Traveling is something that makes many people happy. Whether it’s done for a short amount of time or long-term, it helps broaden your mind and you will have the experience of a lifetime. It doesn’t even matter if you go to a new culture altogether, as any new environment will inspire you and boost your creative juices.
That being said, no trip will be memorable or perfect if you do not plan for it, at least to a certain degree. The idea of purchasing a ticket and flying across the ocean the next day may sound exciting, but realistically you will also cause yourself stress given that you won’t have an accommodation booked, don’t know anyone there, and language barriers always makes it more difficult to communicate. In order to make sure that you are fully prepared for your next trip abroad, follow these various tips and tricks.
Choosing the destination. The destination is always important, as without it you are not going anywhere to begin with. You should answer the following questions, though, as they can determine your vacation destination.
- What is my budget?
- How long can I go on vacation for?
- Do I want sun or snow?
Moreover, it would also be a good idea to choose a location when it is off-season, to avoid going there during a time when there are only heaps of tourists. Purchase your ticket in advance, at the very least a few weeks if not months earlier, as you will save a lot of money by doing this. As another option, consider choosing a place whose weather is different to the one that you have at home for a different experience. If it is winter, especially, you will want to be in a warmer place for a while.
Plan in advance. Once you have your plane ticket, it is time to start planning the details of the trip. Try and prepare most instances, such as accommodation, before setting foot on a plane. This will limit any stress that may arise before leaving, especially if you are going somewhere that is further away. A good thing to do is to start a check-list for what it is you think you’ll need, and start going through it one by one. Booking your accommodation in your destination, for example, should be one of the first items on your list. Similar to the plane ticket, this will only get more expensive the longer that you wait to purchase it.
Travel buddy. The person that you choose to travel with will have a huge impact on your trip. That is why it is important to choose wisely, and moreover, discuss with your prospective travel buddy the type of activities that you want to do. Are you both content to go your separate ways while traveling if there is a particular tour you do not agree on doing together? Determine whether the other person enjoys adventure travel, shopping, or whatever it may be, so there are no arguments happening on the trip itself.
Deciding on activities. The next thing you should do is research, namely deciding what type of activities you want to pursue in your travel destination. Start by looking at iconic landmarks everyone visits in that location, and then start digging deeper to find more unique locations. While you do not need to have every hour planned, you should have a general idea of what it is you want to do, as some activities may require you to book a tour, such as scuba-diving, going to ice-caves and so on.
It can be difficult to plan or participate in activities if there is a language barrier. Therefore, download travel apps that can help translate or speak the native language. Apps can also help with money conversions and directions.
Packing essentials. You need to ensure your suitcase is filled with all the correct clothing and equipment. For warm climates with a lot of sun, you may want to pack:
- Sun hat
- Loose clothing
- Clothing that is cotton and breathable
However, for colder climates, jeans, jackets and coats should replace your summer clothing.
It can become expensive when buying what seems like a whole new wardrobe for your short break. Therefore, look for discount codes so that you can save some money in the long-run. This is especially helpful if you need new running or sports shoes if you are to undergo an athletic-themed vacation. For example, Nike is notorious for providing excellent support, and you can find coupons for this particular brand by looking at this page. When you are in a new place, you will want to explore it, and not wearing shoes that will hurt your feet is key.
Other packing essentials include:
- Your laptop
- Power banks
- Important documents
- Plug adapters
Be respectful. No matter where you are going, you also always have to be respectful of different cultures – their beliefs and values. It would be ignorant to think that people across the world think like you, especially when even those back at home all have different ideas about life.
As part of your research, you should read about the various customs and values of the place you are going to, so that you do not offend anyone, even if it is done accidentally. Lonely Planet guides offer advice on what not to do, as well as whether you should tip, how to order food, etc.
A couple of examples are listed below:
Japan… You should not tip. This is considered an insult. Politeness and traditions are also ingrained throughout the country. Prolonged eye contact is also considered rude.
South Korea… Touching should be avoided. You should also accept objects with your right hand, which is supported by your left hand. Never point.
Leave room for spontaneity. The very last factor to keep in mind is that you should also leave some room for spontaneity. This still means that you should follow all of the aforementioned advice, but you never know what hidden gem of a location a local will point you to. Even if you don’t speak to a local, part of the fun is also setting aside some time to wander the streets of the city you find yourself in.
Photo by David Edelstein