I think you should be fine to take your gear with you. Of course making sure that insurance would cover them in the event they were stolen. My friend did it and said she had no problems 😉

  14. Angela

    February 13, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    While I think it’s ridiculous to fuel fear on traveling, either alone or in a group, I also believe dismissing precautions is dangerous. I’ve just been robbed in Fortaleza, Brazil, I didn’t even have my camera, just a small bag with only my keys inside. I was on the beach in the morning with other people around. I confess it scared me how easy it was for that guy just to snatch my bag off my neck. Needless to say, locals had warned me that even if I had a small bag I would have been robbed 99%, but I didn’t believe it was so dangerous. Serves me right, now I’ll sure avoid going out taking photos, either alone or with other people.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 13, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Not quite sure if you are agreeing with our points or not Angela… But that really sucks that you just got robbed! Horrible experience and I am sure it has left a bad taste in your mouth about the area. Hope your luck changes!

  15. Dana

    February 13, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Thanks for the tips! We are getting ready to go on a cruise to Mexico and the Caribbean and this is the 1st time we’ve bought travel insurance. I hope we don’t need it, but we’ve got it if we do!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 13, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      Good idea getting the travel insurance. The one time you forget you will need it!

  16. Ali

    February 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Male, female, couples, solo, we all need pretty much the same safety precautions. Definitely get your vaccines, though weigh the pros and cons of malaria pills and if the area you’re going to *really* has a risk for it. I try not to bring anything with me I wouldn’t mind losing, although I would be devastated to lose my camera or laptop. And good tips on scanning your documents and notifying the bank, I always do those too. Luckily I’ve never had any issues, but always worth taking that simple step to protect yourself.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 13, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      Probably one of the reasons why you have never had any issues is because you are so prepared Ali 😉

  17. Val-This Way To Paradise

    February 14, 2013 at 4:37 AM

    Great advice!! Thank you…

  18. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    February 14, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    More info about the travel medical insurance you guys have….we gave up our US insurance policy years ago because it was a waste of money that did us no good on the road. Not happy to have no coverage so let us know the name of the company you guys are covered with…

    • Cole Burmester

      February 15, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      The insurance we had while we were in North America covered everything but was organised through a company in New Zealand called IEP. They help with visas etc. We definitely recommend World Nomads now though as they will cover every situation. The link is in the post 😉 I am sure they would love to work with you guys too as you are completely unique!

  19. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    February 17, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    Great tips, and ones we usually follow as well! I’m surprised by how many people I come across who are afraid to travel — or who are afraid to travel outside of group tours — simply because of a few fears that could be easily addressed.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 18, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      We get asked about our safety all the time. Even for countries that basically have no risk. Most peoples own cities are probably more dangerous than the places we visit!

  20. Linda McCormick

    February 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Here’s one more travel safety tip: don’t wear your passport/money pouch around your neck… on the outside of your clothes! If I had a dollar for the amount of times I’ve seen this I would be a very rich woman.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 18, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      I know! I totally don’t get why you would be a pouch if you were just going to leave it in plain sight!

  21. Mary - Green Global Travel

    February 20, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Great tips. I’m especially a fan of photo copying all the contents of your wallet.

  22. The Guy

    March 4, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Some good tips here, thanks for sharing. I think travel insurance is the one most and you should always seek the best deal, not the cheapest.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 5, 2013 at 8:18 AM

      Getting the right travel insurance is definitely one of the main travel safety tips you should do before you travel. And you are totally right, cheapest is not a very good option!

  23. Suzanne

    March 8, 2013 at 6:10 AM

    The most important thing to consider is the safety prior travelling. Getting a reliable insurance is a wise step but it’s wiser to research all the details of the place where you’re heading to avoid any problems. When you are well-informed about a certain place and you get the idea on how and what to act in the instance that you’re already in that place. Blogs and travel magazines are great resources.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 8, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      Definitely agree with you Suzanne 😉 Can’t prepare enough before you travel. But you also want an openmind and lots of flexibility!

  24. Liz

    March 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    I would also say one of the most important things to do is READ the terms and conditions of your travel insurance. What is omitted? Can you claim for the same thing twice e.g. theft? It’s worth paying more for travel insurance if the terms and conditions are good.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      Great points Liz! You can’t be too careful with insurance, and what looksmlike a good deal couldmend up costing you more money in the long run.

