10 things to know before travelling abroad

Posted by Chloe Cowley on 18 March 2022

With the travel industry finally picking up again after a long two years, it’s time to get thinking about your next adventure abroad.

Travelling should be an easy-going and memorable experience, but it can be daunting if you are travelling to an unfamiliar place. We’ve compiled a list of tips to consider when preparing for your next overseas trip to make sure you get the most out of it.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey. Picture: Flickr commons / Pedro Szekely

1. Make a list of everything you’ll need 

Planning what to pack is the best way to maximise the limited baggage space you have when travelling. Make sure to research the weather at your destination and take note of the things you’ll need. You can always do some laundry at your destination or mix and match what you already have. This will also allow space for anything you might want to bring back home.

There are a few essentials that are good to pack. A lock is one. It can be a small combination lock or even some cable ties, you never know when they may come in handy. Whether you’re backpacking and want to keep your valuable items safe in hostels, or just want to be extra cautious of pickpockets in crowded streets or in public transport, this is always a good thing to have.

Another useful piece of clothing to pack is a sarong or a scarf. Not only can they be used to protect you from the heat or cold, but they can also be worn as wraps in more conservative countries where you need to cover your skin.

2. Comfortable walking shoes are essential

Ireland is good for hiking. Picture: Unsplash / Andreas Wagner

Visiting a new place can mean that you’re on your feet a lot as you fill your days with exciting adventures. Holidays usually involve a lot more walking than you think as you explore the streets of your destination, walk around tourist attractions, or hike.

There’s nothing more inconvenient than getting blisters on your feet after the first day, so we recommend packing a comfortable pair of shoes and sandals (and proper hiking shoes if you plan on lacing up to get outdoors).

3. Familiarise yourself with the language

If you are travelling to a place with a foreign language, it might be a good idea to learn a few basic words. It will be helpful to get the gist of what signboards and menus say. Knowing how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can go a long way.

A great app to help with this is Duolingo. It only takes a few minutes to do a basic lesson each day.

4. Download podcasts for long journeys

Edinburgh. Picture: Unsplash / Ross Sneddon

Getting good sleep on a long flight is not always the easiest thing to do, but downloading a few interesting podcasts or your favourite music albums can make the time pass quickly. It is also a good way to close your eyes and take a break from looking at a screen. There are loads of free content podcasts apps available,  and music streaming apps like Spotify often offer podcasts too.

5. Budget and keep extra cash

If you don’t want to worry about over-spending on your vacation, then a budget is a must. You can figure out what you want to spend on food, activities and accommodation beforehand so you know what to stick to. Always save a little bit of extra money in case of emergencies.

Keep a small amount of cash somewhere safe, just in case you lose your wallet or your card doesn’t work for some reason. Just make sure to keep it in a secure spot, like in your toiletry bag or in a hidden pocket of your backpack or hand bag.

6. Write down the address of your hotel

Write down the address and location of your hotel on a piece of paper, especially if you are travelling alone. It is also a good idea to write down a contact number too. Although this may sound silly, your phone might die unexpectedly and you will want to be able to tell a taxi driver where to take you, or ask for help if you’re on foot.

7. Keep an open mind 

New places offer new experiences and adventures that you’ll probably not get to experience elsewhere. You don’t want to regret not trying something when you get home, so challenge yourself to taste different foods, learn about different cultures and experience new things to make the most of your experience abroad.

READ: Travel hacks for the solo traveller

8. Try the local food (and avoid fancy restaurants) 

Street food in Hong Kong. Picture: Flickr commons / David Guyler

Often the more popular restaurants that attract tourists are quite over-priced. If you’d like to save some money eating out, or taste a more authentic meal, challenge yourself to visit a restaurant frequented by locals, or try some street food. Just remember to stay away from food that might involve unethical wildlife practices.

9. Wake up early

Manhattan Bridge. Picture: Unsplash / Phil Henry

Famous destinations can be bustling with tourists, especially during the high season. If you want to beat the lines and the crowded streets, wake up a little earlier. Grab a quick coffee while you enjoy the first glimmers of sunshine. It is also a perfect time of day to take pictures, because the light is soft and the colours of the sky are beautiful.

10. Take many, many pictures

If you like to take pictures, then bring your camera along to capture all your adventures and memories. Even a smartphone does the trick! You won’t regret it and can share all of your fantastic experiences with friends and family on your return. You’ll only experience some things once and great pictures of your holiday are the perfect souvenirs. That being said, don’t forget to put the camera away after a few snaps, and just live in the moment.

Featured picture: Pixabay


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