So you’ve booked your big trip to a foreign land and you’re excited to see new things, meet different people, and have exciting new experiences. But before you get swept up in this new adventure, there are a few things you need to do and know before you make the long trip to make sure that all the new memories and experiences you have are great ones.
Plan and Pack Before Your Trip
When packing clothes for your trip abroad, pack clothing that won’t make you stick out as a well-off tourist and keep the jewelry and expensive accessories to a minimum. These can make you a target to thieves that prey on well to do and often naïve tourists. Also, don’t pack other unnecessary expensive or irreplaceable and/or prized possessions. Nothing ruins a trip more than having something you cherished being lost or stolen.
If you wear glasses, be sure bring a second pair. If you have medicines, be sure to keep them in original containers, along with copies of your prescriptions. If any of your medicines have narcotics or unusual ingredients, get a note from your doctor. If you’re not sure how legal they are in the country you’re traveling to, contact that country’s embassy to make sure everything is alright.
Keep Your Money and Identity Safe
As for currency, try and keep cash to a minimum and opt for two major credit cards (keep them in separate places on your body, and not together in a wallet to hedge against something happening to both simultaneously) and some traveler checks instead. This way if a card is stolen or lost, any unauthorized purchases can be blocked and refunded, instead of losing cash for good.
Make photo copies of your passport’s identity’s page to bring with you in case your passport gets lost or stolen and you need to get a replacement for it. While you’re making copies, make two photocopies of your plane ticket, driver’s license, credit cards, traveler’s checks, and itinerary. Leave one copy with your friends or family at home and bring the other copy with you, keeping them separated from the originals. Taking these tips to heart will ensure a strong buffer from the growing trend of identity theft in smaller emerging countries where it seems to run rampant.
Be Respectful and Lawful
Learn about where you’re going and their customs and laws. If there’s a language difference, brush up on common and useful phrases. You’ll likely want to make arrangements with a native speaking guide or translator if you’re completely oblivious to their language. Be sure to keep up with any current events that have occurred in that part of the world, especially if there has been any recent tumult in the area.
Be a skeptical traveler by staying away from scam artists, pick-pockets, and groups of vagrant children. These people may come up to you and be deceptively nice, ask for directions, or even compliment you in some way in trying to distract you, only to have their accomplice try to swipe something off you. Don’t carry purses or any bags that are hand-held that can easily be ripped away; a bag that has a strap that goes diagonally around your chest is more secure.
While discovering this new place, stick to the main streets and not poorly lit narrow back alleys. Try your best not to stand out, be discreet, and avoid civil disturbances and protests. Walk like you know where you’re going with confidence, even if you don’t have a clue. If you do need directions somewhere, avoid asking locals when you can — ask authority figures.
Proceed With Caution on Public Transportation
Unfortunately there are a lot of bad people out there, and tourists that are thousands of miles from home can be easy prey, especially on public transportation like trains and buses. Organized robberies on trains do occasionally occur on popular tourist train routes, especially at night. Sleeping on these trains or bus rides is not a good idea, unless you can take turns napping with your traveling friends. If you’re alone, it’s best to stay awake, but if you feel sleep is necessary, see if you can lock your train compartment and strap down your luggage as best possible.
Travelling abroad will result in some of the most memorable times of your life, if you know what you’re doing. Take these precautions, watch your own actions, be extremely aware of your surroundings and everyone around you, and you’ll make sure those good times happen. Now that you’re armed with these tips to stay safe, I wish the best of travels to you. If you have any more travel tips, feel free to leave them in the comments below.