Traveling to a new country is an exciting experience! However, it could also be overwhelming to step out of your comfort zone into a foreign land. Arming yourself with some good travel tips and knowledge of the culture and the local area will go a long way to ensure that you have a smooth and fun trip! Here are some essential tips for your next adventure: 1. Learn Basic Phrases
You don’t have to learn an entire new language before you travel to a new country. However, learning basic phrases will go a long way towards helping you and showing respect to the locals as well. It is great to learn how to say hello, goodbye, thank you, no thank you, yes please, do you speak English? If you have a dietary need, such as being a vegetarian, it might be worthwhile learning how to say that. If you get stuck, Google Translate is a handy and free app to have as it will translate anything you type, speak, photograph or draw. 2. Check If the Drinking Water Is Safe
There is nothing worse than getting very sick during your holiday because you drank the water. Tap water is not recommended for some places such as Mexico and parts of Asia. If your destination recommends drinking bottled water, it would be wise to brush your teeth with bottled water, as well as avoiding ice. A Traveller’s Guide to Tap Water is a great resource to find out if your destination has safe drinking water. 3. Ask a Local
One of the most special things about travelling is learning a new culture and interacting with the locals. If you get lost or have a question, don’t be afraid to ask a local. You’ll be surprised by how accommodating they are. You may learn about an amazing place to visit in town that only the locals have heard of. You may even make a new lifelong friend. 4. Eat Local Food
When you visit a new culture, be sure to try the local dishes. You may think you have tried Mexican food until you actually tried Mexican food in Mexico. Don’t be afraid to try the street food. If a restaurant is full of people, then it is generally a great place to eat. Ask a local where they suggest you can get a good bite to eat. See if your destination makes the list on 50 of the World’s Most Delicious Foods. 5. Valuables
It is important to research your destination before you walk around in your best jewelry. Sometimes walking around in flashy jewelry makes you an automatic target for pick pocketing or theft. One of the best things you can do is blend in and do your best to dress like a local. Make sure that you keep your passport, laptop and extra cash locked up in a safe place. Try not to carry your passport around with you unless it is required somewhere. Wearing a money belt is a great way to keep some of your valuables safe. Never leave your bag unattended. The Lonely Planet is a really good reference point for learning about scams and common theft areas. 6. Be Aware of Climate and Altitude
When you are travelling to a new place, it is a good idea to be aware of what the weather will be like so that you can pack the right things. Weatherzone is a great website and free app that offers accurate real time weather information, radars, weather warnings and more! If you are travelling to somewhere with a high altitude, make sure to give yourself enough time to adjust before you start taking part in activities in order to avoid sickness. 7. Know the Road Rules
If you are renting a car, this is very important. Road rules are quite different around the world. It is important to research your destination’s laws so that you are aware of the differences! If you aren’t convinced, take a look at 50 of the world’s most insane driving laws. 8. Plan Ahead, But Be Patient
Before you travel, it is a great idea to get organised and arrange an itinerary, especially if you have a lot to see on your list. However, it is important to remember that things won’t always go as planned. Sometimes the weather takes a turn, traffic jams occur, you might get lost and other things outside of our control can happen. If you choose to be patient and flexible, then you will have a much more enjoyable and stress-free trip. 9. Be respectful
Learning cultural differences before you travel will go a long way in showing respect. In some countries a simple gesture or eye contact might actually be offensive. ‘The Guide to Body-Language Etiquette Around the World’ is a great reference to make sure that your thumbs-up is not offending anyone. In some countries, the way that you choose to dress could be disrespectful. Sometimes it is not appropriate to wear shorts and sleeveless shirts, especially at places of worship. Some bars and restaurants might not let you in if you are dressed in a particular way or wearing sandals. It is important to research how to dress before you go so that you are prepared. 10. Have fun!
Most importantly, with these tips in mind, have a great time and embrace this new experience!