Take out your pens and paper folks, and start taking notes because there’s a truckload of information coming your way before you begin traveling, so fair warning, you’re in for a doozy. Before you set off on this adventure of a lifetime, consider these few recommendations because rash decisions are not worth the risk, and we both know you’re better than a rookie, now don’t we?

Finances

  1. Travel with Euros as well as Dollars:

Believe it or not, the U.S. Dollar is no longer primary world currency so you might want to keep some Euros handy because some currency exchange shops no longer accept dollars.

  1. Tell your card companies you’re traveling:

Your credit card issuers are always on the lookout for suspicious activity. You could be halfway across the world, sitting poolside, sipping on a cool beverage only to have your card declined and vay-cay mood ruined simply because your card company thinks you’re back at home, flagging your charges as fraudulent.

  1. Carry enough cash with you:

Not all places have credit card options so it’s wise to keep clean, new bills because the last thing you’d want to have is no credit card option and to be short on cash.

Luggage And Packing

  1. Have a look at weather forecasts and fill your backpack accordingly
  2. Pack as a group:

If you’re traveling in a group, coordinate! There’s no point carrying multiple version of the same item when one fares you perfectly well.

3. Overpack to pack light:

Pack everything you think you might need to avoid forgetting anything important and then trim the fat.

Documentation

  1. Register with your embassy:

If any trouble arises in the country you visit, your government can reach you easier and bring you back to safety.

  1. Leave a copy of your passport:

As well as saving electronic copies of your passport and travel documents, leave a copy with a trusted friend or family member back home.

Trains, Planes, Buses, and Taxis

  1. Never assume that the taxi driver knows where you want to go:

Double check your destination and always ask the taxi driver if they know the way before you get in.

  1. Universal taxi haggling rule:

Make sure both sides agree on a fare before you head off so that no one can reopen negotiations or charge extra at the end of the ride.

  1. Dispute with the taxi driver? Call the po po:

If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, call the police and let them handle it. Most taxi drivers are afraid of the police and will back down at the mention of them and stop pressing their claims if they’re dishonest.

  1. All plane tickets are changeable:

Contrary to popular belief, no matter what is written on that ticket, it can be changed and any fees waived if you have the right airline agent. If you’re a stickler for the rules, you can call the Premium traveler line or hang up and call back to speak to a different agent. If you don’t mind walking the unpaved path, you can always offer a “tip” at the counter.

  1. You don’t need to pay full fare to fly Business Class:

Using awards tickets, special tickets or simply upgrading from Economy can earn you more than just a comfy seat. Tickets can be changed or refunded 90% of the times without penalty as well as perks such as unwinding at an airline lounge while you wait for your next flight or priority treatment.

Culture

  1. Dress based on context:

While it’s perfectly fine to stay true to your personality, it is also very important not to offend the locals by dressing inappropriately.

  1. Never touch members of the opposite sex:

Apart from social interactions, on public transport, expect to be shuffled around to be seated next to a person of the same sex. Some cultures are more conservative than other and other people have varying comfort when it comes to personal space and boundaries.

  1. Careful about gestures:

The “thumbs-up” or the universal “OK” is not that universal. These signs are considered to be extremely provocative in certain places, so be careful not to flash the digits around.

Politics

  1. Be Prepared to Represent:

Politics be your cup of tea or not, people will expect you to be a bountiful basket of information about the political affairs of your country and the affected lives from `your government’s decisions. So do not lie about where you’re from unless you are prepared to handle that.

  1. Never Badmouth Their Government:

Doesn’t matter who you’re talking to, Do Not Do It! “Many rogue states, from Zimbabwe to Iran to North Korea, employ English-speaking spies who will deliberately try to incite foreign visitors into saying something incriminating.” – (chrisguillebeau.com)

And finally, don’t judge other people’s travels and their choices. Every person’s voyage is their own and a part of their story. It’s no competition. So go grab a ticket write your next chapter.

Written by Ashfaqur Rahman

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