Traveling can seem pretty daunting. Planning flights, hotels, learning the language and culture… it’s a lot to keep track of, especially if you’re going to a new country for the first time. So how can you get the most out of your time abroad and keep stress low? Here are five top travel tips.
1. Learn the basics of the language
Learn how to say the following phrases in the local language:
- Hello, how are you?
- Thank you.
- Excuse me.
- Where is the bathroom?
- Can I get a room?
- Where is the American embassy?
- How much does that cost?
These are your bread-and-butter phrases. If you don’t know how to say anything else, make sure you know how to say these! Another helpful one is “do you speak English?” Just remember, never start speaking to someone in English, assuming they will understand you. In most cultures this is considered rude and people will be much less likely to help you, even if they do speak English.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
You’ll never know unless you ask! Asking questions gives you valuable language practice, let’s other people know that you want to learn, and gives people the chance to show you a part of their lives and culture. People love to talk about their home, and will sometimes go out of their way to show you their favorite hangouts, restaurants, etc. The best places to visit are usually off the beaten track, and only the locals know how to find them!
3. Keep important documents close
Pickpockets are not uncommon in both big cities and small towns (including in the US), so money, passport, credit cards should all be kept on your person, preferably in a money wallet or front pocket. Making copies of your passport and stashing them in hidden places, as well as memorizing your passport and credit card numbers is also a good tip.
4. Travel light and carry tissues
Most of the time, you won’t end up using the things at the bottom of your suitcase, because it’s a pain to fish them out, so just travel light! Anything you forget can be usually be found at your destination. One thing that will always come in handy, though, is tissues. Many places around the world expect you to have your own tissues when going to the bathroom, so come prepared!
5. Have fun!
Expect the unexpected, and have fun during your time abroad! You’ll never be able to see everything a particular destination has to offer in one hectic 3 day trek through half the continent… so just relax and enjoy the sights. Bon voyage!