Here are my top 10 tips for a successful trip abroad:
1. Always keep your passport on you: I know this sounds obvious but you would be surprised how many people leave their passport in their room or suitcase while going out to explore. While abroad, your passport is literally your lifeline. You will need to show it for the simplest things at times, such as buying a bus ticket. So always be sure to keep it in your purse or book bag.
2. Try to carry a book bag over a purse: I’ve learned that having a book bag is much easier to keep controlled. I have a bookbag that goes everywhere now when I travel. It may not be the most fashionable option but it’s the safest. You’ll want to carry and have on you certain things at all times and a bookbag is the way to ensure that. Also depending on the country, carry your backpack to the front to protect against pick pocketing.
3. Try to consolidate to 1 large piece of luggage: If you plan to city hop, the last thing you want is to carry a bunch of luggage around. You’ll want to be able to move faster and there won’t always be room on public transportation for lots of luggage. Also try to roll your clothes or even air vacuum then to save room in your luggage.
4. Always carry essentials: foreign hotels and foreign countries in general may not have the same hygiene as you so be sure to carry extra essentials. Some that I feel are vital are: wet wipes, hand sanitizer, small packs of tissue, bath towel, face towel, shower shoes, and soap. Public restrooms in foreign countries typically don’t have tissue or charge a small fee for it. So it’s better to be prepared than not.
5. Public transportation will cut down on costs: I know it sounds scary, but if the country/city you’re in has a metro or bus system…USE IT! Yea cabs and private cars are convenient, but after a while they add up. Public transportation is usually pretty cheap and very efficient in getting you around.
6. Street/local food won’t kill you: I know we hear horror stories about people getting sick in foreign countries or we have preconceived notions about food safety in other places, but it’s not that bad! Street food, much like public transportation, can be very easy on the pockets. You’ll pay almost next to nothing for a full meal if you let go of your fears. If you’re still not sure maybe pack some stomach meds just in case. Don’t get me wrong, experiencing a nice restaurant while on a trip is great, but paying for overpriced food at each meal will kill your pockets. Food is more expensive and less authentic in tourist areas, so venture out and try something with the locals.
7. You must have thick skin: People in other counties may not follow your same customs. For instance, I’ve found that in most Arabic and even Asian countries, the concept of personal space is nonexistent. People will literally breath on your neck or stand so close to you they’re touching you. So simply say excuse me or just take it. But getting mad really won’t solve anything. They’re not being rude, it’s just what they’re used to. Another thing I’ve found is the concept of standing and waiting in line is foreign to some countries. People will come up to the counter and start talking while you’re still being helped. Again, just say excuse me or just try to be patient.
8. Don’t expect everyone to know or speak English: I still struggle with this. We as Americans tend to think that everyone should cater to us, especially when it comes to language barriers. But I’ve found that not every country pushes the need to learn English. So depending on where you’re going, try to learn a few key phrases to help at least get around and to order food.
9. Buy bus/train tickets in advance: if you plan to city hop, I suggest buying the tickets in advance. Companies typically offer significant discounts the earlier you buy. This will take planning though in knowing your travel schedule and researching the routes in the country. But the later you wait, the more you’ll pay!
10. Try to get currency in advance: a lot of foreign countries don’t accept debit cards at every place, so you’ll need to have local currency on you. This is especially true in markets and smaller food places. While on the subject of markets and/or souks, always bargain on the amount you pay. The price that is listed is never really the final price. Also, be confident in your negotiations. If you seem timid, they can pick up on that and try to overcharge. Try to have a set budget ahead of time so that way you know what you’re working with to spend. Lastly, keep your money hidden and always turn away from the merchant when pulling money out to count. The last thing you want them to know is how much money you have in your possession.
Use these tips and you’re sure to have a great trip abroad.
As always, thanks for reading and happy Traveling! ✈️