It is finally happening; you are leaving the country for the first time. The excitement, nervousness and anticipation of that initial trip into a foreign land is overwhelming, and a combination the avid traveler never forgets. But there is definitely fear there, mingled in with everything else.
What if you forget something important? What if you get hurt and you are in a place completely unfamiliar to you? What if you just don’t like it there?
All of these doubts are completely normal. The best way to get around them is to prepare to the best of your ability before you get to where you are going. These are some of the ways you can do that.
Learn about Where You’re Going
This is a big one that is ignored by too many tourists from too many countries. Before going anywhere you should learn about the area, a bit about the history, the culture and customs, the do’s and don’ts, and of course any possible problems in the area. All of this is just a natural part of travel that will ensure you are both respectful and safe during your time there. Nothing is worst than learning after you get back that some behavior you took part in would have been offensive to the locals.
Double Check and Backup Your Documents
Your documents such as your passport are an incredibly important item to keep track of. But if you have your luggage stolen it is a quick one to lose. You should both double checks to make sure you have all necessary papers (passport, ID, social security information, insurance information) on you, and then back them all up digitally. Email yourself a copy or add them to some kind of sharing site like Drop box. Just in case something happens.
Make Sure You’re Insured
If you have insurance you should contact them and ask if your plan covers you for emergencies, accidents or medical care while abroad. Make sure you know the conditions of that care, how much is covered and any situations where it is not applied. If you are not insured, or if you are just not covered out of the country, it is worth investing in travel insurance while you are gone. Hopefully you won’t need it, but you never know.
Create a Checklist
Don’t forget anything while packing. A few days before you have to officially get ready to go, make a checklist of things you will need. Break it up into categories so you can keep it well organized. Over the next couple of days keep checking the list to make sure you haven’t forgotten to add anything. Then, while packing, check everything off as you put it in so you know you haven’t forgotten a single item.
Register With Your Embassy
Your local embassy in the country you are in will want to have a record of your visit. You should be able to do this through the consulate’s website, where they will have further tips for you, numbers to contact in case of an emergency, and a rundown of your rights as a foreign tourist.
Get a Prepaid Debit Card
One thing you might not have considered protecting yourself from is bank fees. When in another country they can be steep. You have your home bank, the area you are withdrawing money, and then the conversion fee for the cash itself. There might also be problems when you try to use your card, as they could flag it for possible fraud. It helps to get a prepaid debit card for spending and use for everyday items and things.
Make You Know Enough about the Place You Are Going
Luckily we have Internet now, so we can Google for the place we are going to, read others’ experiences and even go to Street View for the virtual trip. Make sure to check out local sites like these: M?ori, Kiev, Sidney, etc
Learn Proper Safety Precautions
Finally, you should know how to stay safe, wherever you are going. Keep a lookout for the people around you and note any strange or threatening behavior. Don’t put your guard down when in public, even in a crowd. Never keep all of your money in one place, and always separate it. Also, don’t put all of your documents in a single bag. Don’t leave luggage unattended, or put anything in your back pockets.
If you stay smart, be cautious and do your research, you should be just fine. Traveling abroad holds no more risk than doing so in your own country, so try to relax and have fun.