**Updated November 2021
There is a A LOT to do when preparing for international travel – buying plane tickets, finding someone to water your plant children, alerting your bank of future foreign transactions, and the list goes on!
You already have a lot on your plate, so I’m here to help you CLEAR your plate a little with five travel essential tips that you should start doing if you haven’t already!
*** Be sure to follow any Covid-19 precautions/protocols, and don’t travel to high risk areas.
1. Get Any Needed Vaccinations Before Departure
Without a doubt, this is one of the MOST IMPORTANT tips that you should take into consideration.
When you know you’ll be traveling abroad, a good habit to make is checking out the CDC and search the country that you’ll be visiting to see if there are any required or recommended vaccinations.
Not getting vaccinated could sometimes mean life or death when traveling to a country, especially a developing country, where diseases may not be that common in the U.S.
Ideally, you want to get your vaccines a month before you depart so that they have enough time to start working within your body.
2. Understand the Country’s Customs
I know that I shouldn’t wear my shoes inside someone’s home in Japan.
I know that I shouldn’t wear a halter top in Saudi Arabia.
And guess what? I probably would have NEVER known these things had I not taken the time to learn about a country’s customs.
You don’t want to be “that person” who looks so out of place in a foreign country just because you didn’t take a little time to research how others live.
But also, don’t feel bad that you maybe didn’t think to do this.
For someone who may be new to traveling, and especially to those who have never traveled internationally before, the thought to research a country’s customs has probably never crossed your mind.
I, however, being the nerd that I am, have always been interested in learning about cultures that are different from my own.
I remember that when I stumbled across things like taking off my shoes in Japanese homes, I would think, “Hmmm, let me remember to do that when I go there.”
It’s fun to learn how people on the other side of the world from you live, and it also shows that you care enough to take the time to understand them.
By the same token, you would want someone to learn your customs if they were visiting from another country.
3. Know What the Weather Is Like – Day and Night
ALWAYS check what the weather will be like during your trip.
Some countries may be hot during the day, and then by night, you’re reaching for your thickest coat.
There are a few factors that can determine what kind of weather you’ll run into, so you want to make sure you pack accordingly.
I’d recommend you travel with:
– A few light pieces, like camis or tanks
– Clothes that can easily be layered/restyled
– A couple of warmer options, such as a sweater or cardigan
Trust me, you’ll be glad that you were prepared!
4. Learn Key Phrases in the Country’s Language that You’re Traveling To
Now, I’m not saying to go out and buy Rosetta Stone (unless you want to, of course), but learning a few things in your foreign country’s language is A MAJOR KEY.
Don’t worry about not being able to pronounce everything 100% correctly or saying it in the right accent, because the locals will appreciate it nonetheless.
Ok, maybe not the French, but that’s another story for another day…
To make your travel experience less stressful, these are some KEY PHRASES you should learn in your country’s language by the time you arrive.
– How are you?
– Thank you
– Excuse me, how do I to get to _____? (Unless you’re going to a touristy or well-populated area, don’t tell the person the specific address you’re looking for; some people are crazy!)
– Where is _____? (the nearest hospital/doctor/pharmacy/store, etc.)
– I’m allergic to _____.
– How much does it cost?
– The bathroom?
– Help (Hopefully, you won’t have to use this one!)
– Do you speak English? (I only try to use this one if it is urgent and I need answers quickly or if the other person does not understand me)
Of course, you may not need all of these phrases, or you may need more, and sometimes you’ll just have to handle language barriers as they come up.
I’d recommend having the Google Translate app on your phone handy because they’ve really stepped up their game over the years.
*Here are links where you can download the app: Apple and Android.
*This post covers three languages and some common phrases that you can use on your next international trip!*
5. Research the Area Where You’ll Be Staying
Your safety is ALWAYS number one when you’re traveling abroad, so take the proper time to pick the safest area.
It’s no secret that the cheapest accommodations are usually in some of the most dangerous areas (again, not always, but USUALLY), so DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFOREHAND.
Before staying in any accommodation, go through the reviews that others left with a fine-toothed comb.
You can even do a google search like “safe and dangerous areas in _____.”
Also, join travel groups and ask others who have gone to the place where you’re going for recommendations on safe areas to stay.
And lastly, if something doesn’t feel right about an area, GO WITH YOUR GUT! It most likely isn’t, and you just saved yourself a world of trouble.
Welp, that’s all I have for ya’ll. I hope that these tips helped you out, and you have an amazing and SAFE trip!
Peace, love, and good vibrations.