5 Ways to Ensure that you get the most out of your Upcoming Trip
Whether you have traveled extensively in the past or are a first timer, there are some things that you need to consider at least a few weeks before jumping on a plane to the ends of the earth. Surely, by now you are thinking, “Well, I have my passport, visa(s), and immunity shots, but should I be doing something more?” The answer is YES!
It does not matter if you will be backpacking around the world or going on vacation for a few weeks. These all apply to any traveler. Below is a list of 5 things that you should be following to help ensure a smoother transition abroad with no unpleasant surprises.
- Weather. Probably one of the more obvious aspects of traveling is that weather will change depending on where you fly and what time of year you will be going. Assuming that you are flying internationally you can be flying from tropics to tundra, rain to shine, or even summer to winter. One should be adequately prepared for any potentially great differences in climate. Additionally, pay attention to what season it will be when you get there.
- Currency. Changing currencies is generally an assumed obligation of traveling abroad. However, I rarely find that people follow currency trends in the weeks and months leading up to their trip. To me, I believe it is important to watch market fallout as well as the highs and lows of your currency in conjunction with the ones that you will be changing into. The reason I include this is because you will have a better grasp on exchange rates and what to expect. This makes it easier to budget. Do not worry, you do not have to be a professional on the stock exchange to do this. You can easily follow currencies with a good rate site like www.xe.com, among others.
- News. I know, I know, following the news is not always the highlight of your day. I have heard it time and time again, “I am just not interested.” Personally, I would say that news is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of international travel. It does not matter if you are backpacking, on a business trip, studying abroad, or anything else that you conjure up. World news is important. Whether you realize it or not, it affects you. I think that specifically following regional developments can be quite helpful for you as a traveler. This is not just for serious things like wars breaking out, bombings, diseases, or famines. This can also be for simpler things like train strikes, sports matches, and protests. None of which are particularly problematic to an outsider, but will inevitably affect your travels to some degree. For example, imagine if you arrived in France with an itinerary. Your plans were to stay in Paris for 3 days and then head to Spain by train. However, when you get there all public transportation is on strike. See what I mean? Knowing about these events in advance can save you a lot of headache.
- Language. Assuming that everyone is going to understand you because you speak English, is not a good place to start; this is true for more reasons than one. It is important to learn bits of local languages because it not only helps you to better navigate, but it demonstrates that you respect local customs and cultures. Pick up a language book or get online and learn a few phrases. If you have a lot of time, consider taking a course or two in the language if possible.
- Culture. Going hand in hand with language is understanding dynamics about the culture, or cultures, that you will be interacting with. This may include religious traditions, gender roles, or plainly what’s culturally acceptable. Never forget, an insult in one culture can be a norm to another and vice-versa. Ignorance is no excuse.
This concludes my list for now; however, there are surely other things that one can be doing. If you are interested in reading more, I have other articles on language and language acquisition, reasons to follow the news, and tips for exchanging currencies abroad.
What do you think? Leave me a comment below.
Are there any other things that you do before leaving on a trip?