Visiting far away destinations can be an incredible experience, an opportunity to truly experience a new culture. However, traveling overseas can also be stressful, especially if it’s your first venture abroad. Here are the top 10 tips to make the experience go as smoothly as possible.
Travel in comfort…or as much as possible. The most painful part of traveling abroad is the long, overseas flight. However, there are things you can do to make it as easy as possible. Try to get the best seat possible on the flight. If you think you will have to get up often that may mean sitting in an aisle seat. If you plan on sleeping the entire flight you may want to snag a window seat. Take a book, blanket, pillow, and eye covers. It can seem surreal to have only a couple short hours of darkness en route. Covering your eyes will let you turn the lights out sooner and sleep more peacefully.
Proper documentation. Every country has different entry requirements. Make sure you check the entry requirements for your destination and start on the necessary documentation as soon as possible. It can be stressful waiting on documentation, so do yourself a favor and don’t put it off.
Vaccinations. Check the immunization suggestions for the country you will be visiting. Talk to your doctor about what you may need.
Health stuff. Check with your health insurance company to establish whether you will be protected while you are abroad. It may be necessary to purchase extra coverage. Don’t take the risk and go overseas without the protection of health coverage.
Money stuff. Don’t count on your debit card working while you’re abroad. Make sure you have a credit card, even if only for emergency purposes. When exchanging money, look for a bank or a business that specializes in exchanging currency, as airport exchanges tack on extra fees.
Electronics. If you can’t live without your shaver or blow dryer, you will need to purchase an adaptor before you leave. Even if you can locate one abroad, chances are the prices will be escalated far above what you would find at home.
Food. The food you are going to be experiencing abroad is going to be different than what you are used to. Period. However, different doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Just make sure you know what you are ordering to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation where your stomach can’t handle your selection.
Culture. Do your best to be respectful of the culture and acclimate yourself to that as much as possible. Do some reading about the culture before you leave so you will feel as comfortable as possible.
Language. While no one expects you to learn an entirely new language, you might try learning a few phrases that will be especially useful. Phrases like asking where the bathroom is or asking for directions will increase your sense of control.
Souvenirs. Make sure whatever items you choose to take home can either fit in your carry-on or can fit into your suitcase. If you fall in love with an item that will not fit in your luggage you might consider shipping. Just be prepared, as this can get a little pricey!