Everyone loves to travel, be it a quick getaway to an island nearby or a week long vacation to a top tourist destination. Social media sources enticing us with adequate infotainment on untapped locations we see more affinity towards experiences than buying tangibles. Did you know that international tourism has increased from 528 million in 2005 to 1.19 billion in 2015 and the number has been steadily growing since.
Traveling to a new country gives you the opportunity to explore a completely different culture, food, meet new people and so much more. As someone who travels frequently for work and fun I’ve jotted down a few things which I do EVERYTIME before my international (and domestic) trips to ensure that everything goes smoothly
First and foremost I always start by downloading an offline map of the entire country which I am visiting so that even when I am in a place with no network or WIFI I can access the maps and reach my location. While at it, I also save important places such as hotels or nearby restaurants and sight-seeing options on the app.
Download the language of the country you are visiting in google translate. I recently travelled to Bangkok so I downloaded Thai which helped me talk with the cab drivers and made commuting and asking questions easy. Google Translate also has a feature where you can use the camera mode on the app and it’ll translate whatever is written be it a sign board or a list of ingredients on the back of a cup noodles (Don’t ask).
Cell phone Connectivity/SIM Card
Surprisingly a lot of people skip this option to save a few bucks but I suggest you either activate international roaming or take a sim card at the airport (cheaper alternative). I usually take an international roaming whenever I am traveling abroad as I need to keep my number active for work calls. For INR 1,500-2,000 you can get 3 GB data and unlimited incoming and few hours outgoing for a month (depending on what network you are using).
This goes without saying but keep a copy of all your important documents available offline in google drive and in your phone. A soft copy of your passport, passport photo, flight and stay details are some of the essentials . Also keep a hard copy of your passport with 2 passport photos with you in case you end up losing your passport this will make things slightly easier.
Plan in Advance
I know some of us like to be adventurous (myself included) but plan at least the first 2 days of your stay in advance. There is no point landing in an unknown country and looking around for stay options. The more in advance you book a stay, the cheaper your it will be.
Always carry a minimum of 100-200 US dollars, as it’s one of the most widely accepted currency. Also this might sound odd but I always wear/have small amount of gold jewellery on me. Be it earrings or a ring, if I ever lose my wallet, I can always redeem them in exchange for cash.
Do Your Research
Last but not the least, do a little research before you visit a new country. See what is acceptable in terms of outfits and gestures. We need to be mindful and respect peoples values and culture. Make sure it’s a good experience for everyone. Fun fact: Did you know tipping is considered rude in Japan?
With a few hits and misses these are some tips that I found to be most helpful when I’m traveling abroad. Is there anything you do in particular before you travel, please help a fellow traveller out and leave it in the comments below.