What No One Tells You, but Should, About Traveling to a Different Country
It’s a big enough step to book your plane ticket outside the safe confines of your country’s borders, but it’s a whole other ball game to be bombarded with the inevitable moments of culture shock and hiccups you’re sure to encounter once entering a foreign country. A great deal of us travelers have gone in blind (confession: some of us kind of enjoy it as well), but it doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Here are nine of the things you need to know about traveling abroad.
If the not knowing what is waiting for you on the other side of the airport door is keeping you from clicking ‘purchase’ on your dream vacation you’ve always wanted to take, pause no more. I’m here to give you a list of the tips I wish someone had told me before traveling abroad for the first time.
9 Things you Need to Know About Traveling Abroad
1. Learning a Few Simple Phrases of the Local Language
You don’t have to be a language expert in every place you go, but what I’ve found throughout my travels is you tend to get more help and more of your questions answered if you learn and use simple phrases like, “Hello,” “Thank-you” and “Have a nice day.”
I know they literally don’t ask any questions, but the point is they are a common courtesy in your language – why wouldn’t they be in another? The people who live where you’re visiting are human beings just like you, and appreciate your courtesy, as well as adore your efforts to learn something about their culture.
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2. Check Museum Hours
There is nothing worse than having a set number of days to visit a city which has your favorite museum exhibition on display, only to arrive and find the museum closed – and it being your only free day. See if there is a local website with information on attractions around the city, like this one for attractions in Paris. You’ll avoid the horrible feeling of disappointment and a wasted day.
3. Bring Imodium (just in case)
Okay. I know it’s not something anyone likes to talk about, and about 99.9% of the time, you won’t run into any tummy problems while you’re on the road. BUT, my goodness ,that 1% without being prepared is seriously brutal. Just pack it. Trust me.
4. Be Aware of Driving Etiquette
What exactly is driving etiquette you ask? Well, basically it’s being aware there are cultural nuances on the road. For example, even though the rules of the road are more or less the same in Europe and the US, in Germany, a driver will never sit in the left lane of traffic. That lane is specifically made for passing. Reason being: the autobahn is without a speed limit on 65% of its roads. Getting back in the right lane helps avoid any unnecessary accidents.
5. Be Prepared for the Weather
The idea of course is not to over pack, but at the same time, packing at least one or a few items in case of a drastic change in the weather is highly recommended. There is nothing worse than putting 100% of your faith in the words of a meteorologist and winding up freezing, with soaking wet feet and a cold. A little over prepared is better than under prepared.
6. Any Establishment within 500 feet of a Monument Price Gouges
If you’re a travel beginner, remember, the prices will always be higher for everything within close range of the monuments and sites you are seeing. There is a reason why the phrase ‘tourist trap’ exists. Take my advice walk a little bit further. You’ll stretch your dollar farther, and get better food probably too.
7. Try to Meet the Locals
I love to travel like a local in whatever city I am in, so I recommend making use of many different travel apps out there which give you insider information on the location you are visiting. If you really want to dive into how the locals live, you can always book a private cooking class or home cooked meal with a cook in your location. Not only will you get a “taste” of what it’s like to actually be a local, you will get a personal experience you probably won’t ever get to repeat again on your future trips!
If cooking is not you thing, there are lots of other sites to pair you up with a local.
8. Carry Some Cash
There are a whole lot of small businesses outside the US who still only accept cash – yes even in Europe. These business owners would rather avoid the fees associated with using a credit card company. It might seem annoying at first, but you adjust. This is one of the reasons you should always have at least some cash on you at all times to avoid any payment issues that might occur.
9. Train Travel- Validate your Ticket
This doesn’t happen everywhere, but in some countries, once you purchase your train ticket you’ll need to validate it before boarding the train. If you happen to forget to validate your ticket, you will actually be fined. The fees vary based on countries, but Italy’s last time I checked, was around 50 euros per person. And they actually expect you to pay on the spot. It’s not very much fun. This is but one example, you need to be careful to learn the ticketing rules for public transport when you are traveling abroad.
So there you have it, what you need to know about traveling abroad. Those are nine things I wish someone would have told me before heading out of the US. It would have saved a lot of headaches and reorganization, and probably resulted in the types of travel experiences I have now – a lot sooner. So take this advice, use it and most of all, get out there and explore the world!
We hope you enjoyed this post with 9 things you need to know about traveling abroad. It was written by Kacey Mya, a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective. Throughout her life, Kacey has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She enjoys exploring other cultures and styles and sharing them through her passion for writing. Her love for the world is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.