Every time we leave our comfort zone we feel afraid and insecure, but sometimes, achieving a goal, a dream, it’s just about it. Getting to know new places and cultures is something amazing and unique for everyone. If that’s your goal, the question “How can I give the first step? And do that by myself?”, it may already have passed in your mind.The process is bureaucratic, and you may get a little bit lost. Thus, start thinking in these five tips to make your trip in the best way as possible.
1.Passport, visa and vaccines
This first step can be tiring but it is best to accomplish this before and after taking care of the simplest demands you may have. Passports and visas are mandatory in almost all international destinations – see the list of countries that apply for a visa for their nationality here). So be sure to arrange all these documents – the faster the better. If you already have a passport and it is expiration is getting closer, check the rules of your country destination about the renewal and validity of the document.
It is essential to find out whether a vaccine is required between the borders of your destination. Consult the responsible institution of vaccination and disease control in your country. Some airlines provide such information and carrying out an international travel insurance may be a good option. Take care of your health!
Organization is mandatory in a trip, mainly when it’s an international one. A very useful tip is to make a travel diary, writing down, by the date, the addresses of the hotels (or hotel) you will stay, places you intend to visit and the necessary transfers to those destinations. For security, leave this information with someone of your trust in your home country.
Get to know more about your destination. Read a lot about the places you plan to visit, places that are dangerous, where it is most expensive and the latest news that are circulating in the media. Be open-minded for new experiences and friendships as well as frustrations, once you will be alone and need to deal with unforeseen events.
Get ready to lose your shame, or at least to try. From the moment you are alone in a different country, the need to communicate with people is inevitable. Technology can help you a lot: there are translation Apps, as well as transportation ones. But, do not rely only on your smartphone, always have this information on paper, as we said in the previous tip. Print maps and walk with a local language dictionary.
In order to use your mobile number abroad, you should contact your service provider and ask about enabling the international roaming service. This service is usually charged, so it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth buying, as well as buying a SIM CARD from the local carriers at your destination. There are some carriers (MySimTravel, EasySim4U, Fale.Global, etc.) that sell international prepaid chips, operating in several countries.
If you do not want to spend money on this, you can use the Wi-Fi network of local hotels, restaurants and bars, making connections through applications such as Skype and WhatsApp. However, it is not the safest option. If anything happens, you will not be able to contact anyone.
Define the goal of the trip (shopping, tourism, study etc.) and make a list summing up all the expected expenses you may have: food, transportation, hotel. Do not forget to save an extra amount for possible emergencies, all this by converting from one currency to another. Try to buy the currency of your destination in your home country, so you will have one less thing to settle on your trip.
If you need to exchange a great amount of money, do it in safe places, large businesses or hotels. This prevents the receipt of false bills. Another great tip is to split your money. Take some amount in cash and also card (valid in the country destination), so in cases of theft or robbery you will not be totally out of money.
The rules for international flights are different from domestic flights, including for hand luggage and suitcases that will be dispatched. Make sure you do not exceed the allowed limit on the volume of your luggage and be barred at check-in. The allowed amount varies between airlines (also check objects not allowed on international flights, such as medicines, liquids, food, etc.). Check this information in advance to take only the necessary on your trip, avoiding carrying too much weight without need, specially for long journeys.
Look for the meteorology of your destination on the dates of the trip, taking the appropriate clothes (without forgetting a coat). In order to avoid having that confusion when picking up your luggage (and for more safety), try to lock it with a padlock, seal, cape and even the packing service that the airports offer may be a good option. Identify your suitcase with a colored ribbon, for example, and a label containing your key information such as phone, email and address.
In your carry-on, carry just the essentials: documents, money, cell phone, hotel bookings and goods of value. As a precaution, some clothes as well. There is little risk of losing your bag, but keep calm, the airline can help you with that. Remember: unforeseen events may happen.
IBS Americas has a team that is committed in helping our students with any questions they may have before, during and after the program. You can check all our courses and destinations here.