Visiting a foreign country for the first time can be nerve-racking and stressful but also exciting. To make sure that you can keep the excitement and positive vibrations going, here are the ten things to remember before you go on your maiden voyage:
#1: Secure Your Passport
Of course, you would need your passport to travel abroad. Aside from bringing your passport, it’s also highly advisable to make copies of it along with your other IDs. You need these as backup in the event that your wallet or bag gets stolen. Keep one set of photocopies in a separate suitcase, and keep the other set handy wherever you go. Also, save electronic copies in your mobile phone as well as on your email account that you can easily download. It’s also a great idea to leave copies at home or with any person that will serve as your point of contact when abroad.
#2: Register with Your Embassy
Be sure to let your embassy or consulate know that you will be traveling to another country. Advising your embassy of your travel is essential in case a disaster occurs, like an earthquake, hurricane, or any other event that would require them to make arrangements for your safety.
#3: Be Ready with Your Money
Traveling, whether locally or abroad, comes with expenses. Check the current monetary conversion rate so you can prepare your budget. You also need to make sure that your credit or debit cards will work abroad, so don’t forget to inform your bank beforehand that you will be traveling. You wouldn’t want them to cancel your cards all of a sudden because of unexpected foreign charges. Lastly, have local cash handy. Not all establishments will take cards for payment.
#4: Set an Itinerary
Because it’s your first time to travel abroad and the place will most likely be unfamiliar to you, plan ahead. Research on the best and most affordable ways to get to your destination. If you’re going to be visiting any tourist sites, buy tickets in advance, if possible. This way you won’t be wasting time lining up to purchase tickets, and you can have more time enjoying your trip.
It’ll also be helpful to bring guidebooks. This will give you an idea of where the best places are to visit, the most beautiful restaurants, or the cheapest places to buy trinkets as souvenirs or Christmas gifts, for example. A guidebook would also be equally helpful in getting to know the local population and culture.
#5: Ensure That You Have Means of Communication
Whether you plan on using roaming services or purchasing a local SIM card, make sure that you will have a means of communication when you’re already abroad. Ensuring you have a device for communication is one of the most basic things that you can do to ensure your safety, especially if you’re traveling alone. A lot of travelers would also suggest bringing your own pocket WiFi so you can stay connected online.
Also, check the voltage of your electronic devices. You might need to bring an adapter or a plug that’s compatible to charge them.
#6: Get a Sturdy Suitcase
You don’t need to buy matching pieces of luggage with all the latest bells and whistles. What you need is something durable and easy to carry. You’ll want to check if the wheels are sturdy and the handles and straps are well stitched. Bags with a lot of zippered compartments are also ideal for any of your small items. Also, make sure that your carry-on bag will be of the right size where you can keep all the things that you need to have on hand.
#7: Be Familiar with the Luggage Rules
Be familiar with the guidelines that your airline has set when it comes to luggage along with the associated fees. Knowing the rules and fees ahead of time will help you avoid paying extra with money that you can use for other expenses. If you’re on connecting flights, check the guidelines for those flights as well.
#8: Attend to Your Medical Needs
Have a general checkup before going abroad to make sure that you’re fit to travel. Also, make sure that you obtain all the necessary vaccinations. It would be really unfortunate to get sick in an unfamiliar place. If you’re taking maintenance medications, be sure to refill your prescription and that you have enough for the duration of the trip.
#9: Pack Clothes in Your Carry-On
You wouldn’t regret bringing an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag. Lost luggage is a nightmare, but it happens. You’d want a clean change of clothing, just in case.
#10: Bring Snacks
Unfortunate delays can happen, and you cannot be sure when’s the next time you can get a bite to eat. Bring snacks during a flight or when you’re traveling overseas. It’s always nice to have something you’re familiar with in case you get hungry – fewer risks of an upset stomach and also saves you money as airport food can be ridiculously overpriced!
Keep these tips in mind for an unforgettable and enjoyable first travel abroad. And don’t forget to document this milestone in your life by taking snaps for the ‘gram!