The best travel advice I have for anyone going abroad for the first time is to be as prepared as possible. It’s as simple as that. Knowing where you need to be, when you need to be there will save you endless stress while navigating abroad. You should always keep track of your bookings and confirmation numbers, and should probably avoid booking things last minute without having time to do thorough research about where you’re going.
If you’ve been following my blog then that’s probably about the 400th-some-odd time you’ve heard (or should I said read?) me talk about doing research. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Okay!!! We’ve got it!”, but you would not believe how many times I ask people questions about their trips/bookings/travel plans and I get “Uhhhh, I don’t know” in return. It could be something as simple as: “How are you getting to the airport?” Or even, “What time do you land in _____?” and people don’t know the answers.
Honestly, it blows my mind. I wouldn’t even consider leaving my house without knowing:
- How I’m getting to and from the airport(s)
- When/where my layovers are and how I get to my next flight
- When I land at my destination and how I’m getting to my first hotel
- How/when to exchange currency as well as knowing the standard costs for taxi fares and other travel costs (google it!)
- How to say Hello, Thank you, Goodbye, and Help in the common tongue
- Where the US embassy is in regards to where I am staying
- and the list goes on…
Here’s how I stay organized for my trips!
First off, create a special folder in your email where you can move all your confirmation emails so that they don’t get mixed up with your other emails. Next, download a travel app such as TripIt that’ll give you a place to input all your bookings and create an itinerary that can be sent to others. I’ve used it for the past 5 trips I’ve taken abroad and I wouldn’t dream of using any other app. It’s so convenient to use and make’s it very easy to keep track of all your confirmation numbers and time schedule. The trick is to input the confirmation info as soon as you have it!
Aside from having all of your travel confirmations in one place as well as an itinerary to keep you on track, it’s crucial that you have a backup plan in case you happen to lose your passport or get into trouble while abroad. Make sure you know where your country’s embassy is the country your going to as well as how you can contact the local police if need be. Before you leave home, make a photocopy of your ID/Passport & credit card info so you can at least prove who you are and have your credit card info. Keep these in a separate pocket, in the bottom of your suitcase so you know they won’t get misplaced and email a copy to a family member so they can email it to you in case you lose all of your belongings.
Last but not least, be prepared that there is a possibility that you can run into some hiccups along the journey. My best, and only, advice for this is to stay calm and brainstorm solutions. The last thing you want to do is start panicking and making the situation worse. If you need help, ask for it. Those hiccups are going to make for some awesome stories to tell your fam & friends when you get home and make the trip even more memorable. What do you do to stay organized & prepare for your trips?