Hi “A Compass Rose” readers! I’m so excited to be here guest posting today! I’m Casey from True Colours, a travel blog that encompasses my passion for traveling, my background as an expat and third culture kid (which I have in common with Bonnie) and my advice and tips for everyone out there looking to add a little more travel to their lives.
For many people looking to make that leap to do more international travel, it can seem daunting and many times it’s hard to explain in a conversation all the things that are helpful to know before you travel abroad. However, it’s important to make a mental checklist for yourself to check off a few things before you head off to another country, wherever that might be. So in no particular order, here are some travel tips for first time travelers outside of your native country or before you take that amazing trip you’ve always wanted to.
1. Make sure your passports and travel documents are updated and current.
Many countries require your passport be valid for 6 months before the expiration date to enter the country, so confirm the dates before you leave and make sure your passport is current and valid. Also, confirm that the country you’re visiting doesn’t require a separate visa as that can take longer to acquire and requires extra work.
2. Be aware and respectful of the foreign culture you’re traveling to.
There are many places in the world that have very distinct customs or beliefs that you should be at least aware of when traveling internationally. For example, if you’re traveling to the Middle East, be aware of their religious traditions and be respectful with how you dress and act. Each country will have its own customs and cultural differences, so be aware of those from researching them before you go.
3. Learn a few key words and phrases of the local language.
Nothing puts a smile on a local’s face like someone trying to speak, at least a few words, in the local language. Know that when traveling outside of your home country and your home language, the rest of the world is living in their own language, so be mindful of that. Nobody hates it as much as when the foreigners show up in their country and expect everyone to speak their language. Show some respect for the local language and it will work wonders.
4. Arrange activities and other specialty items through your hotel or in advance.
Though unfortunate, in many countries, locals will take advantage of the fact that you are a tourist and they will charge you much more for experiences than if you book through your hotel or in advance. Sometimes it can also be safer arranging certain activities through your hotel as they will know the reputable people to go through to make sure you have a memorable experience as well as a safe one.
5. Travel with photocopies of important documents.
This isn’t an absolute necessary step and while I still always do this, I’ve never had to actually use them while traveling but better safe than sorry. I always travel with a photocopy of our passports, my marriage license and any other documents needed for specific trips. I carry copies of our passports in case our passports were to get lost or stolen and our marriage license mostly because we have different last names and if anything were to happen, we’d have proof that my husband and I are married. I carry both hard copies in my bag which I lock in the safe in our hotel room at the destination and upload digital copies to my email account in case I’d need to access them while on the go.
Traveling internationally doesn’t have to be a big hurdle and once you do it, it becomes easier and easier. But it’s also about learning from each culture and not expecting that culture to be exactly like your own. You’ll get more out of your travels if you take in all that the culture has to offer and cherish how unique it is. Another important thing to remember when preparing for your trip abroad is that wherever you are going, there are people just like us, living their lives and in the end, we’re all just the same.
This was a guest post by my sponsor and lovely blogger friend Casey from True Colours blog. Make sure to check out her travel blog which is rich full of amazing travel photography and more tips for your future trips! Thank you Casey!