Traveling abroad can be an exciting and life changing experience. You will be exposed to different cultures, climates and ways of life. You will gain perspective as you get to see the world in a whole new way and meet exciting people in their home environment. In order to get the most of your travels and not feel the effects of traveling those long distances it is crucial that you prepare for your trip.
Planning Your Trip Abroad
Before you pack your bags and take off, find out all you can about the places you are visiting. Information about various destinations can be found at travel agencies, tourist offices, travel guides, and on the Web. The more you know about the place before visiting, the more relaxed your trip will be.
Be sure to have your travel documents in order. You will need a passport as well as any necessary visas for the countries you plan to visit before confirming your travel plans.
Plan your trip. Make your travel plans well in advance whenever possible. It can be quite difficult to get reservations at the last moment in a foreign country, especially if you do not understand the language.
Budget your expenditures. Try to estimate your average cost per day (food, accommodation, and sightseeing). Remember to factor in travel insurance, emergencies, and shopping as well!
Purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance usually covers many factors like missed flights, lost baggage, and medical emergencies. For a few extra dollars it can save you not only money, but your vacation as well – not to mention peace of mind.
Avoid looking like a tourist. Dress conservatively and be inconspicuous with your camera and map. Leave your expensive jewelry in your hotel safe - or better yet, at home. An affluent appearance makes you a more attractive target for thieves.
Protect your valuables. Carry your valuables in concealed inside pockets or in a sturdy bag that closes securely and has a strap across your chest. Handbags, outside pockets, open shoulder bags, and fanny packs are all easy prey for pickpockets and thieves.
Identify your luggage. Put your name, address, and telephone number on the inside as well as the outside of every piece of luggage. This will help in identifying your luggage if it is lost or stolen.
Credit cards. Note the credit limit on your credit cards. In some countries, you can get arrested for exceeding your limit. Keep a copy of the contact numbers of your credit card companies with you. Usually the toll free numbers are not valid outside of the country of issue.
Packing for Traveling Abroad
Pack a day bag. A day bag is a bag that is big enough to fit in what you may need for a day’s sightseeing. Messenger bags, back packs, and folding totes are all good choices because they are large enough to carry everything you need, but they won’t take up a lot of space in your luggage.
Don’t forget adapters. Power outlets have different shapes in different parts of the world and you may need an adapter to convert the shape of your home power plugs to the shape of the outlets in the region of the world you are traveling to.
Bring your Walking Shoes! When traveling abroad it’s a guarantee that you will be doing a ton of walking! Whether its cobble stone streets or dirt roads you don’t want your shoes to cause you to miss out on any picture opportunities!
Layer, layer, layer!Pack outfits that can transform for many different functions. Whether can change in a second and a casual dinner meeting can become formal without a moment’s notice. So be prepared for spur of the moment changes-for women a pair of heels and jewelry changes can change an outfit from day to night. For men a sports coat can dress up a casual outfit and keep you warm. Don’t forget a lot of cultures also require women to have their shoulders covered before entering various sanctuaries, religious, and political landmarks.
Traveling Abroad Tips
Pack Light, but make sure to include everything you need. Packing light saves time (e.g. waiting for baggage to be unloaded), money (no overweight fees), stress (no worrying about lost luggage) and the environment (less luggage means less fuel used to carry it).
Print your boarding pass at home. Save time and money. Go online before your flight leaves (Most airlines allow for you to check in 24 hours to 2 hours before your flight departs.) By doing this you will avoid long lines, receive a better seat assignment, and sometimes it will even save you money on checked baggage.
Keep carry-on items to a minimum. Airline tickets, Passport, Travel, insurance, details and documents, Credit cards, Visas, Local currency, Identification (Student ID, Drivers license), Camera, Film/memory sticks/storage devices.
Don’t forget your Toiletries.Visit www.tsa.gov for more details about airline restrictions, but keep in mind liquids, gels and aerosols that you want to carry on the plane must be in three-ounce or smaller containers and in a one-quart, zip-top bag.
If taking an overnight flight Sleep! To avoid jetlag it is vital to sleep on your flight. One way to do this is to change your watch to the travel destinations current time at the airport so that when you can acclimate to their time zone during your flight rather than during your trip. Take your own pillow and blanket. This will help you sleep and is far more sanitary than using the items provided by the airline.
Dress appropriately for safety and security. First for the flight-because of airport security measures you will have to take off your shoes and also pass through a metal detector. Check with your airline for guidelines because knowing the security protocol will get you through security much faster. Then once you have arrived at your destination make sure that you are dressed appropriately for the culture, so that you don’t offend anyone or stand out as a tourist.
Know the culture. Different countries have different cultural expectations and it is important to know those things before you travel. Speak, dress, and act accordingly.
Most importantly, relax and enjoy your vacation abroad!