As a travel enthusiast and Airbnb host, I read many blogs and forums relating to the subject. And I find that many travellers simply do not prepare themselves adequately for their travel experience, especially if they are going abroad. Travel is one of the most exciting things to do but so many people have problems which could be avoided by using the following simple tips:
Book with care
This seems to be a very basic tip but I find that these days, people are overwhelmed with the idea of travel and therefore book accommodation that simply won’t suit them.
Some people like chain hotels, others prefer a glamping experience, yet others prefer to live like locals. Everyone’s travel needs differ. If you’re motivated by budget constraints, don’t expect luxury – be realistic in your expectations.
Research the area
Customs and etiquette vary widely in different countries. (And in the USA, even in different states). Be sure that you know about these so that you can respect them. The internet makes it easy.
A custom that is de rigeur in Florida, for example, could be seen as incredibly rude in Japan. Be prepared for cultural differences. What’s strange to you is perfectly normal in the country you are visiting.
Be prepared for foreign languages
It’s a little arrogant of us but we all do it – if we’re English speakers we expect people in other countries to understand our language. In many places, they do, but it’s as well to be prepared by having a good translation app on your phone. (See the related links below for my recommendation).
Even if you’re American and travelling to other English speaking countries (the UK, Australia etc. – or vice versa) you’ll find that the language differences are huge.
Program important numbers into your phone
For example, there will be a number you can call back home if your credit card is lost or stolen. Be sure that you have this number on your phone before you leave home.
Do the same with your accommodation provider. If you’ve booked a Holiday Inn be sure to have their helpline number in case of any problems. Do the same with Airbnb if you’re staying with one of their hosts. You might never need these numbers, but you’ll feel more confident if you’re prepared.
Pack light, pack appropriately
I have been so guilty of not doing this in the past. I would pack items ‘just in case’ and invariably I came home with them unworn. Study your destination and research what you will need. For a two week vacation a small carry-on bag is all you need.
I promise, you really truly don’t need to take more than two pairs of shoes with you when you’re going on a long weekend. Even for vacations of two weeks or more it’s unlikely that you actually need more than one pair of flip-flops, one pair of shoes you can walk in well and one pair of ‘just in case’ smarter shoes.
One of the most useful pieces of clothing you can take with you is a sarong or large scarf. (I only have experience of female packing). This can be used as a skirt, shawl, impromptu tablecloth, dress, emergency window covering, beach cover-up and more.
Relax and enjoy
The world isn’t really the scary place that the media likes to present us with. Most of the planet’s population are genuine, harmless people. Don’t assume that everyone in foreign parts is liable to rip you off or cheat you.
Take common sense precautions, of course, just as you would if you were travelling in your own country but relax. Smile at people you encounter along the way. Make friends. Have fun. Enjoy 😉
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.