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My Top 3 Tips for Traveling Abroad

Updated on September 16, 2011

For a little over two months, my friend and I (in the red) traveled across Japan and Thailand.

This was our first big trip abroad; previously, I had been to Canada but it certainly wasn't half wa around the world. What I learned during the trip has been indispensable and will help both of us in future travel plans.

What I'd like to share, in this hub, are my top three tips for traveling abroad.

These are things we only learned after being on the road that everyone should take into consideration if planning for an overseas visit or vacation.

Let's get started ...

#1: Friend the Locals

During our travels, we made it one of the main points to make friends with the locals.

A guide book can certainly introduce a country to you but it's really all about the people. Most monuments and sight seeing locations will generally always be there but it's really the people that make your travels unique.

What I recommend is to make friends with people that live in the country you're visiting because this opens up a wealth of information about the best places to eat, see and experiences that are worth doing that aren't just part of the "tourist trap".

For example, we made friends with a few people during our stay in Koh Phangan, Thailand in which we were invited to birthday parties, shown around the places that locals go and great party environment instead of just hanging out with other Western travelers - the experiences we had, with the locals, were truly unique (something you can't get by only staying around the hotel and tourist spots).

#2: Diversify your Money

Within the first week of being in Thailand, our debit cards were stolen. This put a HUGE amount of stress on us because we only had one other credit card and very little cash. In all, we had to rely on lengthy Western Union transfers which put us out of business for many days on end during the transfer.

What I recommend is that you always have access to multiple bank accounts, debit cards, cash and credit cards; try to have as many options as you can when it comes to expenses.

Sometimes things get out of control; someone that steals your card may drain your bank account before you can freeze the account which puts you in a pickle when waiting for the bank to fix the mess - having other options to pay for your trip is very important when things like this happen.

#3: Go Outside your Comfort Zone

A lot of people taking over sea vacations or traveling seem to get too wrapped up with hanging around the hotel or tourist spots; doing this makes you miss out on a lot of little things that can be found by going outside of your comfort zone.

Don't feel afraid to try something new when traveling abroad. Ask friends you've made, in the country, for things that the locals enjoy which may not be mentioned in travel guide books.

Try new food and drinks that you've never heard of; don't choose items that look familiar because you miss out on experiencing the culture through food.

Participate in local events or play sports with the locals; you'll find you can easily build connections with people around the world by playing a sport - even when you're bad.

Also, take pictures and write - keeping some kind of journal will keep you "sane" while traveling for lengthy periods of time - it acts like an anchor so you don't become too overwhelmed of your experiences.

Travel Light, Travel Now

A lot of people say that traveling abroad is expensive but this isn't the case. When you consider that within a year you spend thousands of dollars on going out to eat, events and entertainment, you're throwing money toward things that aren't nearly as mind blowing as experiencing a new culture. (That's my opinion).

My best advice is to take action and pick a country you want to visit. Begin researching the price of tickets, food, entertainment, shelter and travel to pull up a budget. Start putting a little bit of money toward your travel plans every month.

In due time, you'll be on your way, traveling abroad, and experiencing the world. It's easier than you imagine!

I just recently launch a new website about life and traveling that you may find interesting, come visit at

Ever travel abroad? Share your own tips below.

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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice hub. I agree with the money diversification point. I've heard of so many people having money stolen. Socks are a great place for notes!

      I always find I pack far too much so have started to learn to pack light.

    • Bootsmade4walkin profile image

      Bootsmade4walkin 6 years ago from Washington, DC / Leadville, CO

      Great tips! I think we are of a similar mindset.

    • REALfoodie profile image

      C De Melo 6 years ago from Florence, Italy and WORLDWIDE

      I am a professional, international tour guide. Your advice is EXCELLENT. Bravo!

      -Florence Insider :)

    • bonnebartron profile image

      bonnebartron 6 years ago from never one place for too long

      good advice!