International Travel Tips for a Memorable Adventure
Are you ready to set sail for bluer waters? Is there an exotic destination singing a siren’s song you simply can’t resist? If you’re looking to land yourself in a world of wonder inspired by travel, then you’ve come to the right place. We love to travel just as much as anybody else, but it is also a special passion that we hold dear in our hearts. There is absolutely something to be said about going abroad and finding a piece of yourself that you never even knew existed. People make lifelong connections, plant their roots on foreign ground, and call a new culture their home. Life is about the experiences you seek out. It’s not so much about where you’re standing, after all, but rather about where you’re heading.
Travel, especially outside of your origin country, can be pretty intense. There are all sorts of details to think about: where you’ll stay, how their culture differs from yours, what to bring, where to go, and how to get the most out of your experience. The stress of figuring out the itinerary can bring even the most well-organized person a headache and a half… and the itinerary is only the half of it!
We’re bringing you this article to remind you to breathe and enjoy your time away. These are some of the best tips we have on enjoying yourself each and every step of the way. Don’t forget the main reason you’re taking off on this tremendous adventure! After all, it should be fun, shouldn’t it? Stress can kill even the best buzz, but this list of helpful tips will keep that moody mental monster at bay. It doesn’t matter if you’re experienced in the art of travel, or just finding your wandering wings. This article is good for everybody to have a gander at wherever they’re heading. We guarantee you’ll find some tidbits you hadn’t thought of before no matter the extent of your previous excursions!
Start Off On The Right Foot
Have you already booked your accommodations? If so, this part is probably not important to you. Read it anyways, however, for ideas on the next trip! It can be difficult to decide which hotel is right for you.
Have you thought, however, about not going the hotel route?
There are several different ways to stay in another country. From hostels to villas, and everything in between, you’ll find that there are so many options to go through. Airbnb is a popular option that is gaining more and more traction worldwide. It’s no secret why! This website offers a beautiful, more personal approach to any visit. You get to experience life as a native and see how their homes actually look. Airbnb can also prove to be a cheaper option for many, too!
However, that’s not the only option that’s off the beaten path. If you’re traveling by yourself, or with other adults, then you should check out hostels. They are easily the cheapest option out there, which means you’ll have way more money for the entertainment portion of your trip. We do not recommend hostels for families, though, since they can be cramped and are generally not very family friendly.
Lastly, there are villa vacations that lend a luxury feel to any vacation abroad! Renting a villa may be expensive, but if there are enough people in your party you can score a pretty good deal. The amenities offered easily make up the difference, anyway. Villas pack the most punch for fun in the sun, but they also are the biggest drain on your funds.
As you can see it’s all about personal budget, as well as your wants and needs. Hotels are a lovely option, and there’s a reason why they remain the most favored choice of travelers everywhere. Regardless of the route you go, you’re going to have a blast.
Three Cheers For Culture
There is something to be said about full immersion. If you don’t speak the language of the target country, or countries, now is the time to begin learning the basics. There is nothing natives love more than seeing you at least try to communicate in their own language. We recommend learning how to say hello, goodbye, basic ordering skills, and how to ask for simple directions. Anything extra you decide to do is great! You’ll find that people are vastly more willing to help you along if they know that you’re making a solid effort in following their rules.
Which brings us to our next tip in this section: learn the culture! There are huge differences between Eastern and Western practices, for example. Regardless of where you’re heading there are bound to be a bucket list of things that are done differently. Tipping is a great topic to learn more about! Americans are expected to tip at least twenty percent, no matter the type of service they receive. However, there are some countries where they actually view tipping as rude and still others which tip at much lower rates and only for exceptional service.
Culture means so much more than language, or tipping practices. Try to see how they greet each other, and what is seen as “rude” versus “polite” by the natives. Don’t stress too much about it, but put in a little effort. You never know what kinds of doors will open if you’re able to better communicate, and operate, in a foreign land!
Factor In Your Flight
Chances are that you’re in for a long haul on a plane. This is where experience really comes into play! If you’ve been on multiple flights throughout your life you have a much better idea of what it entails. International flights are a whole different animal than domestic, too, so you want to factor that in. Will you want an in-flight meal? How much should you buy at the airport for snacks? Consider how much you’ll snack out of boredom, how much food costs on board, and plan accordingly. We recommend buying at least a few tasty snacks (and maybe some candy) so you can have little treats along the way.
There are even places where you can buy little treats tax-free in the international section of the airport. These are called duty free stores. If you’re of age it might not be a bad idea to grab a bottle of your favorite alcoholic beverage. Of course, you don’t want to overindulge (bad idea on a plane!), but it might help you to have a nightcap or make your flight more fun.
