Whether you’re a teen, a college student, or a family person, it’s never too late to travel someplace new. Taking international trips is very good for your personal development, as you can learn about new languages, cultures, and peoples firsthand.
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Traveling is also a commitment, and finding yourself abroad without important documents, money, or know-how about local lifestyle and culture can be problematic. This is most apparent when traveling to countries whose cultures vary drastically from western standards, such as Japan, Egypt, Russia, or Mexico.
Don’t avoid exploring these locations – instead, do your research and head out there. Here’s what you can do to prepare for your next international trip much better than before.
1. Check your Target Destinations’ Visa Requirements
Visa requirements are an unfortunate side effect of international politics and decades-long negotiation efforts. Depending on where you live, you may or may not need to ask for Visa papers from a local embassy representing that particular country.
Check Visa requirements before heading out to avoid unpleasant surprises at the border and customs offices when you’ve already paid for travel tickets. Getting a Visa isn’t difficult, but it is a requirement and there are no standard rules to having one issued. Reach out to a local embassy in your area and inquire about the process several months in advance, however.
2. Check Travel Warnings and Restrictions for your Destinations
The COVID-19 restrictions set in place due to the past year’s global pandemic are another worry to add to the list. Because of the spread of COVID-19 and the slow global vaccination process, many countries still have very strict travel restrictions in place.
Make sure that you check the travel restrictions of whichever destination you head to before booking your tickets. These restrictions can change overnight and you need to be up to date with the latest information in regards to your target destinations. Being vaccinated is also a bonus since many of these countries have alleviated measures for vaccinated individuals.
3. Photocopy your Documents and Booking Confirmation
Don’t rely solely on digital files and emails when you travel abroad. You should print as many documents as possible to have backups with you at all times. These documents include your ID and passport, flight and booking receipts, as well as any medical prescriptions you may have.
You can use TheWordPoint to also translate your documents and write them in the local language for easier on-site communication. With photocopies in hand, you won’t need online access or devices to prove to anyone who you are and what you’re doing there. This is especially useful when working with older administrative staff who may not speak English or use digital devices as much as you’d expect.
4. Charge your Electronics and Pack All the Chargers
Speaking of electronics, we all carry smartphones, tablets, and laptops with us everywhere we go. You don’t want to head abroad without charging your devices 100%.
Make sure that all of them are charged and that their batteries function properly. You should also pack your chargers and again, make sure they work before going away. While you can replace chargers abroad, it will be cheaper and more convenient for you to prepare this in advance.
5. Get your Home Obligations and Chores Sorted Out
No matter how old you are, you are bound to have certain chores, obligations, and work to do before setting off. Get your affairs in order before you start an international trip.
This will help you when you come back since you’ll have some time to rest before dedicating yourself to working or studying again. Otherwise, you’ll be burned out shortly after your trip abroad and the entire endeavor will become more trouble than it was worth.
6. Stock up on Basic Medication and Get a Travel Insurance
Medicine varies slightly from country to country and you might not be able to find your prescription medicine abroad. Likewise, you may be used to the pain or cold medication sold in your country but have no way of acquiring it internationally.
Pack a small medical pouch before you start your travel experience and look for a suitable travel insurance program. Insurance agencies offer a wide range of insurances for travelers and you will easily find one which fits your particular needs.
7. Hide Some Cash Somewhere on You or in Your Suitcase
You will likely need some cash no matter where you head to. Whether you want to buy street food, memorabilia from a street merchant, or a postcard, you might need cash.
However, keeping cash in an obvious spot (your wallet) may not be the safest choice. Stuff some cash in your backpack nook, a sock in your suitcase, or a similar secret area. Even if you have your wallet stolen, you will still have some money to reach your embassy or a local police station.
8. Find a Dictionary or a Travel Book for Local Communication
Many countries around the world still have a pretty low percentage of English-speaking residents which can make it problematic for you to communicate with locals. You can amend that by getting a dictionary before you travel and by downloading translation apps to your smartphone.
Many travel booklets and guides also come packed with common words and phrases in local languages, so prepare for local communication accordingly. You are still likely to come across English-speaking waiters, shopkeepers, and travel guides, but a lot of people won’t fit that bill.
9. Let Someone Know You’ll Be Away and Traveling
Even if you travel with a group of friends, it’s best to let someone know that you’ll be away for some time. Tell your neighbor, family member, or best friend that you’ll go abroad for a bit.
This will ensure that someone can check your apartment in the meantime and make sure you are not robbed. It’s a safety precaution more than anything else but you should still go through the trouble of keeping in touch with someone back home.
Once you’ve gone through all the points we’ve outlined, you’ll be far better prepared to set out on your next international journey. Traveling abroad should be a joyful, exciting experience, not something to dread over.
By preparing well, you’ll be able to come back home well-rested and without any dangling obligations or paperwork to think off. This will allow you to get back to work, studying, or other obligations more quickly and with a clear mind.