Whether you’re going to Spain for a field trip or climbing the Himalayas, going abroad for the first time in your life is a daunting experience. Follow these tips and you’ll do just fine.
Be prepared before leaving
Pack everything a week before you leave. This will prevent the stress and hurrying that usually occurs the day before you take off. Also, in the time between packing and leaving you may remember something important that you would not have taken if you packed hurriedly the day before the trip. You should also take more than what you think you’ll need. You never know if you’ll lose your pants while on the trip, and it’s be embarrassing if you had to walk around in your boxers the whole time.
Rest on the plane ride and bring your own food
Yes, there are tons of free movies that you will love to watch on the plane. Resist the temptation though and you will be rested with minimal jet lag when you arrive at your destination. Sleep is the ultimate medicine. Also, bring food that you’re used to eating and know you can digest easily. Something about the airplane being in a high altitude and plane attendants who are in constant jet lag makes airplane food difficult to stomach for many people.
Be careful what you put in your stomach
You may not be used to the chemicals or bacteria in water from other countries. Drinking it could make you sick and miserable. Just stick to boiled or bottled water. Also, you should be picky with what you eat. Your body is wary after sitting on a plane for so long and is still getting used to the new environment. Eating 50 clams, no matter how good they taste, will give you explosive diarrhea (personal experience).
Be aware that things are different and go with the flow
Different countries have drastically different people and customs. If you get off the plane and everyone is kissing both your cheeks, do the same to them. You will only act awkward if you think you’re acting awkward. If the country you go to is crowded, watch your pockets or better yet don’t bring any money wherever you go. You can’t expect everyone to act the same as they do in your neighborhood.
Think of being in a different country as a vacation, whether you’re going to a funeral or a honeymoon. You’ll find things that you can’t find at home like animals, buildings, tourist attractions and so much more. If your mindset is to rush through everything so you can get as much as possible done, you won’t have a good time. Be relaxed and have a flexible structure. Don’t worry if it rains the day you were supposed to go to the zoo. Take advantage of the free time to rest, get in touch with people back home, or just do something else. If you want your first time abroad to be a fun experience, than just have fun.
Please leave comments and other tips for traveling abroad below.