Make sure to bring plenty of entertainment for the flight. Books, your laptop, a tablet, coloring supplies, card games, and more all help you pass the time. Make a checklist just for the entertainment portion of your packing. If there are fees for extra baggage we do recommend paying them to have the extra entertainment on hand.
The only thing left to worry about at this point is motion sickness and altitude. If your ears have a habit of popping easily then bring along a pack of your favorite gum. Chewing it on the descent, or ascent can save you a lot of pain. If you’re prone to motion sickness then Dramamine is a must-have. We do not recommend the bracelets that are sold or other scientifically unbacked methods. They tend to work off of placebo effect, and quite frankly you will be wasting your money. Stick to Dramamine, ginger ale, and even a Benadryl or melatonin to lull you to sleep if it gets bad enough.
Have Fun With Food
You’re in a different country! Now is the time to experience not only their culture but their food, as well. You aren’t likely to have a chance to experience authentic cuisine many times in your life. You can, of course, find restaurants in your home country that mimic the tastes… but there is nothing like eating pomme frites in France or ordering Schnitzel from a real German Biergarten. Make sure you choose local cuisine instead of going to fast food restaurants (unless they’re local ones!). You can have a burger anywhere. Why not spice it up a little bit and try something different?
Street food is another great way to get a feel for the local tastes on the cheap. Hong Kong has an excellent night market, for example, that you absolutely can’t miss. Most places will have carts selling tasty treats right there on the street. You’ll want to be a little choosy about where you get your nourishment from. Feel out the vendor and make sure you trust them not to sell you food that might be less than up to standard. A clean, well-lit food cart that has a long line in front of it will be the best option. Also, if you’ve brushed up on your communication skills, you can always ask a local for recommendations!
Use something like Google Maps to read reviews, and see what’s around the area where you’re staying. Try to focus on the most highly rated places, and look at their menu to see if the price is right. Focus on what the country is known for, and work your way around their favorite foods.
Document Your Adventure
Most people don’t have a problem with this, but there are a few tips we can give you. Taking lots of photos is great, and you should, but remember to back them up! It would be a disaster if your camera was destroyed and you lost all of those precious memories. The Google cloud is a great way to keep all of your snapshots safe forever. It’s also a great way to sort through photos, and group them into folders! We recommend sitting down and uploading your SD card every night after you’re done wandering around. It’s a fairly easy process, anyways, and you don’t have to sit around while it happens.
There is something to be said about living in the moment, but there is no shame in using your cell phone! Photography was created because it’s important. Being able to document and share your experiences with loved ones is an amazing feeling. Regardless of rolling eyes, or judgment from others, whip out your cell phone whenever you want to document something. We recommend using your cell phone because you are bound to have it with you at all times. Because of this, you can skip the bulk that a DSLR camera can often bring.
However, if you want gorgeous photos, the only way to go is DSLR. These cameras can be highly expensive, but you should be able to find a good, cheap option. Your local camera store is a great resource! If you pop in and explain what you need they should be able to hook you up with the perfect product for you.
You may even want to consider keeping a journal! If you’re a writer this is an excellent way to keep track of your travels. Even writing little snippets about each photo can help you remember little moments you might otherwise forget.
Just Slow It Down
… and stress less! You decided to go on this trip to have a good time. Regardless of where you’re going, or what you’re doing, you should remember to take a breather every now and again. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the foreign land you’re exploring. Keep an open ear, and an open mind, at all times! You never know what you’ll run into, or what you may discover. Having a basic itinerary is a great idea, but don’t get caught up in your schedule!
Some of the best times you might have will involve events that you could never have planned for. Do you see a street fair? Take a look! Skip the plan and get involved. Perhaps you have your eye on a shop or two that you want to explore. So, go do it! Take the path less traveled by. Trust us, you will absolutely have a better experience for it.
You now have everything you need for a memorable trip out of the country. We hope you enjoy your time abroad and get to do everything you want to! If you follow these tips we’ve laid out your time in a foreign town (or towns!) will be smoother, more enjoyable, and definitely well rounded! No matter where your destination is Motorful is here to help the process along, and cover the bases you may have forgotten. If you’re currently planning a trip or thinking about doing so, be sure to check out our other blogs on travel! There is so much to think about, and so much to do. Make it easier on yourself by being armed to the teeth with the knowledge you can only get from Motorful’s blog!
- Expert Vagabond – My 30 Best Travel Tips After 7 Years Traveling the World
- Traveller – Tips on Improving Your Travel Experience
- National Geographic – 7 Ways to Travel Local in a Foreign Country
- USA Today – How to Make Your Trips More Authentic