Traveling to a different country is an experience of a lifetime whether you’re going for work or taking a vacation. At the same time, international travel can leave some first-time travelers anxious and confused. If you’re planning to take your first trip to a new country, here are ten tips that will abate some of that anxiety and help you plan better.
Don’t carry a whole of stuff when going abroad; keep it light and carry a backpack with essentials such as medication, glasses, travel documents, money, toiletries, dry snacks and a light jacket for use during travel.
Get adequate travel and medical insurance
Insurance cover is essential when traveling abroad in order to meet any unexpected medical costs, lost luggage and other emergency expenses. Check if your existing insurance covers international travel; if not, purchase a new one.
Notify loved ones of your travel dates and itinerary
Let friends and family know where and when you’re travelling, and share hotel phone numbers and itinerary with a couple of people so that someone in the world knows where you are at all times.
Learn the local language
Learn at least 20 words of everyday use if traveling to a country where English is not the official language. It will make communication a lot easier.
Learn about local customs, etiquette and culture
Each place has its own unique customs and social norms, and as a conscious traveler you must respect and follow local etiquette. Something that is completely acceptable in your home country may be considered offensive in the country you’re visiting, so learn a thing or two about its culture before you leave.
Leave as many gadgets back home as possible
You can’t do without your phone, but consider leaving other gadgets such as tablet, e-reader, and laptop. Fewer the distractions, the better will be your experience soaking in the local culture and way of living.
Review your subscription services
Inform your bank, digital TV provider, internet services provider, newspaper vendor, and so forth. If traveling for a long duration, consider temporary disconnection of some of these services to save money. Also check with your cell phone carrier and credit card company for any special travel-related offers and to avoid unexpected fees and charges.
Reach the airport at least two hours prior
International baggage check-in, custom clearance and other formalities can take time, particularly during peak season. To avoid last-minute rush, leave home early to make it to the airport at least two hours before departure time.
Safeguard your documentation
Make photocopies of important travel documents and keep them in your check-in baggage. If you intend to apply for permanent residency while there, such as through the green card lottery, ensure to carry digital and physical copies of all required documentation.
Avoid exchanging currency at the airport as you’re less likely to get a good exchange rate. If needed, exchange the bare minimum and wait until you get to a bank or foreign exchange office.