Travel can be an excellent opportunity to expand your horizons and refresh your world-view. It can also backfire on you if you don’t take the time to prepare for the inevitable culture shock, whether your journey is domestic or international. Follow these tips and tricks to get the most out of your travel experience.
When traveling, it’s important to pack light. Pack items within other items (rolled-up socks and underwear inside your shoes, for example). If possible, bring knitted or microfiber garments that you can roll up tightly in your bag. Always bring clothes you can wash in the hotel sink and hang to dry if necessary. Roll all garments instead of folding.
When traveling to a country outside of North America and Western Europe, carry cash or pre-purchased traveler’s checks. You cannot count on your credit or debit card to work the same way it does at home, nor is there any guarantee of access to ATMs. Converting your money or buying traveler’s checks before you leave also protects you against unscrupulous money changers.
Before you travel internationally, learn where your country’s embassies and consulates are in your destination country. These are not resources for the casual traveler. Hopefully you will never need them. If you find yourself in legal trouble, though, consulates and embassies can provide vital assistance in navigating unfamiliar and unfriendly legal waters.
Be vigilant when dealing with local police or other officials, in case they’re not who they claim to be, but instead are imposters. You should never give anyone your original passport no matter who they purport to be, or you could end up stranded in a strange land. If you are asked to travel to any offices, insist on walking. Do not get into the car of someone you do not know.
Bring your own comfort items on the plane. With airlines trying to recoup costs wherever they can while keeping ticket prices low, many have resorted to charging for many of the comfort items that used to be free. A travel pillow, blanket, music and headphones can save you precious money that is better spent on your vacation.
To make a long airport layover fly by in a flash, see if you can purchase a day pass for one of the airport’s exclusive lounges. These lounges are meant for the airlines’ best customers, but with a day pass, you will be able to relax in style with free food and drinks, as well as, clean bathrooms, while you wait for your flight.
If you are traveling to Mexico or the Caribbean during hurricane season, it’s a wise idea to purchase travel insurance, if it’s within your budget. Unfortunately, by the time a hurricane warning is forecast, it’s too late to buy coverage, so make sure you get it at the time that you book your vacation. For a price, you can obtain “Cancel for Any Reason”� insurance that lets you cancel your trip for reasons not already specified in your policy.
Now the choice is yours, so get out there and enjoy finding new places and people to challenge your preconceptions. Armed with a little extra knowledge now about the experience of traveling, you can expect a few less bumps on the road to your destination. Share this article with friends and family, who may be heading out with you or on journeys of their own.