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Some Simple Tips For Traveling Abroad

Updated on July 2, 2014
Just a random photo I snapped during one of my travels.
Just a random photo I snapped during one of my travels. | Source

Make Traveling Abroad Easier

Whether it's your first time traveling abroad, or if you're a seasoned veteran, there are always the butterflies in your stomach the night before you get going...

Did I pack everything?

Am I forgetting something?

Where's my passport?

What if I lose something?

What if [insert terrible thing here] happens?

You get what I mean. So here are some tips on what to do, and how to prepare.

Keep At Least One Change Of Clothes In Your Carry-on Bag

The fact of the matter is that sometimes the airline will misplace or lose your bags. I don't mean to frighten you here, but most of the people I have spoken to that have traveled extensively have had their luggage misplaced or lost. I am one of the fortunate ones who has not had to deal with this mind-bending inconvenience.

Be sure to pack at least a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. Two or three would actually be ideal. A small bottle of mouthwash comes in handy too, I've heard.

Make Photo Copies Of Your Passport

What if you lose your passport? I don't know, I've never had the displeasure of losing mine. When I travel, I'm completely paranoid about my passport, so I keep it under lock and key all the time.

However, for emergency purposes, it is a good idea to make photocopies of your passport. Keep one with you on your trip, and leave one with someone you know.

Just to be on the safe side, I recommend leaving two copies with people you know, and bring three copies with you. When it comes to this, it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you are bringing a visa, credit cards, or any other form of ID it is also a wise idea to make photocopies of them as well.

Learn Some Common Phrases In Your Host Country's Language

It is good to know a few helpful phrases in your country's native tongue while you're traveling through it. They come in handy. And, maybe more importantly, the locals will warm up to you much more quickly when they see you are making an attempt. If you don't make any attempt, people will shout at you like you're a daft child.

Here are a few useful phrases

  • First, the obvious ones: hello, please, thank you, goodbye.
  • Nice to meet you
  • How much does this cost? (Pricing)
  • Take me to the hotel, please. (For the cab drivers)
  • How do you say this? (In case you want to learn words on the fly)
  • May I please use your bathroom?
  • May I please have directions to [insert location]?
  • Good morning, good afternoon, and good night/evening
  • Excuse me and pardon me
  • I'm sorry
  • I don't understand.
  • Numbers one through ten. More if you can manage.

These, I have found, prove to be the most useful. Also, you will get some laughs out of the natives when you try to talk to them. Usually it's warm, rarely is it malicious.

Study Some Of Their Customs

Before you travel to another nation, please be sure to study their customs, values, and norms. If not, you could very well make a gigantic ass of yourself--and that's really the last thing you want to do while you're so far out of your comfort zone.

Some places kiss on the cheeks, other places only eat with a specific hand. In some countries, the thumbs up sign is disrespectful etc., etc. Whether you find their customs to be stupid matters not. Just abide by them the short time you are there, and you will get on much better with the locals.

I made an absolute ass out of myself in Thailand several times. With food, with customs...with so many goddamn things. Funny to look back on, but not so funny while it's happening.

Register With Your Embassy

This is a precautionary step. Register with your embassy in the country or countries you're traveling to. It is good to have as many people as possible know where you're going and, when you're in a foreign land, no one is more of a friend to you than your embassy.

Install Skype On Your Laptop Or Phone

When it comes to traveling abroad, Skype is a must.

All you need is a wifi connection and you can call anyone in the world at any time. If the other person also has Skype the call is free of charge.

If you want to call phone numbers from Skype, there is a small fee--much less expensive than you will ever get through a phone company. This is also very important in case of emergencies.

Seeing a theme here? Be prepared for emergencies.

Be Sure To Enjoy Yourself

Please, be sure to enjoy yourself. You're going to meet morons all over the world, but don't let them color the place in a bad light. Most people you come across will be warm, welcoming, and friendly. There is so much to see and do.

Of course you should stay alert and mind your Ps and Qs, but this applies to any city from New York to Buenos Aires to Paris to Tokyo.

A last bit of advice: be kind. It's usually infectious. Humans are humans, irrespective of the landmass they happened to have been born on.


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Great tips on traveling.

      ...and if you see something as you walk out of the house that attracts you follow your gut. Just came home from Alaska. Walking out of the house I was grabbing a light sweatshirt for the airplane. My winter running jacket was hanging there too. I thought planes can be chilly and grabbed it. My luggage didn't get lost, but the box I shipped a month before didn't get to camp until a week after I did. The running jacket and my light weight ski jacket kept me warm until my heavier clothes arrived. When traveling follow your instincts. If the hair on the back of your neck stands up, "Get out of there".

      Never thought about contacting the embassy before, but it is a good idea.

    • swilliams profile image

      Emunah La Paz 3 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for this helpful information! I'm going to book mark this article, I plan on doing a lot traveling in the future. Voted up!