So, you’ve made your decision: you want to go on your first-ever trip abroad. But as exhilarating as it is, it’s also intimidating, isn’t it?
After all, traveling means you’ll be thousands of miles away from your home, in a country where not everyone speaks your language. You’ll also need to get your paperwork right and leave no stone unturned when it comes to planning… That’s a lot, right?
Don’t worry: this mini-guide will help you take care of the most stressful aspect of a trip abroad.
Prepare for Full Immersion
Once you step down on another country’s ground, you’ll want to make the most out of your limited time there. That means being present there and now, 24/7. And how can you do that if you have to worry about an assignment due or exam prep, right?
So, take care of all non-travel-related affairs before you hop onto that plane. These days, you don’t even have to do it yourself! You can buy essay on EssayPro to have someone else deal with your homework. While they do, you’ll be able to live your best life without a single worry crossing your mind!
Have Your Documents in Order
Yes, getting your paperwork done is hardly the fun part. But it’s a necessary evil. Here’s a short checklist to guide you.
- Passport. Do you have your passport? If not, apply for it as soon as possible – otherwise, you won’t be allowed to leave your home country.
- Visa. Does your destination require a visa? If so, you’ll have to apply for one. Some countries allow applying and receiving it online or at the border.
- Student/ISIC card. It can come in handy if you want to take advantage of your status to get discounts. But be careful: some places recognize only the international student card (ISIC), which is paid.
- Other entry requirements. Some countries require certain vaccinations. COVID-related restrictions are also put in place in most places. So, be thorough!
Prepare the Trip in Advance
Apart from the paperwork that has to be done well ahead, some other preparations are better not to be left for the last minute, too. The reason is simple – the sooner you do, the better deals you’ll be able to secure.
Here’s what you should book in advance
- Tickets. This goes both for your international flight tickets and any transport you’re going to take within the country. Last-minute train and bus tickets can cost a small fortune!
- Accommodation. Opt for hostels for short stays and Airbnbs if you want to explore your destination for a month or two. Always look for a place that has a fully-functional kitchen you can use. Cooking your meals can save you a lot in countries like Denmark!
Avoid Packing Too Much
If you want to travel on a low budget, checked-in luggage isn’t a good option for you. Plus, you’ll have to go from the airport to your accommodation using public transport. This is when having a bulky suitcase (or worse – two) becomes a huge inconvenience.
As for what and how to pack, here are four quick tips:
- roll your clothes to save up space in your suitcase or backpack;
- prioritize comfort over good looks when choosing clothes;
- remember to take a power bank, any medications you might need, and the toiletries bag;
- consider leaving your laptop at home (unless you know you’ll have to write descriptive essays all trip long – but then why not offload that task to someone else, once again?).
Think About Your Safety
It’s not fun to think about, but a lot of things can go wrong. So, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
- Invest in a fanny pack or money belt. Tourists remain to be a favorite target for pickpockets around the world. So, keep all of your valuables in a fanny pack or money belt – these are the hardest places to steal from.
- Don’t put all eggs in one basket. That means “Don’t carry all of your documents, cash, and credit cards in one place.” A good rule of thumb is to always have around $100 in cash and copies of your documents in a hard-to-reach place.
- Get travel insurance. If you have an accident or simply catch a severe case of a stomach bug, healthcare bills can quickly stack up when you don’t have insurance.
Learn Some Local Language Basics
In most countries around the world, you shouldn’t expect everyone you come across to speak (or even understand) English. So, learn some basic vocabulary to be able to explain what you need in the local language. These six words and phrases are a good place to start:
- bus stop;
- train station;
- how do I get to/where is [destination]?
It’s also a good idea to learn some words to be polite. Locals will be happy to help someone who made an effort to learn a bit of their language. Here are six essentials to know:
- thank you;
- I don’t speak [local language].
Do Your Research on the Destination
Imagine returning from Vienna and finding out you could’ve gone to the Museum of Fine Arts for free. That’s what can happen if you don’t do your research.
Here are four things you should google before boarding the plane.
- Free admission days. Most European museums have one day per month when you can enter them for free.
- City passes. They can be a worthy investment if they match your plans. Plus, think about public transport ticket bundles or passes.
- Events. Is there a local holiday being celebrated during your trip? Or, maybe, a festival or an art expo?
- Local laws and regulations. Singapore, for example, has a ban for something as innocent to westerners as chewing gum!
P.S. If a trip abroad still feels too intimidating, consider becoming an avid traveler within your home country first. It’ll ease you into the whole “traveling” endeavor.
Final Tip: Have Fun!
Yes, preparing for any trip – whether it’s your first or tenth one – can be a lot to handle. But it’s oh-so-worth-it once the flight is over and you’re free to explore another country!
Here’s one final piece of advice: as soon as you step on another’s country soil, allow yourself to be fully immersed in this adventure. Become an explorer for the time of your trip, concentrate on making the most out of it, and don’t hesitate to go beyond your comfort zone!