If you’re a newbie to traveling (especially international traveling), there are things that you ought to know and understand.
Those who have been there before will vary in terms of what they think you should prioritize. There will be those who will tell you to prioritize getting the best deals for your travel, hence, telling you to take advantage of the amazing Expedia deals that you can get your hands on. There will be veteran travelers who will tell you to meet and befriend as many locals as you can, to make your experience more worthwhile. And then again, other travelers will prioritize practicality, telling you to be a smart traveler with JetAirways.
Whatever the case may be, the point is that wherever you might be going in the world, there are always important considerations to make.
Among the more common mistakes that newbie travelers make is when they forget to suspend their biases and impose their own ‘standards from home’ on each city or country they are in. This mistake can be pretty easy to make and can be forgivable especially for newbies. However, it’s still valid to say that if you can avoid it, then why don’t you?
Of course, this will then raise the question: so how do you avoid making this mistake? Well you won’t have to worry any longer, because on this article you will find some facts that will help you keep those biases and expectations in check, in time for your next flight (in a few weeks or so, maybe).
Fact #1: Not all destinations are created equal.
Just what does that mean? This simply means that, perhaps, to someone who’s new to traveling, it might help to know beforehand the background for each city or country you decide to visit. This is important because there are some destinations that are more difficult than others – challenging requirements for entry, challenging modes of transportation, challenging attitude of locals towards foreigners, and many other forms of challenges. All these will be mitigated to some extent if you do your own research, and then learn to pick your battles.
And yes, your internet connection speed will vary per country, too, so watch out for that and come prepared.
Fact #2: It’s not good to bring your entire closet with you. Please.
While it would be great to be dressed impeccably while taking photos of your #travelgoals, this clearly won’t do well for you especially if you’re traveling alone (or if you’re traveling with friends who are struggling with their own luggage). Remember, in traveling, less is more. The less baggage you carry with you, the more chances you have of actually enjoying what that city or country has to give and offer. The principle behind this is to not impose your idea of ‘home’; instead, do what you can with what you have to make your temporary stay feel like home.
As a good alternative to bringing your entire closet, do a Cher from Clueless and plan your outfits for the entire vacation. That way, you won’t have to bring all your clothes. You will only need to bring those that have made the cut in your outfit plans.
Fact #3: Downloading helpful apps just might save your life.
On one hand, you should not bring your entire closet’s worth of clothes with you. On the other hand, you will need to fill your phone with apps that can and will help you in surviving your trip to a foreign country, especially on the first few days, and especially in a destination where the locals cannot (or, in some cases, refuse to) speak in English. Get those translation apps that work offline, and make sure that those apps work. Also, for the sake of those you’re leaving behind at home, get apps that will ensure that you can still communicate with them while you’re away. Skype is one app, and maybe you can think of others as you look them up.
Perhaps, as a way to tie all these pieces of advice together, the point is simply to strike that beautiful balance between coming prepared and allowing that country or city to surprise you. Sure enough, there will be a lot of unanticipated things along the way, and these might not be as pleasant as you would wish. Rest assured, though, that it’s all part of the process. As the cliche goes: there’s always a first time.
Needless to say, even if you do come prepared, the first time might not go so well. However, by following our advice above you can avoid disaster. Enjoy traveling and have fun.