Tips for traveling the world

Megan Pinckney | 6/21/2018, 3:29 p.m.
When any of my family, friends or followers travel out of the country for the first time, they all ask ...

When any of my family, friends or followers travel out of the country for the first time, they all ask me the same thing, “Do you have any tips?” Because the question is so general and could be referring to so many things, I’m always stumped. I have to ask them follow-up questions such as, “What are you most nervous about?” or “What are you looking forward to the most?” to help me construct an answer to their initial question. But, I can’t help but feel like they walk away only slightly more prepared than they were when they first asked. So, to help myself become a better “travel expert” I’ve constructed a list of general tips for first-time international travelers to help them feel more prepared before they leave, and to help me answer the inevitable question when it comes.

Make a plan

This decision sounds simple enough, but not having a plan could cause you to waste a lot of time, and even money, during your trip. Coming up with a general idea of where you’ll stay, where you’ll eat and what you’ll do while you are away is the best way to ensure you’ll have a great trip.

Be flexible; be spontaneous

Although a plan is very helpful, you must know when to deviate from it. Never be afraid to try a restaurant that wasn’t on your radar or to take a day trip to a little town that you’ve never heard of. The locals in the area know much more about the city than any travel magazine. Don’t be afraid to ask them for suggestions, and, furthermore, don’t be afraid to act on them.

Separate your sources of money

This decision allows you to avoid a major tragedy if you happen to leave a bag on a train, or if someone goes through your luggage and steals money. Hide various amounts of cash and your cards in a variety of places so that if tragedy does strike, you have backups. The catch with this tip is you’ll have to remember everywhere you’ve hidden your money!

Make sure you have the outlet converters, if needed

Most countries use different plugs than we do here in the U.S. Make a point to research that before you leave and to gather all necessary parts. Most hotels don’t offer plug converters, and nothing would be worse than not being able to charge your personal electronics.

Learn common phrases of the local language

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always very impressed by the amount of English the world seems to understand. Very rarely do I come across someone who knows absolutely none. But with that said, locals appreciate your effort…even if it isn’t perfect. Learning phrases such as “thank you,” “how much” and “please” go a long way.

Pack a jacket

It doesn’t matter if you’re touring Spain in the middle of the summer, at some point the temperature is bound to drop (rather outside, or inside a building) and nothing is worse than not being prepared. Besides, who wants to spend their souvenir money on a lousy jacket they’ll never wear again?