“Tell your best friend, “Girl get your paperwork right” –Drake
So you finally got your passport and you are ready to collect stamps and explore the world. International travel is fun and exciting and sometimes a bit overwhelming, but heres a few tips to help you get your feet wet in globetrotting:
Research Your Destination
Going in with a general idea of the customs and culture of a country you plan to visit it a great place to start. What cuisine are they famous for? Any must-see attractions? Is it polite to tip servers? Is there any political unrest or crime I should be aware of? What is the currency exchange there? Gather info to make informed decisions.
Leave Your Customs At Home
Americans are notorious for visiting countries and not adapting to the local customs. While you should feel free to be who you are, wherever you are—do so with respect. Be open minded, respect what is frowned upon in the region (ie: scantily clad clothing in some parts of the world is a big no-no), and be willing to actually EXPERIENCE the country. Try their cuisine, listen to their music, talk to locals…what is the point of flying halfway around the world to order burgers and fries?
Trust in God, But Lock Your Car Door
Listen. Crime happens everywhere. Stranger danger is worldwide. With that said, that isn’t reason enough to not visit a destination—just be smart. The same precautions you would take at home (not flashing your money, keeping your wallet close, avoiding dark twisty alleys, not following someone you don’t know to a private location) are the same everywhere in the world. Second to your wallet and passport, the most important thing you need to pack is your common sense.
I know this sounds completely absurd, but getting lost in a new city is sometimes the most awesome thing to happen on your trip. My mom and I took one too many left turns in Madrid and wound up lost for hours. What did that turn into? Stumbling into an amazing park, finding a local coffee shop, and tasting the best paella recommended by a local. We missed the touristy parts of town, but we enjoyed our authentic Spanish experience. Download maps on your phone that will work without cell service, grab a map from your hotel—and GET LOST.
There are 195 countries on this planet…..grab a suitcase and enjoy the adventure!
Where would you like to go this season?