Gearing up for Travel Abroad: How to be Smart in your Wanderlust
For those of us living in the high-country resort towns of Colorado fall is a time where the summer tourists filter out and businesses slow down (or in some cases close) before the winter season ramps up. Many of us take this opportunity to take our hard-earned summer money and jet out for an adventure abroad. Traveling abroad can be very intimidating, especially if you have not had much experience. Travel doesn’t have to be daunting! As a matter of fact, it will likely be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!
Here are some helpful, basic tips and truths that have helped me while traveling through developing countries.
First and foremost, and I cannot stress this enough, travel light! This is extremely important if you plan to stay in hostels and travel to multiple locations and countries. Most hostels have laundromats or laundry services nearby, so you can always wash your clothes. I know for some of you, the idea of being an outfit repeater is horrifying but unless you are traveling to Paris for fashion week, it’s better to go for function over fashion. I bring a couple of outfits with some layering options for warmth and a bunch of undergarments to stay as fresh as possible. Remember, you are there to experience a different culture and expand your horizons, not get the best shot, in the best outfit, for your Instagram page.
There are a few things, however, that you should take with you. An absolute must is an outlet converter. Many countries are different from the U.S. (shocker I know) and have outlets that our three-pronged or two-pronged chargers won’t fit into. The converter usually comes with an array of options to fit whichever outlet the country you are visiting provides. This is essential for keeping your device charged in order to book flights, buses, trains, or tour guides on local WiFi.
The next thing I would recommend are anti-diarrheal pills. It’s a little silly to talk about but as important as the converter. You can acquire these at your local pharmacy or from your general health provider. Activated charcoal pills are another great addition in the same vein. Sometimes, the local cuisine doesn’t agree with even the strongest of stomachs and it doesn’t hurt to have some help just in case. If you are traveling to developing countries, I would not go without them. Make sure to visit your doctor a month prior to traveling to ensure you are vaccinated for the various diseases the country you are visiting might be prone to.
Another must have for traveling anywhere in the world is a money belt. Your passport and money are the two most important things you will have on your person while traveling. A money belt provides a safe, discreet place for you to keep them. Most money belts are made to be worn under clothing to deter potential pick-pockets and optimize where negotiating is necessary. You definitely don’t want to have a stolen passport situation on your hands. It’s a giant headache!
Another important thing to do before departure is to research and understand the culture. Some holy places do not allow for skin or hair to show so, being a woman, I always bring a lightweight scarf to cover my hair. I make sure I have a long pants and short sleeve options available to me. Remember that you are a visitor and must respect the culture and people who have so graciously welcomed you into their land.
Although these tips serve as a basic guideline for what you will need abroad, there are a million ways to prepare for travel. Each and every place is a little different. Don’t forget that the best way to prepare is to talk to someone before you leave who has visited your destination. They can fill you in on the climate, the culture and any other little personal tips that travel bloggers probably won’t include in their articles. Don’t forget the most important thing to bring with you, no matter where in the world you are traveling: is an open mind! Safe travels and Bon Voyage!