I’m going on a big trip this summer, and it’s going to be the first time I’m traveling alone. It’s also going to be my first time alone in a foreign country (though I do plan to meet up with some friends at various points during the trip!). I’ve been pretty meticulous about planning things out, so I don’t need help with the basics of traveling or anything like that, but I would really like to hear some expert tips about the little things. What sorts of things do too many travelers forget that I should keep in mind? What small, simple tricks can save me money, help me have more fun, or keep me safer? Thanks in advance for all of your help!
A vacation abroad can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it sounds like you’re more than ready for yours. But there’s no shortage of little things that you can do to keep your trip safe, keep costs down, or keep fun on the schedule!
Let’s start with safety. You probably already know the basics: know where your hotel is, do your research and stay away from questionable neighborhoods, and don’t stay out late alone at night. But don’t forget about your health, either, say caregivers at Richmond University Medical Center’s Staten Island immediate care center. Many travelers don’t realize that different countries’ healthcare systems can make it tricky for domestic health insurance providers to cover healthcare received abroad–and many providers simply don’t cover it at all. Consider investing in a special health insurance policy for travelers. You can contact your health insurance provider for more details.
Watch your belongings, too! It’s a good idea to travel with unique luggage bag tags, which can make your luggage easier to spot and can keep well-meaning fellow travelers from accidentally grabbing your bag instead of theirs. Other options include brightly-colored luggage straps. You can even get a locking strap (just remember to get a lock that’s approved by the TSA and other countries’ security forces).
As for keeping costs down, the best way to do that is to plan ahead. Spontaneity can be fun when traveling, but it’s also the enemy of a good budget, so try to structure the potentially pricey points of your trip–perhaps you can buy tickets to big attractions ahead of time, or learn which days you may want to bring a packed lunch or water bottle rather than buying one on-site.
And fun? Well, you probably won’t need much help with that! But veteran travelers do suggest immersing yourself in the culture of the place you’re visiting. Don’t be afraid to be at least a little spontaneous, and leave unstructured spots in your schedule that will allow you to explore and follow your heart (an overly structured vacation can, believe it or not, actually leave more stressed after your trip than you were before it!).
Good luck, and have fun!
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” — Anita Desai