5 Things to Know Before Traveling Abroad (That We Wish Someone Had Told Us)

Traveling to a new place is always exciting — the new culture, the sights and the sounds. Whether it’s a luxury vacation in Europe or a nonstop trip through Thailand, you need to know the basics before you pack your bags and set sail.

Going abroad is a big deal, so don’t grab your passport and head out just yet. Here’s what you need to know before you make your next trip:

Break out Your Inner Tourist

Face the facts — you’re going to a new place, so you’re going to look like a tourist. Don’t shun the tourist life. Embrace it! Soak in the culture. Take plenty of pictures. Ask someone to take your picture with landmarks.There’s no shame. Eventually you’ll look back and thank yourself for the proper documentation of your adventurous days.  

Research Your Destination

You’re not a nerd for wanting to learn about where you’re going. Getting the lowdown about another country and its culture is essential to a successful trip. Hand gestures, language, wardrobe and weather are just a few of the many things you should look up. Besides, you never know what amazing things you can learn or places you can find until you do your research.

Go Beyond the Hotel Walls

Okay, so depending on where you’re traveling, sometimes (especially as a solo female traveler) it truly can be safest to stay within the resort. For every other scenario, take the opportunity to explore! When the time comes, jump off of that waterfall you thought you’d never reach when you were hiking. Rent a Vespa and tour the city. Explore places near those people tagged on social media — and if you have the chance, ditch the tour book and just wander for an afternoon (because it's always when you have no plan that you stumble across the best finds)!

Budget, and Then Budget Again

You may think you’re covered with cash, but always double check! There are plenty of ways you can save money when traveling. Airline tickets vary in price, so make sure you’re booking your flight at the best time. Exchanging currency isn’t as easy as locating the nearest ATM on your bank’s app, either — plus, your bank might charge you crazy rates for withdrawing overseas. Make sure you know how much you can spend, and where you can spend it.

Keep Your Health Goals At The Forefront  

Although a large part of a vacation entails relaxation and escape from the daily grind, it’s important to keep your health in mind as you embark on your travels. When I was traveling abroad in Peru, there were a lot of things I need to be aware of when making my pre and post trip doctor’s appointments. Upon my return, my doctor insisted on conducting a quick malaria test because I had been wandering around the Amazon River for over two weeks. Bottom linke: research the area you’ll be in to make sure you stay safe and healthy on your travels. Additionally, it never hurts to squeeze in a quick workout or two while you’re away – it helps relieve jetlag and keep you on your fitness goals. 

(Most Importantly) Enjoy the Trip

Soak up the sun — but don’t forget the SPF — and enjoy all that your travels have to offer. Going abroad to a new country will be an experience you’ll never forget. You might find your favorite cuisine from trying new foods, or maybe you’ll learn how to salsa dance on the beach. Wherever you’re going, embrace every minute of your time there.