It’s your first time overseas, you’re probably imagining all the exciting things that can happen as well as everything that could go wrong. Here is a short list of dos and don’ts we’ve put together which hopefully will be informative for your first trip abroad.
Do see this trip as a personal mission.
What we mean by that is, no matter what you’ve heard or know or think you know about the place you’re visiting, forget it. This is an opportunity to dismiss any stereotypes attached to the people and the country and to explore without any expectations be it good or bad.
Don’t be anxious with the locals.
Naturally, being a foreigner in any country can be nerve wracking, especially if there’s a language barrier. Feeling anxious is a reasonable state to be in within a foreign environment. Am I lost? Do those people over there look friendly enough to help me? Am I blending in or standing out? These are all legitimate fears to have, but they reveal themselves in your appearance and how you come across. When and if you are lost it is always better to be brave and asks the locals for directions, they might also end up helping you with further information to better your trip. That being said, there are dodgy people everywhere, scammers, pick pockets etc, which is why it is so important not to look too lost and most importantly do not roam around with too many valuables and cash on you!
Do plan ahead.
It is vital to pre-plan the costs of your trip abroad. You could start by deciding on the things that need pre-booking e.g. accommodation, flights, visa fees. And then also decide on the costs of things you can delay such as meals and excursions. Sometimes it’s more exciting not knowing where you are going to eat or what you’ll be doing that day. However, do plan your money/costs wisely. It is better to overbudget and never underestimate the price of things.
Don’t overdo it.
The idea of wanting to see everything that country has to offer is well… irresistible. But depending on the length of your trip, be realistic and recognise that you might not be able to visit every tourist attraction. It is also not handy to bring all of the gadgets, shoes and clothes that you desire therefore, prioritise and take with you only the necessities. Bare in mind that you will most likely bring incredible souvenirs home with you.
Do respect the country.
This one is key. Different countries have different cultures, and different cultures have different customs. Although learning a whole new language before visiting a country isn’t ideal for everyone, you could at least learn the gestures and customs that are the most appropriate in everyday life. Learning the proper phrase or gesture for an apology, would already demonstrate your respectfulness towards the people in the country you’re in. There are also customs such as eating with your right hand in India and bowing when liaising with someone in Japan. These type of customs will be specific to the place you visit but it is your responsibility to research this before you journey abroad.
Don’t over anticipate.
Similarly to “overdoing it”, don’t try to predict exactly how you think the trip will go. Let yourself experience everything fully and go through the motions of whatever is happening at that moment otherwise you could end up disappointed. In essence, just be open minded.
Do keep in touch.
Travelling abroad especially if you’re doing it alone, could leave you feeling homesick, anxious and lonely sometimes. Try to have a few methods of keeping in touch with friends and family back home, whether that is through social media or a phone call. They are likely to keep your spirits up and help you deal with things like culture shock.
Try to enjoy your time travelling, learn new things about the world and about yourself, eat some new food, gain some new experiences and remember that if things aren’t going well that there is always someone to connect with.