Pre-Travel Tips to Make the Most of Your Big Trip Abroad6 min read
While Instagram seems to be increasingly flooded with influencers who live nomadic lifestyles and travel to a new country each week, this isn’t the reality for the majority of people.
When you plan a trip, it’s a big deal. Most people don’t get to take vacations too often. The last thing you would want is for your trip abroad to be ruined because you didn’t properly prepare for it. Before you depart for your trip, whether by train, plane, or car, make sure you cover your bases to ensure you won’t have any troubles on your vacation.
Plan, Plan, Plan!
When you’re visiting a dream location of yours that you likely won’t have the chance to return to, this is not the time for spontaneity. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination and saying, “Now what?”
Before you leave for your destination, make a comprehensive agenda for your time there. Do plenty of research and check out reviews from people who have visited before. Start by finding out what the tourist “must-sees” are—you don’t want to miss these places. Next, look into tours or excursions you can take. Most cities offer free walking tours where you can meet other tourists and connect with a local tour guide.
Speaking of locals, you’re going to want to make friends with one. They can help you find the hidden spots that aren’t well-known tourist destinations. This doesn’t mean you need to walk up to a complete stranger and introduce yourself, but remember that hotel staff and concierges are local and can recommend the best food spots and beautiful viewpoints.
Now, you don’t have to have every minute of your itinerary planned out. Leave some free time in your plans to explore and go with the flow of the day. But having at least three key activities or locations planned for each day will give you a great agenda to work from, even if some things end up not making the cut.
Look into Your Accommodations
When you land in your vacation spot, you’ll want to appreciate the new location and lifestyle, but you still want to make it feel like home. Your accommodations are vital to having a good trip. Even though you won’t be spending all your time in your hotel, it’s where you’ll be going to unwind, relax, and properly rest for your next day of adventures.
When booking your hotel or Airbnb, being close to the airport is a good idea; otherwise, you’ll be paying huge taxi fees. You’ll also want to be close to the main attractions of your trip. While you don’t want to be smack dab in the middle of a busy city that doesn’t sleep, you will want to be close to the places you want to visit so you don’t waste all of your time traveling to the sites you want to see.
A lot of people struggle to get decent sleep while traveling. The environment is different, you aren’t in the comfort of your own bed, and you may have other conditions like back pain preventing you from getting decent sleep. If this is the case, it’s okay to really investigate your accommodations to make sure you can be comfortable and get the rest you need. You can simply check out other travelers’ reviews online, and there’s certainly no shame in being the crazy traveler who calls to check on the quality of the beds!,
Adjust for Jet Lag
Jet lag can get the best of all of us. It’s no secret that traveling to a different time zone can seriously mess with your sleeping schedule. You don’t want to land in a new country and immediately crave a nap back at the hotel. While a lot of people suggest sleeping on the plane, this is challenging to do when you’re flying coach and squished in with strangers.
The best approach is to adjust your sleeping schedule at home before you leave for your trip. If you can, start sleeping according to your destination’s time zone at least a week beforehand. Make sure you’re getting plenty of great sleep before your trip so you’re well rested for your adventures. If you do this, when you get there exhaustion from jet lag won’t be a problem.
If you’re traveling far away, it’s likely that you’re going to be experiencing a completely different culture. This is why you need to think local and not let your ethnocentrism get in the way.
One big difference around the world is currency. Americans operate on the dollar and tend to think everyone else runs on the Euro, but there are currently 180 currencies in the world. While many European countries accept the Euro, they also have different currencies that may be required at smaller, local shops or restaurants.
If you’re going to France you’ll need francs. In Sweden, krona. In the Czech Republic, koruna. Make sure you know what currency you’ll be operating in (especially if you’re planning on country hopping) and find the best places and times to convert your money without paying huge fees.
Also, make sure you have the right power adapters for the different places you travel to.
Learn How to Pack
You don’t need to bring your entire life with you when you travel. Traveling is a great excuse to disconnect from mundane life and live a little more ruggedly. So when it comes to packing, be smart and efficient with your packing style. This can also help you avoid fees for checking your baggage.
And be mindful about what you pack in your carry-on versus your checked luggage. Your essentials should be in your carry-on in case your checked baggage gets lost. If you can, pack only a carry-on. This way, you won’t have any worries about your luggage getting lost and having to travel in the same outfit for your entire trip.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to pack supportive shoes. There’s no better way to see a city than on foot.
Eliminate Potential Stress
Vacation is the time to unplug. Don’t let any stress get in your way.
Make sure to finish up any work that’s running on a deadline. Even if you aren’t actively thinking about the loops you left untied at work, subconsciously they will be stressing you out.
If you have any special accommodations you need, set them up before you go. If you’ll need to manage pain while traveling, make sure you have everything you need ready to go.
Also, make sure to alert your bank before you travel, especially if you’re going international. If you don’t and your card gets shut off while you’re in a foreign country, it makes for much more of a hassle that will undoubtedly cause stress. Make sure you can use this time for rest and relaxation by getting all of your worries out of the way prior to your trip.
If you put in the work before you leave, you should have nothing to worry about during your trip and increase your chances of enjoying the trip of a lifetime.