No matter how well-travelled you are in your own country, your first trip abroad brings a lot of excitement. It could also be a bit unnerving.
If you are planning to travel abroad for the first time and are somewhat apprehensive, then relax! Here are some useful travel tips, by Kapil Goswamy, CMD, BigBreaks.com, to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip.
‘Knowing about local currency and money exchange rates is important on an international trip. It is ideal to get the currency exchange done even before you start.’
Choose your destination wisely: That's the first important step. Unless you are the truly adventurous type, zero in on a destination that is not too far distance wise or culturally. Travelling to a place that's closer to your comfort zone will put you at ease. You can kick start your international travel account by visiting a neighboring country like Srilanka. It has a lot to offer. Even Dubai, Singapore, Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong are good options where you can feel somewhat at home, culturally. If you are looking westward, UK where they speak English would be better than travelling to say, France where language could be barrier. Language is a big facilitator for getting around in an alien land. Needless to say, book your accommodation well in advance; explore your options and stay within your budget.
Organize your travel documents in advance: Next, make sure your passport, visa and other travel documents, including insurance, are in place. Don't leave things for the last minute; they cause unnecessary tension and hassles. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the start of journey. Carry photocopies of all important documents, in case you lose the original while on the trip. It's a good idea to put soft copies of important documents on email. If you are travelling on work, pre-registered your trip with the embassy; this will help you tackle unforeseen problems should there be any. Do not forget to check on country-specific vaccination requirements.
Get your insurance done: While on a trip abroad, the chances of a mishap arealways there. Compare prices and benefits and get a travel insurance done from a reliable service provider well in advance so that God forbid, there's an illness or accident, you won't have to pay out of your pocket.You may consider a global health insurance which will cover your deposits for hospitalization and treatment in a foreign country. Insurance is essential if you are planning a longish trip abroad.Many Travel Insurance Policies also cover flight delays and cancellations as well as loss of baggage etc., and it is a good idea to take one.
Carry international currency and cards: Knowing about local currency and money exchange rates is important on an international trip. It is ideal to get the currency exchange done even before you start. Carry small domination notes and coins of local currency to get your way around initially. For shopping at malls and plazas an international credit card works best. Forex Travel Cards are now available with leading Money changers and are a good option, convenient for your expenses during your stay and travel abroad.
Read up and research: Research about the place you are heading to. It's important to familiarize yourself about thehistory, culture and etiquette of the country you are visiting.The internet is good source of information on local cultureand values, but, it's always better to read up some books as well and know a few keywords of the local language if possible.Also make sure you have all the emergency contacts and rules and regulations of the countryyou are travelling to, handy.
Plan Your Itinerary Realistically: The most common complaint from first-time international travelers is fatigue from jetlag after a long flight. So, plan realistically. Keep a day for recovering from jetlag. Once you have recovered, spend the next day familiarizing yourself with the new place and chalking out your itinerary forsight-seeing, trying out local cuisine, meeting new people and for exploring the topography and architecture of the place. Choose your options well, depending on what appeals to you and book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Stay connected: Making ISD calls from abroad can exhaust your balance real fast as call rates are exorbitant especially in the western world. If you are on a long visit, get yourself a local SIM card. This will also allow you internet connectivity on the go. Also, you can call friends and relatives back home using the video calling feature in your smart phone, or keep in touch through WhatsApp and Facebook. For a short trip, consider activating international roaming on your sim card. Bon voyage!