A far away destination can be an incredible experience. You will be exposed to different cultures, climates and ways of life. You get to see the world in a whole new way and meet exciting people in their home environment. However, traveling those long distances can take its toll. Here are a few key pointers to help you make the most of your destination.
Traveling in comfort
One of the tasks you need to prepare for is that excruciatingly long flight or road trip. There are things you can do though to make the time go by more quickly. First, if you are flying try to purchase the best seat you possibly can. If you are driving ensure there is enough room for everyone. Second, take along a book, comfy travel pillow and eye covers. Third, think about taking extra time at your stops or layovers. It might take you a day or two longer to reach your final destination but traveling along the way can help break up a long trip.
Each country has different entry requirements. Some allow you to stay for 90 days while others limit it to one week. Ensure that you have understood the requirements and get started on your documentation as soon as possible. Things can get lost in the mail and workers do go on vacation. Give yourself as much time as you can your nerves will thank you.
Make sure your shots are up to date
Just as each country has different entry requirements, they may also have different immunization suggestions. This may also depend where you travel within a given country. Also, if you are planning on backpacking into the great unknown it is definitely a good idea to get the right shots. True, they can be expensive but most of them last a long time. Get it done the first time you go and you just might be ready for any other future travels you may have on your agenda.
Make sure you have a reserve
You might be able to travel in the USA or Canada with your ATM card but when you travel far away those letters just might not mean a whole lot. It is essential that you have a credit card on hand, if only to have for emergency purposes. Make sure you also check around to get the most bang for your exchange. Airports are notorious for charging extra fees so it is best to go to a bank or a business that specializes in currency exchange.
What can you bring home with you
One of the greatest joys when traveling those long distances is being able to bring home a reminder of your time away. However, you do have a long distance to get back home. It is wise to choose items that can either be brought on as a carryon or can be packed nice and snug in your suitcase. The other option is to ship it. It can get a little pricey but if the item is a must have it can be worth it.
There are travelers that cannot live without their shavers, straighteners or blow dryers. Buy your adaptor before you go. Chances of you finding one at your destination will be slim. I mean really, why would they have an adaptor for their own country? And if you do happen to find one you just know the price is going to be way beyond average.
Dont risk it buy insurance. The last thing you want to be worrying about when you or a loved one is hurt is how am I going to pay for this?. Shop around though. Different companies can offer different rates. Plus, you may not need the deluxe package. Anything is better than nothing. Hopefully you will never have to use it but just knowing it is there should bring you peace of mind.
Is eating fish eyes the norm?
Do you have a stomach of steel? Do your hands tremble at nothing? Then skip to number nine. If eating something different tends to make you a little nervous though read on. The best defense is a good offense so read up before you come. What are the cultural norms here? What do they call it and how do they spell it? Knowing a little beforehand can prevent you from an embarrassing situation. Remember, although something might be different it doesnt mean that it is going to be bad all the time.
What are the cultural expectations?
The best thing a foreign visitor can do when traveling to a new culture is to show respect. Though sometimes you might not know if you have offended someone. There are cultures where showing the bottom of your foot is a huge no no. So is shaking with the wrong hand or speaking out of turn. Again, read before you go. If you want to feel comfortable in your new surroundings make sure you understand what is expected of you. It is the polite thing to do.
Learn the language
If you really want to impress the locals, learn a few key phrases. Beyond just making an impression though, knowing these can definitely be a good thing. Finding out where a bathroom/restroom/water closet might be or knowing how to ask for directions will allow you to feel more in control.