Written by Timothy Hatfield ’18
Are you traveling out of the country? Are you confused on what to take with you? Are you worried on how to interact with people of another country? No worries, Here are some tips!
Packing tips: I’m not gonna tell you every item to pack, but rather give you tips on how to research what to pack!
- Packing is tricky for any trip. Before you pack, be sure to know where you are going. Research the area you are staying in. Check to see what kind of facilities are around (laundry, stores, pharmacy, etc.). You may be able to buy some of the things at your location keeping room in your luggage. Check out what services the hotel/hostel provide! Your research will tell you what to pack!
- It’s important to know how much in-country traveling you will be doing. If you’re traveling a lot and your travels require you to take your luggage, it’s probably best to pack light! Hauling all that weight will kill your trip.
- Check the weather!! I cannot express this enough. You want to be comfortable when traveling. If you are going to warmer locations, packing light clothes will be best. If the location is colder, warmer clothes would be best! Checking the weather will also help you prepare for any weather related health issues (sunburn, colds, etc.) and will give you a headstart on buying the appropriate health remedies (sunscreen, aloe, cold medicine). You probably already know this, but most people forget this stage on preparation for traveling!
- In warmer climates, BRING A BIG REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE!! Staying hydrated is key to having a successful trip in warmer locations. You don’t want to pass out and ruin your trip. Most airlines will allow you to take the water bottle on the plane with you, as long as it is not filled. Or you can put it in your suitcase.
- It is safe to assume that the country you are traveling to does not have the same plug type as America does. I’m talking electricity to charge your phones and their items! You might need to purchase a power adapter. This is where research comes in handy again. Google your country, and research what kind of adapter you need! Amazon is the best way to purchase. It’s cheaper! Or find a buddy that may have one.
- Wear comfortable shoes!
- Sunglasses will save your life in sunny locations!
- Last but not least, let’s talk money! Again, the currency will be different in the country you are traveling to. The first thing you need to do is evaluate your first week, or couple of days. Determine what you will need money for and how much! Do not forget to add leisure money and money for food. Once you’ve figured that out, you can exchange the money one of three ways: your bank (They may have a currency exchange program that will allow you to get the correct currency. This is the cheapest way.), currency exchange at the airport (Usually the company would be called Travelex, and often Eurobank in other countries. You can visit them and exchange your money there. I would like to caution that they have an exchange fee. The fees are determined on the type of currency.), and last, an ATM in the country you are visiting (research if an ATM will be near you before you decide to go this route! Beware that multiple fees may be applied when using an ATM. Fee one is your bank fee if they have one for using a different ATM other than their own. Fee two is the currency exchange fee. And sometimes, but not always, the ATM fee for the bank you are using to exchange the currency. All of these, plus the sum you are withdrawing). If you are going to use any of these options, my advice is to take out most of your money the first time to avoid frequent ATM withdraws. And take the rest out a second time! Or, if you’re brave enough, take it all out. Just be very cautious of your money both of yourself and spending, and of criminal action from others. If something were to happen, back up money would be ideal to have. One more thing, be sure to call your bank and let them know you are traveling out of the country! You don’t want your card locked up in another country with no access to your funds!
Do’s and Don’ts in another country:
- Do not be ignorant. Know that it is not your home and you are a visitor. The place you are visiting most likely thinks poorly of Americans. Especially when it comes to politics.
- Don’t talk politics.
- Part of being ignorant and rude is trying to mimic the accents of the people whose country you are visiting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed this from a group I traveled with. It is very disrespectful, and racist.
- Don’t be racist.
- Do not join a protest while visiting. Again, that is not your home and the people may find it disrespectful. Even if you agree with what they are protesting about.
- Be friendly, but not too friendly. People may already know you are a tourist, and may try to get you to share a meal or drink with them. That’s fine and all if you want to, but do not do it alone. Also, they may try to get you to buy the meal.
- Don’t go anywhere without a buddy.
- Don’t go into anyone’s home. If you do, at least tell someone you’re going.
- I found the best way to interact with someone is during shopping! Talk to the store clerks, and ask questions! Even at restaurants! It is also the best way to learn the basics of their language.
- Learn the basics of their language! Learn to say, “hello/goodbye”, “please/thank you/no thank you”, “sorry”, “yes/no”, “how much?”, and “excuse me”. These will help sooo much!
- Embrace their culture. It never hurts to learn about their way of life. Ask questions! Don’t ever assume anything.
- HAVE FUN!!