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Travel Hacks You Wish You Knew as a First-Time International Traveler

What is one of the most common reasons a trip abroad fails? Not being prepared.

Sure, being spontaneous can lead to awesome adventures. But finding out you have to rebook all your travel plans at the last minute because you didn’t know about the 6-month passport expiry rule won’t be much fun, right?

Luckily, searching for travel tips online is so simple that scenarios like that can easily be avoided. And, with professional travel agencies like Critics Choice Vacations ready to handle all trip requirements for you, there is less to worry about.

But aside from the general travel hacks, there are certain tips that only experience (good or bad) can teach you. And who better to get tips from than seasoned international travelers, especially if it’s your first time?

1. Items to Pack that Are Usually Overlooked

‘Don’t overpack’ and ‘bring appropriate clothes’ are well-worn pointers, yet essential ones that are often overlooked so they have to be included in this list. However, aside from knowing what sorts of outfits are considered offensive in the country you’re going to, don’t forget to pack the following as well:

  • A pack of wet wipes – Lifesavers for numerous emergency situations, especially when water isn’t accessible at the moment.
  • Noise-canceling earphones or headphones – Have a talkative seatmate on the plane? Crowing roosters waking you up too soon at your current international student accommodations? Yup, you don’t want to leave home without a pair of these.
  • Emergency toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag – Yes, missing luggage can still happen even in these modern times.
  • International chargers or converters – Considering that different countries use different outlets, having these makes charging your gadgets anywhere on the globe no problem.

2. Get Travel Insurance

Most travelers opt out of getting a protection plan most likely to avoid additional costs. However, if you are going somewhere that is thousands of miles away from your home, having insurance can be a lifesaver.

Just imagine how awful it would be to get sick, have an accident, lose your belongings, drop your expensive gadgets, or cancel your flight and accommodation booking while you’re in a foreign place? To make matters worse, you’re not financially covered for these incidents, so you end up with a bad day and more expenses.

There are various types of travel insurance plans, so just look for one that suits your individual needs and budget.

3. Plan How to Pay

Check if your credit or debit card is internationally accepted. If it isn’t, talk to your bank about how to get a plastic you can use on your trip. Don’t forget to ask about any additional charges.

This is also a good time to inform your bank that you are going abroad. Notifying them ensures they won’t suddenly freeze your account because they assumed someone else suspiciously used your card halfway across the world.

Also, don’t depend too much on credit or debit. Be prepared to use cash and to convert currencies since some places don’t or can’t accept plastics.

4. Be Ready with Language Tools

Be equipped with some basic phrases and you can easily make friends, find your way back to the hotel or your student residence, or even enjoy a discount. It also helps to have a translation app ready in your phone when your limited language skills won’t do the trick.

5. Share and Save

Traveling to another country is a costly activity, especially when you do it alone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy and do tourist-geared stuff.

You can always invite or join other individuals or groups for that island hopping cruise and split the costs with them. You get to make friends, have fun, and stick to your budget! Sounds like a good deal.

6. Know What Items You Can’t Bring With You

Have you experienced tasting the most delicious mangoes on the planet that you just have to bring some for your family and friends back home? You buy a whole box and lug the heavy package with you to the airport. But to your dismay, you find out at the last minute that it is illegal to take any local produce from the island.

The lesson? Do your research on what items are allowed in and out of the country you are flying to and from. You never know, even that wooden desktop statue you had with you in your student apartments also won’t make it through security.

7. Focus More on the Experience

It’s your first time to travel abroad or to a certain destination and you want to remember each moment for sure. However, don’t make the mistake of being so wrapped up in capturing everything through your camera that you aren’t actually experiencing anymore. Take a photo or two, and then immerse yourself in the moment.

Don’t just say you’ve been there, actually be there.

Whether you’re backpacking across Europe, doing a workation in South America, taking a masters course in Australia, or going on a luxury holiday in the Mediterranean, the success of your international travel experience all depends on how prepared you are.

Prepared in the sense that you have taken all the little details into consideration, but also prepared in the sense that you are open to having an adventure and a beautiful experience out of it all.

Do you have your own travel tips to share or add? Comment away!

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