International trips are always a dream but if not planned properly, they can easily turn into a nightmare. If you are a first-time international traveller planning a trip, here are 10 essential tips that will make sure you have a wonderful holiday abroad.
1. Be flexible & open
When planning is always appreciated, meticulous planning with everything been taken care end-to-end can be a bit boring. Great stories always blossom when you are lost. So, be sure to leave enough space for your itinerary to breath and add in newer experiences as you explore.
2. Shop at the supermarket
Understand what the locals eat by shopping at the supermarkets. This will also help you choose better when you are at a restaurant not knowing what to order. Supermarkets are also a great place to connect with the locals.
3. Learn the language and the etiquettes
In case, you are going on a visit to a destination which doesn’t have English as their first language, then it might be a struggle for you to get around. Prior to your trip, download the linguistic apps and refer to the international travel guides for information on the basic etiquettes. Even though you struggle, try and do your best to fit into the new culture. The locals will definitely appreciate the effort.
4. Inform the bank
Ensure you reach out to your bank to inform them that you will be using your credit card outside India. If not informed, there are chances for your Credit card to be blocked on suspicion of fraudulent activities. Also, refrain from using the airport currency exchange booths. They have the worst exchange rates. Head to an ATM or use your card instead.
5. Keep your documents handy
From visa documents to passport to hotel & airport booking confirmations, you would be required to carry a lot of documents. As a rule, scan all the documents and email the copy to your email id. This way, you will have access to your files all the time.
6. Stay cheap
A great dilemma when you are planning your first international trip is ‘Should you book in an expensive hotel or a mid-range hotel?’ The answer to this is, skip the hotels altogether and opt for hostels or Airbnb’s. They are significantly cheaper and you can use the money saved to do more in the new destination. It is all the more good to stay in a locally-owned accommodation. Gets you closer to the local culture.
7. Explore for free
One of the first things that you have to do after you reach the destination is to visit the tourist information centre. When you are finally there, know about the attractions that you can visit for free and get a detailed map of the destination.
8. Travel light
Okay, this might sound cliche but is actually true. Always, always, travel light. Carry only the clothes that are appropriate for the season. While packing, roll the clothes and not fold it. This will give you extra space.
9. Mark your luggage
Losing the baggage is becoming a norm these days. To be doubly sure, top your luggage with a colourful bow tie, so you can easily spot your bag. Also, go the extra mile and mark your luggage ‘Fragile’. This will ensure that your luggage is been handled with care.
10. Be there in the moment
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed on your first international trip and start clicking pictures. But what’s more important is to stay in the moment and enjoy your vacation than clicking a million pictures. So be sure to make your experience count.
This article was written in collaboration with the travel experts at Pickyourtrail. A travel-tech startup based out of Chennai, Pickyourtrail specializes in crafting personalized vacations and is changing the way Indians travel abroad.