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

There's nothing quite like the first time: first kiss, first paycheck, and first trip abroad are firsts we won't be forgetting anytime soon. Traveling abroad to a new place is that perfect mix of anxiety and excitement — as in cannot wait to dive into a new culture, its food, the sights, and the sounds, but so many unknowns.

Whether it’s a wine tasting trip through Italy or a tapas mission through Spain, there are a few tips you must know before you pack your bags and set sail. Here are five ways to make the most of your first trip abroad:

Let Your Tourist Flag Fly

Face the facts: you’re going to a new place, so you’re probably going to look like a tourist. So, don’t shun the tourist life. Embrace it! Well, to an extent. Definitely soak in the city, take a tour or three, and ask strangers to take your picture with landmarks. There’s no sham and, if you don't do it, you'll regret it later. You’ll look back and thank yourself for the proper documentation of your travel adventures -- just make sure you are self-aware in your touristy-ness and balance it with an endless desire to dive as deep as you can into the local culture.

Research Your Destination

In the age of geotagged Instagram photos and whole Pinterest boards devoted to a city, you can be sure there's a ton of information out there about where to go and what to eat. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do some prep work -- if anything, you can nerd out even more about your next trip. From customs and etiquette as small as hand gestures or what to where to basic language skills, getting the lowdown about another country and its culture is essential to a successful trip. Besides, you never know what amazing 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 and even get a little lost (so long as you stay aware of your surroundings and your GPS and phone are still working). Rent a Vespa and tour Rome's city center; hike to that waterfall in Hawaii and take in the view; or crisscross the city in search of the best street food. 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 Then Budget Again

You may think you’re covered with your travel budget, 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 — your bank might charge you crazy rates for withdrawing overseas. Make sure you know how much you can spend, make a guesstimate of where you want to spend it, and be sure to budget in some wiggle room so you can go off your original travel plans or even induldge in a special meal. 

Keep Your Health In Focus

You're probably on vacation to relax and escape the daily grind, but, it’s important to keep your health in mind as you  travel, be it just how to stay healthy on the flight or making sure you don't catch a travel illness. Bottom line: head to the CDC website to research your travel destination and get advice on travel health and any specific vaccinations or health concerns. 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 so you can really taste the world. 


Did you know we lead boutique group trips for food lovers? Come join our next Salt & Wind trip!

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P.P.S. Hitting the road soon? Show us how you travel in good taste by sharing your adventures on Instagram with the #swsociety hashtag!

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