Good morning everyone! Today’s super helpful post is written by Julien Chbib (you’ll find more about him in the author bio at the bottom)! I’m sure you can all agree that going abroad for the first time can be a scary thing, so this post will be so useful to many people. Doesn’t matter if you aren’t travelling abroad this year due to everything going on, this post will be still be useful if you are planning on going abroad in the future – hope you all enjoy 😀
Traveling is beautiful and whether you are going to do it for a long time or a short time it sounds (and most of the time it is) super fun. But it also involves a lot of questions that surely, if it is your first time traveling outside of your country, will raise a lot of questions. That’s why here, my friend, I took the trouble to write you 15 recommendations so that your first trip abroad is absolutely perfect.
1. Take Good Care of your Documents
Except for some exceptions in which depending on your nationality and the country you are going to visit you can travel with your identity document, from now on your passport is everything. I take care of my passport almost more than anything else because losing it can sometimes mean that the end of your trip has come.
2. Make Sure Your Passport is Valid
As it is your first trip abroad, your passport may have just come out of the oven, but it can also happen that you have taken it out some time ago and are about to just use it for the first time. If that is your case, take a good look at when it expires. Most (if not all) countries require that the passport be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry to the site.
3. Validate your Driving Record
Having a valid driving record applies more than anything else if you are thinking of renting a car abroad. Keep in mind that even if you are a Schumacher and have been driving from the age of 12, your registration is not valid outside your country.
4. Bring Copies of Important Papers
If you have your tickets online on your phone, then making sure that you have a printed copy can help you out so much. Sometimes having a copy of something can help relieve that worry – some people are constantly worrying about losing their one and only copy of an important document, so having more then one copy can be a big help!
5. Get Travel Insurance
Yes, travel insurance can be expensive but it is necessary. First, because anything that happens to you while you are outside your country can be more expensive than assistance – there are exceptions, but it is better not to risk it -. Second, because it is an extra peace of mind for you and your family (you won’t want to leave everyone worried, right?). Some countries deny you entry if you do not have it. There are many companies that offer you insurance so it is good to know what things to consider before choosing the right travel assistance.
6. Pack Lightly
Whether you’re going away for a long time or taking a short vacation, you don’t need to take everything you have with you. Think that what you carry you have to carry and nobody else but you. Minimize as much as possible, pack the basics and go . Think that whatever you are missing you will be able to get elsewhere, so if you forget something it is not that serious either.
7. Keep a Hold on Your Valuables
It may sound obvious, but I know more than one person whose trip was ruined because something was stolen from their suitcase or backpack. The money, the documents, the camera, the computer and anything of value that you are going to carry, always have them with you in your backpack or handbag.
8. Always Make sure to Check the Requirements of the Place You are Visiting
All countries have their own different set of rules. For some, you may need to process a visa in advance, as happens in many countries in Asia , and for others you may be asked for certain vaccines such as Thailand, to give you two examples. It is important that you are clear about everything you need before leaving so as not to be surprised along the way. Take the time to find out and don’t leave everything to the last minute, I know cases of people who had to change their flight (with all that that implies) because they left the paperwork for last.
9. Get a Guidebook
Guidebooks usually include maps, keywords or phrases, and give you enough detail on certain sites that you won’t need to purchase the pamphlet at the venue. And download apps before you travel. Avoid downloading charges from your wireless carrier and get your apps before you leave. This will help you know exactly where you need to go and means that you won’t miss out on anything.
10. Always Carry an Adapter for Plugs
It will be super useful and it will get you out of more than one trouble. Imagine that you arrive in London after 12 hours of flight and you want to charge your cell phone but, oh surprise, your three-pin plug does not work in the square one that the English have. You are not going to enjoy much that your first walk through the new city is to buy something that allows you to use your phone.
11. Get Organised with Money
There are those who prefer to travel with all their money in cash and change it upon arrival and also those who feel more comfortable using the card. What suits you depends on you. Keep in mind that not everything can be paid for with plastic – in street markets, for example – and that they will charge you a commission every time you extract money. The amount varies according to each bank so it is best that you check directly with them. If you are going to take the tickets, change a little at the airport for those first expenses and then go to an exchange office or a bank.
12. Get Informed, Do your Research, Be Prepared
Before making my first trip to Europe – which had not been the first abroad, but alone – I spent reading, writing down and comparing things. I had a notebook full of information that helped me to know how to move from one place to another, to define what things interested me and what not, to know if it was cheaper to buy a tourist card or pay for tickets separately and a thousand other things. Ideally, you should read more than one website from each place. Look for official pages, online guides, read blogs from travelers who have already been to the place you are going to visit and everything you can think of to be as prepared as possible. Be careful, being prepared does not mean that you have to tie yourself to the things you read, you can give free rein to freedom once you travel, but it is always a good idea to move with some information in your head so that you feel more comfortable.
13. Make Good Use of Your Cell Phone
Today smartphones are more than a mobile phone, they are our allies when it comes to traveling. Take advantage of its functions and download applications that may be useful. Offline maps like maps.me and a currency converter are the ones I use the most. Surely you can find a lot more that work for you, so see that there are a thousand ideas out there on the web. Of course, unless you want your entire travel budget to go to your cell phone bill, don’t forget to disable mobile data.
14. Do Not Assume That Things Work the Same Way as They Do in Your Country
Always remember that when you travel abroad, there are certain things that might change. If at home you are used to drinking water from the tap, for example, you have to bear in mind that you cannot do the same everywhere. Eating a salad may sound delicious, but there are places where raw vegetables are best avoided. That a girl wearing mini shorts and top may not be a big problem in your city, but if you go to India you will realize that it is better to avoid it. It is important that you know how each country you go to works to avoid bad times or troubles and, in addition, it is a way to respect their culture.
15. Take Precautions
I already told you before that there are countries that require vaccines as a requirement for your entry but generally they do it to protect themselves. In Thailand, there is no yellow fever, but if you are Argentine they will ask you for it because you are from one of the countries that may have the disease. Ideally, you should find out what types of diseases are in each place and act accordingly. It can be a vaccine or simply fill yourself with repellent to avoid catching dengue, the important thing is that you know how to prevent yourself.
Author Bio: Julien Chbib is the founder of Julius Homes. His interest in hiking, skiing, and adventure holidays made him bring together the choicest accommodations around the globe to make holidays relaxing and comfortable.