Many U.S. investors routinely avoid international investing, choosing instead to count on domestic giants to provide exposure to the global economy. But international investing can boost your overall returns versus simply keeping all your money in U.S. stocks.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, discusses three things that many people don't know about international investing. Dan begins with the observation that not all stocks trade in major U.S. exchanges, making it difficult to obtain shares of Nestle and Daimler without going directly to the foreign exchanges on which their shares trade. But Petroleo Brasileiro (NYSE:PBR), Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), and hundreds of other international stocks trade on the NYSE and Nasdaq through the use of American depositary receipts, facilitating trading for U.S. investors.

Second, Dan notes that international investing requires comfort with currency impacts. In general, a weak foreign currency can hurt investment returns for U.S. investors in stocks in a particular country. But exceptions exist, as export giants Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) and Sony (NYSE:SONY) have done well lately precisely because the Japanese yen has been weak. Finally, Dan concludes by noting that you can't count on U.S. securities laws and disclosure requirements to apply in all foreign countries, making it necessary to take care to avoid nasty surprises.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.