  25. cuttysark

    March 31, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Nice Tips!

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Travel Tips

Why Traveling Alone Can Be The Best Experience

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When you think of traveling, you might think of a big family vacation, a group of friends setting off to see the world, or perhaps a couple’s romantic getaway. What you might not think of is traveling by yourself. However, solo traveling can be an amazing experience, and there are so many benefits that if you’ve been tempted to visit a far-flung destination but didn’t have anyone to go with, you really should just book your tickets and head off to explore! Read on for more details, and you’re sure to understand what we mean.

It’s All Down To You

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

One of the most significant benefits of traveling alone is that every decision you make is yours entirely. You get to choose where you go, to begin with, without having to compromise because other people you are traveling with want to go somewhere else. You can pick the hotel that you like the look of best, or choose to stay in a hostel or camp out if you prefer. You can go out on day trips or spend a relaxing day by the pool playing games on Unibet. You can make your own itinerary and not have to work on someone else’s time frame. If you decide you don’t like a place, you can move on somewhere else without having to persuade anyone else to. It’s an amazingly freeing feeling.

You Can Meet New People

“Wherever we travel to, the wonderful people we meet become our family.” –

Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!

Meeting new people is one of the joys of traveling, and according to Psychology Today making friends is essential, but it can be hard to do when you’re in a group or traveling as part of a couple. First, it can mean that you tend to stick with the people you already know because there is no real need to look outward to other travelers or even the locals around you.

Secondly, even if you did want to make new friends, those around you who might have struck up a conversation if you had been on your own could choose instead to stay away because they feel you are already with your friends and aren’t looking to meet anyone new.

Either way, you can miss out on some fantastic, life-long friendships in this way and that can be a big regret which Pocketmindfulness.com explains is not a healthy way to live.

You Can Find Yourself

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle

It may sound strange to say that you can find yourself when you travel alone, and it might not initially be something you think you want to do. However, if you can start to understand what it is that makes you happy, what fills you with joy, what you want from life and even how you intend to get it. When you return home, you will be more powerful and better able to do whatever it is you want, without compromise, and without damaging your mental health or your personality.

Understanding more about yourself is fundamental to living the best life you can, and when you are traveling alone this is a much easier thing to do!

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Travel Tips

A Vape Guide to Travelling Across the Globe

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Not only is vaping becoming increasingly popular across the globe, but it’s contributing to a decline in the number of active smokers. To illustrate this, the number of vapers rose from 7 million in 2011 to 35 million just five years later, while research group Euromonitor estimates that the number of adults who vape will reach 55 million by 2021.

At the same time, the number of smokers has continued to decline falling from 1.14 billion to 1.1 billion since the turn of the century. In the domestic market, there’s no doubt that firms like VIP  Premium Vaping and E-Liquids have played a key in driving this trend, with a robust regulatory framework has also proved beneficial.

While vaping is legal and practiced widely in the UK, however, the same cannot be said for other jurisdictions in the world. With this in mind, here’s brief guide for travelling vapers and what they can expect when visiting various locations across the globe.

Europe

If you’re travelling inside the EU, the chances are that you’ll benefit from relatively vape-friendly regulations that enable you to indulge this popular pastime.

The regulatory framework in this jurisdiction is governed by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD2), which provides clear guidelines for the quality of products. Back in November, there was a further exchange of vaping regulations within the UK, as MEPs looked to maintain a framework that drives innovation while also protecting the interests on single market customers.

Still, the attitude to vaping varies from one member state to another, and as while the EU provides a basic framework each country is free to impose its own laws.

So, you’ll need to review the guidelines associated with your chosen destination when heading to the EU to ensure that you can comply fully.

Asia

As you may expect, regulators and lawmakers in Asia take an entirely different approach to vaping.

In fact, this practice is probibited in some jurisdictions, where those who are found vaping or in possession of certain materials could face considerable sanctions.

This is particularly true in Thailand, where individuals caught vaping could face a prison sentence of between five and 10 years. In Singapore, individuals found guilty of vaping could face a fine of up to $5,000, so anyone visiting here is advised to leave their vape kit at home.

The landscape in India is a little more confusing, as this nation is home to 108 million smokers and its population have fully embraced vaping in recent times. Despite this and the fact that vaping is not officially illegal in India, there have been instances of people being sentenced to prison for selling kits and cartridges to customers.

