7 Smart Travel Tips for Going Out of the Country
1. Pack Smart
Bring Clothing That Will Help You Blend In
Do research before your travels about how the people dress in the country you are visiting. You do not want to stand out too much as a tourist. This could leave you susceptible to getting mugged or, in some of the more dangerous countries, kidnapped.
In countries like England and Germany, I found that I could dress how I would normally dress in the United States. Other countries like Mexico, Spain, and Italy, I wore a long, flowy skirt and a casual tank top. Of course, you will also want to do research about what the weather is going to be like when you are visiting.
Bring Comfortable Shoes
If you are visiting another country, chances are you are going to explore its culture and all of its sights. Make sure you bring the right shoes with you for your trip. When I traveled in Europe, I was on my feet the entire day for weeks exploring. I wore sandals or sneakers that provided my feet with the support they needed.
Tip: Do not choose your trip as the time to break in your shoes. You will be miserable trying to walk with blisters on your feet. Break them in beforehand.
Leave Your Expensive Items at Home
Leave your expensive purses, accessories, and electronics at home. If you really want to bring an item, ask yourself this: How would I feel if this was stolen from me? Wearing and using expensive products in public can make you a target for pickpockets.
2. Act Smart
Be smart with how you behave in public. Keep your purse in front of you, and keep your wallet in your front pocket. It is okay to take pictures in front of the attractions you want, but do not flash your money, and do not attract attention to yourself. A friend of mine had people follow them back to their hotel and hold them up at gunpoint. Everything was stolen from them that day—family heirlooms and passports included. Do not let this be you!
Also, be mindful of your conversations in your taxi or Uber. These people know where you are staying when they pick you up. Do not give them a reason to steal from you. Whenever I travel, I walk with confidence and act like I know where I am going. Comically, my actions will result in tourists approaching me for directions because they think I am a local.
3. Learn the Basics of the Language
Use the internet to look up simple sentences like "Where is the restroom?" or "Can I order a...". Attempting to speak the language of the country you are visiting can go a long way. The locals really appreciate it even if you do sound silly in the process.
4. Prep for Comfort on the Airplane
The longest plane ride I have been on was almost 10 hours long. Even the ones that are under 5 hours can feel miserable in coach. Every time you fall asleep, your head will fall to your chest, waking you up immediately. Your neck will be sore by the time you get off the plane.
Buy yourself a neck pillow; it's worth it! I always felt too cheap to buy one, but I finally caved and used one during my last trip to Puerto Rico. I felt so much more comfortable and was able to sleep for a longer period of time.
Airplanes that fly overseas will have screens on the back of the seats for you to watch movies and play games on. But do not rely on these to keep you occupied during your trip. Some of them may even ask for you to pay for their services. Always bring a book to read, bring your own earphones to listen to your own music, and download a movie onto your smart device just in case.
5. Bring the Right Adapter
Other countries have different outlets and different volts of electricity. An adapter is needed for some countries, but not all, in order to plug in your electronics. Do some research before your travels to see if an adapter is needed for the country you are visiting.
6. Keep Your Passport Current
If you do not already have one, get a passport as soon as you can. I would recommend getting the paperwork done six months in advance to be safe. Also, always stay up to date on when your passport expires.
Travel Tip for Brides on Their Honeymoon
Do not change your last name until after you get back from your honeymoon. Make sure your maiden name is on your plane ticket and on your passport when you travel. It must be a match, otherwise you will have issues in the airport.
7. Be on the Lookout for Travel Advisories
The United States has a government website that allows you to type in your destination to see if there are any travel advisories for that country. The unfortunate reality of the world we live in today is that there are bad people out there. Please be safe and choose smart times to travel.
Note for the Ladies: Thinking of starting a family? See if the Zika virus is a threat to you in the country you are visiting.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Jackie Zelko