15 Things To Do Before Traveling Abroad

Visiting Pyramids

Cairo, 2006


Throughout the 30 years of my service as a military member I have visited more than 20 countries spread across five continents. Quite a lot of events that I learned and experienced during the traveling, both pleasant and unpleasant. Before traveling I usually make a list of items that will I bring so that no items are missed, but still there are some things that are forgotten.

Traveling abroad can be a lot of fun, but can also turn into a nightmare. Many people travel abroad for various reasons including business, vacations, visit loved ones etc. Being informed before traveling will help avoid some of the difficulties some people experience after they go to a foreign country. Many people become victims of crime, violence, or experience unexpected difficulties due to lack of information. Not only are you traveling miles away from your loved ones, but you will have to adapt to a different climate and culture.


Considerations Before You Go

1. Before you embark on your journey abroad, make sure you carry all the necessary items such as the required documents and the right clothing. Bring along your passport and any other document that might be important during your travel.

2. Make sure you put all your medicines in properly labeled containers to avoid problems at the customs. In addition, you should make sure that you carry enough money to cater for your needs when you are abroad. Before you travel, learn as much as you can about the country and prepare yourself mentally and physically. Different countries have different climate conditions; make sure you carry the right clothing to wear.

3. Avoid carrying things that you would hate to lose such as expensive jewelry, family items, pin numbers or credit cards that you don’t need.

4. It’s important to learn about the culture, customs, and the local laws of the country. Good resources of such information include your travel agency, library, or the internet. Also, keep yourself updated on the events and current news about the country you intend to visit.

5. Some of the important documents you need to carry include insurance, credit card, itinerary, and your legal documents.


Traveling Abroad

Amsterdam, 2004


Practical Tips

To help you avoid difficulties during your travel abroad, below are tips to help you know what to do and expect during traveling.

1. Travel light.

As much as you can, try travelling abroad with as less baggage as you can. Carry important items and avoid carrying consumables that you can easily buy locally such as soap, toothpaste etc. The lighter your luggage, the easier you will get to your destination and the less tired you will get carrying your luggage.

2. Dress appropriately.

Factors that should affect your dressing include the foreign country’s culture and climate. Try as much as possible to adapt to their culture to avoid appearing disrespectful or different from the rest. You need to fit in as much as possible to avoid being victimized by thugs or tricksters or avoid drawing too much attention to yourself. Do your research and find out the current season of the country before you travel to help you dress appropriately.

3. Know the local currency. Since you will be using the local money; you need to know their exchange rates and the currency used. This will help you know how much you need to carry as well as how much you expect to get your money for and know when someone tries to charge you more. Its also important to know where you can exchange your currency in the country.

4. Avoid carry real cash.

Instead of carrying real money, consider carrying your debit or credit card. This is not only safe, but convenient as you can shop anywhere using your cards instead of having to exchange money before you can be able to shop. You will also have peace of mind as you travel, as money can be stolen at any point during your travel.

5. Respect other people’s culture, laws and believes.

People have different cultures, believes and ways of doing things. Make sure you are not disrespectful to anyone regardless of their believes. Keep your opinions to yourself and avoid as much as you can discussing other people’s way of doing things.


Practical tips on traveling abroad

Nambia, 1991


6. Carry a travel guide.

A guide will help you maneuver and know where to find places you need such as hotels, accommodation, and places to visit or relax. Make sure the guide is recent to provide you with reliable information. Local guides can be bought from a bookstore or downloaded from the internet.

7. Learn basic phrases.

If you are relocating to the country, it might be necessary for you to learn their language. However, if you are travelling for business, vacation or for a short period, learn basic phrases such as how to say hello, thank you, please, my name is, asking where the bathroom is and many others is. This will help you ask for basic help when needed.

8. Prioritize your safety.

To ensure your safety, avoid walking at night, accepting rides from strangers. Take public transport and only use taxis that have clear markings. When choosing for a car to drive, make sure to choose a type that is available locally. Avoid leaving your valuables with strangers and always ensure the door to your room remains locked. To avoid attracting too much attention, avoid wearing attention grabbing jewelry or clothing. Try as much as you can to blend with the locals.


Visiting Taj Mahal India

India, 2005


9. Avoid violating laws and regulations.

Different countries have different laws and regulations regarding drugs, purchase of antiques, and photography. To avoid legal difficulties make sure you learn about their laws and stick to them. Make sure you are familiar with the country’s legal expectations to avoid arrests and other difficulties. Some things may be acceptable in your country, but unacceptable in another country, make sure you respect their rules and regulations

10. While traveling abroad, knowing what to do or to avoid will help you have an easier and enjoyable trip. Most people fail to do their research and end up getting lost or shocked by the sudden change of climate, time or culture. Learn as much as you can about the country and plan before traveling. Also, before you travel, identify a few places where you can get accommodation, eat, or buy basic things that you might need. It’s important to know where to get help in case you need it. Prepare yourself for a different climate, time zone, culture, laws, food among others to help you adapt well to your new environment.

Hope those 15 things to do before traveling abroad useful for you. Enjoy your trip.



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  1. Hello, Pakdhe. Thanks for the tips. Wow, 20 countries in the 5 continents. Amazing. Yes, make the list of the items to bring, is really2 help, but of course, some were still forgotten. Hehe.

    Thanks again for the tips, Dhe.

    That’s human being

  2. Helena says:

    Traveling keeps my mind open. It’s good to know the culture and law in destination country so we know what are the do’s and don’ts.

    Throwing garbage sembarangan is not good

  3. Kinesio Tape says:

    I agree with this article, especially no.4. thanks sir.

    Not at all

  4. Pakdhe, foto pertamanya bikin ngiri deh, itu salah satu tujuan liburan yang kuimpikan ^^ Sehat-sehat terus ya, Dhe, supaya bisa ngider2 keliling dunia terus

    Saya keliling dunia abidin (atas biaya dinas)

  5. Indah nuria says:

    You’ve been in many places, Pakdhe! Like you, I always try to travel light, especially when traveling with my hubby and my kiddos. But again.. It depends on the nature of my visit.. Sometimes I brought so many souvenirs so that won’t be light anymore LOL

    Right. MY country gave me alot

  6. pastiguna says:

    kapan ya bisa ke Cairo

    Semoga diberi kesehatan, kesempatan, dan kelapangan rezeki

  7. April Yap says:

    Dressing appropriately is very important so that you can go anywhere you want.

    Right, it is important to know the dress code

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