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What You Need to Know Before Your First Trip Abroad

Most foreign countries have easily accessible A.T.M.s that will accept credit and debit cards from U.S. banks. But before you leave for your trip, look up your bank’s fees and policies for withdrawing cash at international A.T.M.s and see if they’re part of the Global A.T.M. Alliance Network or Allpoint network. If so, and you use an in-network A.T.M., you can at least avoid usage fees, though you’ll probably still be charged an international transaction fee.

The most effective way to beat jet lag, according to a study published in Sleep Medicine Clinics, is to set your circadian rhythm — the internal clock that tells you when to be sleepy and when to be alert — to your new time zone as fast as possible. “We recommend resetting the circadian clock at least partially toward the destination time zone before flying,” the study’s authors write.

This can be tricky if you live in San Francisco and you’re traveling to London, but the closer you can get to your destination time, the better. That might mean going to bed earlier or getting up early, depending on the time zone.

When your flight lands in your destination city, you’ll probably be itching to get out of the airport. In addition to taxi service, most international airports are equipped with direct commuter trains or shuttles that will take you to the city center, and you’ll follow the baggage claim signs to the appropriate shuttle or train stop. At London’s Heathrow Airport, for example, you can take the Heathrow Express to get to Central London. And the Leonardo Express shuttle at Fiumicino airport will take you to Rome’s central train station, Termini.

Of course, most airports also have cheaper public transportation options that may be a little trickier to navigate. You can take the London Underground from Heathrow on the Picadilly line, for example, but you’ll have to figure out which stops and transfers to make to get to your final destination. Google Maps is an excellent navigator, but research your route beforehand so you’re prepared upon arrival (especially if the airport lacks free Wi-Fi). You can find train prices, schedules and connecting shuttle information on the airport’s website, or use a database like iFly or World Airport Guides, which list transit information for airports around the world.

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