Encountering a different culture and experiencing new sights, sounds, and ideas is one of the greatest adventures life has to offer.
Of course, there are a variety of challenges to international travel. In the interest of overcoming those challenges, here are six valuable tips for successful travel in another country.
Wear a money belt
Thieves often target tourists in foreign countries. A skilled pickpocket can easily make off with your wallet without you ever being aware. Dealing with a stolen passport and credit card is always a massive inconvenience.
The typical money belt is looped around the waist or over the shoulder and is worn underneath clothing, thereby ensuring the contents are safe. Keep your most important valuables (passport and credit card) in your money belt, while putting some spending money in your pockets.
Learn a bit of the local language
Traveling in a place where you don’t speak the language will always have its difficulties. While becoming fluent in the local tongue isn’t practical, you can mitigate the language barrier by at least mastering a few basic words and phrases.
You should know how to say ‘thank you,’ ‘please,’ ‘sorry,’ ‘hello,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘yes,’ and ‘no’. Some short phrases are also important, such as ‘where is the…?’ and ‘how much is…?’ or ‘can I have…?’
The inconvenient hassle of lugging around heavy, bulky bags isn’t worth the extra packing space. Too much luggage makes travel laborious and can attract unwanted attention. A single carry-on bag should be sufficient for bringing all you need.
Having one bag means you always have your entire luggage with you. Travel will be quicker and easier, especially when passing through airport security.
Bring only a few changes of clothing and a small amount of toiletries — you can buy more of anything you run out of. Leave behind items of clothing you are unlikely to wear multiple times.
Take care of financial matters
Before you leave the country, you must determine how money works in your destination. What is the currency? What is that currency’s exchange rate? Is tipping expected? Is a fee levied upon arrival or departure? You should also inform your credit card provider of your travel plans before leaving.
Card providers may freeze your card if charges from a strange place suddenly occur. Upon arrival, get some local currency from an ATM. Not all businesses take credit cards, and you need to have a backup in case your card doesn’t work.
Finally, consider safeguarding your trip with travel insurance.
Use your phone wisely
Smart phones are very useful when traveling. Besides calls and texting, phone can be used to look up maps, make reservations, research tourist sites, and for translation.
However, using a phone in another country can be complicated and potentially costly. Roaming charges can be high. Check with your service provider to see what options are available for an international plan and decide if that option will work for you. In general, using wifi when possible will save money.
Try to save data-draining activities (such as watching video) for when you have a wifi connection. Wifi should be available in most hotels and hostels, as well as some public spaces. Relying solely on wifi is feasible.
Researching pre-trip is common sense. While you don’t need a detailed itinerary, you should have a good idea of where you want go and what you want to do.
Making plans at home is more efficient than while on the road, resulting in a trip that is more enjoyable and has fewer hassles. Making reservations early at popular tourist sites is especially important.
Doing so is often the only way to avoid hours-long lines. Some sites actually require reservations while others are closed on certain days. Booking lodgings early is also wise. More options will be available and prices will probably be lower.
Your travels in a foreign country should be something you find enjoyable and meaningful. You want to get everything you can out of this great experience. Following these six valuable tips will help you reach that goal.