The Middle East and Other Jurisdictions Outside the EU

Elsewhere, there’s a wide range of regulatory approaches that need to be considered by travelling vapers.

This is particularly true outside of the EU, while it’s also important to note that many of these jurisdictions have little or no safety rules with regards to e-liquids.

This means that you should avoid buying e-liquids abroad in most instances, unless you have knowledge of the market and its safety standards.

You’ll also need to pack your vape kit sensibly when travelling, as you look to remove all batteries, put your vape kit in a case and limit your e-liquid carry-on to just 100ml. The failure to do this could prove highly detrimental, with many vapers travelling to Dubai having had their kits confiscated on arrival.  

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Asia

Why 2019 Is the Best Time to Visit Japan

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It would be easy to argue that there is no bad time to visit Japan. With a centuries-old culture, some of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and stunning natural beauty, there is a reason that “travel to Japan” appears on so many bucket lists.

That being said, there are several reasons why 2019 is shaping up to be the best time to finally book that vacation to the Land of the Rising Sun. In fact, Japan itself is working hard to attract more tourists, with a stated goal of bringing 40 million people to visit the country by 2020. So, grab your passport and pack your bags, because now is the time to go.

1. Beat the Olympic Crowds

Tokyo won the bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, meaning that hundreds of thousands of athletes and spectators will be descending upon the tiny island nation during July and August of 2020 — and beyond. Hotels are already filling up for dates around the Games, making 2019 the ideal time to travel to Japan if you want to avoid crowds. Construction of some Olympic venues is still ongoing, but the country has already invested in infrastructure, entertainment and more to attract tourists. This year will be your chance to see Japan at its finest without the huge crowds and high prices that the Olympics will undoubtedly bring.

2. New and Exciting Accommodations

When Tokyo won the Olympic bid, it did so despite a projected shortage of 41,000 hotel rooms throughout the country. As a result, since 2013, there has been significant investment in hotels and other accommodations, to the tune of approximately $4.9 billion. This investment includes constructing new hotels, as well as expanding and upgrading existing facilities. Travelers have more options than ever before when it comes to finding a place to stay, with options ranging from familiar Western-style hotels to Japanese inns and beds and breakfasts that offer a glimpse into Japanese culture along with a place to stay.

3. Improved Attractions

Japan has no shortage of attractions for tourists, but with the renewed focus on attracting visitors from outside Asia, the government has made some significant changes to major attractions to make them friendlier to visitors. For instance, in 2016, the Japanese government opened the Akasaka Palace in the heart of Tokyo to the public for the first time ever. Built as an Imperial Palace for the Crown Prince in 909, since the mid-1970s this European Baroque-style palace has been used as a guest house for visiting dignitaries. A similar palace can be found in Kyoto and was also opened to the public in 2016.

Japan’s leaders have also taken steps to make the country’s national parks more appealing to foreign visitors. During the multi-year initiative, the Ministry of the Environment has taken steps to more effectively market the parks to foreign visitors and made improvements within the parks themselves, such as adding new signage and information in multiple languages and making it easier to access especially scenic areas. With all of these preparations expected to be in place by the beginning of 2020, 2019 is a great time to enjoy them without major crowds.

4. Eased Travel Restrictions

Currently, travelers coming from 66 countries worldwide — including the U.S. — can enter Japan without a visa. In fact, Japan has recently eased visa restrictions for multiple Asian countries, including China, Thailand and Malaysia, as well as India, and seen a significant increase in tourism as a result. Americans wishing to visit Japan can do so with a valid passport and return ticket and stay up to 90 days. Your passport needs to be valid for the entire length of your stay in Japan, and you should expect to be photographed and fingerprinted when you enter the country. Otherwise, there aren’t any visa requirements for U.S. tourists.

In 2016, Japan also changed the rules regarding tax-free shopping for tourists. Generally speaking, items purchased by tourists to take home are tax free, provided that you meet certain restrictions. Shopping tax-free also requires carrying your passport with you while you shop, but it can save you a significant amount of money. Shopkeepers are familiar with the rules and can help you.

Japan is going to great lengths to attract new visitors in the coming years. With all of these tourist-friendly changes taking place, it’s easy to see why 2019 is the best time to visit Japan.

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