So you have finally bowed to the challenge and decided to venture into the unknown as you tick a few items off your bucket list. That’s great, that’s commendable. But there are few things that you ought to know. A vacation abroad, however short or long it may be, presents a myriad of new and unseen challenges. That is, in as much as it is touted to be just what you need to ‘feel alive again’. Nonetheless, the eventualities that are a characteristic of a trip on foreign soil should not dissuade you from leaving your hometown. In fact, embrace it as a once-in-a-lifetime challenge. That being said, here are few essential traveling tips that will help you stay prepared for whatever curve ball your upcoming adventure will throw towards you.
1. Make at Least Two Copies of Your Passports and Government ID
Having several copies of your passports and driving license makes it easy to identify yourself in case your original copies are stolen, lost or misplaced. Bring a copy of your original documents with you,( store them separately from the originals ) and leave the other copies with a trusted friend, spouse or relative. Besides, most governments often offer special travelers enrollment programs in their embassies or consulates on foreign soil. This way, should you lose your original identification documents while abroad, you can use your photocopies – accompanied by proof of loss – to apply for a new one.
2. Travel Light, Particularly, Your Wallet
According to a 2014 survey, lost and stolen tourists’ wallets are one of the leading causes of identity theft and credit card fraud. Thus, just carry only the cards that you will need to see your trip through. By all means, do not travel with unnecessary debit and credit cards nor should you carry your checkbook. And if it is necessary to carry more than a single card, consider storing away the other one in a secure location such as your hotel safe as soon as you unpack your bags.
In similar tandem, pack absolutely only what you will need for your trip. Avoid unnecessary luggage to streamline your passage through various airport customs.
3. Your Money, Your Lifeline
In the next couple of days, you will be in an entirely alien land, maybe unaccompanied. The only thing that will stand between you and access to the very basic necessities of life – leave alone the expected luxuries of your trip – will be your money.
For starters, it should go without saying that at this juncture, you should have a decent stash of cash set aside for your forthcoming excursion. The best way is holding this money in the form of traveler’s cheques, or on a Visa/MasterCard branded debit/ATM card. By all means, avoid walking around with a significant amount of money ( in cold hard cash ). Depending on your traveling budget, the maximum you should ever have on you is no more than $500. Otherwise, you will be running the risk of getting robbed or scammed and thus losing a huge part of your traveling budget. While at it, make sure that don’t lose sight of your debit/credit card, whether swiping at a gas station or a high-end eatery.
4. While Packing, Remember that the Goal is to Blend in with the Locals
It is only natural and human nature for any population to treat tourists differently. Some will overquote their prices; others will try to swindle you by taking advantage of your minimal knowledge of the area while a few establishments will award you special privileges. Nonetheless, it is always wise to try to blend in the local population as much as you can.
Therefore, even as you zip up your bags, conduct extensive online research on the mannerisms, dress code and the expected code of conduct of the local population. In some Muslim-majority countries, for instance, women are supposed to cover their heads in public. So factor that even as you shop for your bikini outfit.
The Bottom Line
In line with blending in with the local population, it also helps to learn a bit of the local lingo and etiquette of the local community. This will not only make it easier for you to converse with the natives but will also inspire them to extend invaluable hospitality and friendliness to you during your stay.