1. Pack light
Nothing is worse than having to lug your stuff all over the country. I’ve seen people travelling abroad with a giant backpack on their back, a smaller one in front, a fanny pack, and dragging a suitcase. Trust me. You DO NOT need to bring that much on your trip. Ask yourself, Do I really need this?
2. Make sure your documents are in order
Your documents will be your lifeline.
a) Make sure your passport is not about to expire
Obvious isn’t it? Still, you’d be surprised by the number of people who forget to do this. One time my friend and I were going to travel to China and what do you know? His passport had already expired. When did we find out about this? AT THE AIRPORT! Needless to say, I wasn’t a happy camper.
Some countries check if your passport is about to expire in 30-60 days. Make sure you do not fall in this category. If you do, make sure to apply for a passport as soon as possible prior to your departure.
b) Look into the visa for your country
Different places require different visas. Sometimes a visa can take months to get. You don’t want your travel plans interrupted because of this. Call the local embassy for more information.
c) Scan and email to yourself all important documents
It’s smart to make copies of your passport, insurance, diploma, driver’s license, etc. It’s even smarter to scan them and then e-mail them to yourself. So even if you lose everything, as long as you can access the internet, you’ll have access to all your relevant documents.
Now you may ask why you should scan your college diploma? Well, you never know if you’ll fall in love with a country and want to live there for an extended period of time. Having a copy of your diploma saves you the hassle of having to get someone email it to you. This goes double for any and all documents that you may need on your travels.
3. Research where you are going
If you plan to do a lot of travelling, research the areas you will be travelling to. Make sure to have a good bit of information about where you are going. If they speak a different language and customs, try to learn as much about them prior to departure.
a) Making calls
Can you take the cell phone you already have and just buy a SIM card? Or do you have to buy a new phone? You may consider getting a phone that works in many countries then make calls using Wi-Fi.
b) Do you need a return ticket?
Some countries will not allow you to enter without a return ticket. Make sure to have a return ticket. Google is your friend for finding out this information. Timeshare is another important thing to know when you travel abroad or anywhere else. So check about how can I get out of my timeshare.
4. Budget your trip
Budget your expenses and how much you will be spending on your trip. It is good to do a budget so you don’t overextend yourself. Be careful when travelling abroad with others. Getting into arguments about money leads to everyone being pissed. Be sure to discuss how you will share the expenses. Keep track of the money split and write it down.
5. Speak the language
Even a couple of phrases will help. Some places you’ll find an abundant number of English speakers, usually the younger people around universities. Other times, you’ll be completely screwed.
6. Renew all your cards
If you plan to travel for an extended period of time, then try to renew all your credit cards, licenses, etc. Most credit card companies won’t deliver your card internationally. So you’ll have to get a friend to mail your new credit card to your new address (if you’re there long enough). That means you’ll be dealing with other countries mail service. And believe me, this can be a real pain.
7. Travel Insurance
This one is going to be a personal choice. I’ve heard nightmare stories about travellers getting into accidents and having no way to pay for it. Personally, I’ve never travelled with insurance and have had no problems…so far…Make your own decision. There are lots of plans to choose from. Use Google and figure out what plan is best for you.
8. Be safe
It pays to be secure. Invest in money belts, mini locks, travellers’ checks, and exomes.
a) Money belts
When I first arrived in Colombia, one of the locals told me not to take out my wallet. Smart idea. Another smart idea is to buy a money belt, then put your im6portant documents and the majority of your money into it. If someone robs you at gunpoint then you can just hand them whatever is in your pockets. Hopefully, they won’t tell you to get buck nekkid.
b) Mini locks
Use these to lock your zippers shut. If you’re travelling abroad on a budget then chances are you’ll be sharing rooms with other travellers. Most travellers you meet will be cool. Others you’ll want to kick in the junk. And then there’s the SOBs who will take your stuff. The mini lock is the first line of defense against this. This way you’ll know no one rooted through your bags.
c) Travellers’ checks
Traveler’s check can be your emergency backup if you should happen to lose all your money and credit cards. If you’re staying in one place for some time, then keep your travellers’ checks stashed there. The beauty about travellers’ checks is even if you lose them, you can call up the bank that issued them and get them replaced.
Also Read: How Does e-Visa Promote Tourism