I am on the trip of my dreams and stepping off the plane, when I realize how little I have really prepared. I have a hotel and I am packed, but I am unprepared for the biggest challenge of all—visiting a country where English is completely foreign. With all the signs in Chinese, I do not understand where to find baggage claim, can not find customer service and I can not even buy a bottle of water.
How could this been avoided? Here are some tips for traveling outside of the U.S. to put your anxiety at ease that have proven helpful.
Before you leave the US:
- Make sure there is more than 6 months on your passport.
Some foreign countries have very strict rules when it comes to passports, so it is always better to be safe than sorry when traveling.
- Make sure to tell your credit card company that you are traveling.
It is better to do so in case of emergency and you need to use your credit card. You need to tell the credit card company where you will be traveling and for how long, even if you do not plan on using your card.
- Learn the conversion rate.
Knowing the conversion rate can help you find out if something you want to buy abroad is a good price. Make sure to check on the same day you start your trip to see if the rate has changed. Do not get intimidated.
“It is not hard once you get the hang of it. It is easy and quick to pick up,” said Kemmara Bailey, a young teen traveler.
- Get a translator app that doesn’t require the internet.
Getting this app will be helpful, but also try to learn some basic words and phrases, such as “Hello,” “Where is the bathroom?” and “Do you speak English?” This way, you won’t have to keep looking them up every time.
- Learn the culture.
Some cultures in other countries are different than American culture. It is important to find out the offensive and acceptable behaviors for foreigners in different countries.
Eric Jeffords, a long time traveler, said, “Look into how to be respectful in basic interactions, whether it be bowing or what to say to be polite.”
On the plane ride to your destination:
- Stay hydrated.
On planes, they lower the humidity to create a clean and comfortable environment for travelers. But, this causes the body to release moisture quicker than normal, which leads to dehydration. The best thing to drink is water.
When you get to your destination:
- Get your hotel’s business cards.
If you get lost while traveling, you can give your hotel business card to someone nearby to help you find your way back. I tried this tip, and it was really helpful.
Following these simple tips will make sure you do not waste time stressing about your trip, and help you have an amazing time and experience.