Tips for International Travel

Whether it’s your 1,00th time traveling out of the country or your very first time going on an international adventure, there are always opportunities to make your trip even more relaxing and comfortable. I

1. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

It is possible to become severely dehydrated on long airplane rides due to the lack of humidity in airplane cabins, so it is very important to drink plenty of fluids, namely water.

2. Get a Good Night’s Rest

Although going on a big trip is super exciting, do your best to try and get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before traveling. It is difficult to truly get a lot of rest when you are traveling for 10+ hours and you need to be alert when checking in, during layovers, and once you get to your destination.

3. Pack Ahead of Time

It can be stressful to leave all your packing for the last minute, so I recommend starting a week or so before so that the day of, you can feel confident that you have everything you need, washed and ready to pack!

4. Carry-on

I like having everything I need right at my fingertips, so I always try to use a carry-on.  This carry-on is internationally sized and yet still fits everything I need! Plus, it gives me the option of either rolling it or converting it into a backpack. My carryon is always compact to fit under the seat infront of me and contains:

Ear plugs, Eye cover, noise cancelling headphones with in seat adapter, phone cable for charging, ipad mini, phone, toothbrush, toothepaste, aspirin, pen and of course passport/boardingpasses.

5. Be a Minimalist

Whenever I go on a trip out of the country, it’s always so difficult for me to choose exactly what I want to bring. The weather is almost always unpredictable, normally less clothes are necessary than one would think of. Usually I bring a jersey or similar on board as flights tends to be cold.

Light

6. Bring a Packable Daypack

I don’t think I know anyone who has come back with less than they left with. And why would you? Everyone likes souvenirs or to pick up gifts for family and friends after visiting a cool place.

7. Stay Aware

One of the most important tips I can give is to be aware of your surroundings, especially when going to a foreign country that you’ve never been to before. While I personally love to wander, and discover new shops, café’s, and parks, it is still very important to always be aware. To keep my belongings safe, I use a money belt that fits securely around my waist, safe and out of sight from pick pockets. It also keeps all my important travel information, personal ID’s and debit/credit cards protected while going through security with RFID technology. Lastly, make sure that you have your phone with you always so that you can contact someone, or check Google maps if you were to get completely lost, or if you find yourself in a compromising situation.

8. Meet the Locals

One of my favorite aspects of traveling is meeting new people and making friends. There is so much to learn and discover through someone else’s perspective. But, also be careful when giving out specific information about who you are, where you are staying, or what your plans are. In general, just use good reasoning skills to feel out the situation.

9. Go Out of Your Comfort Zone

Be safe, but also make bold choices and have a lot of fun while you are traveling. Immerse yourself. Experiencing a new culture means new foods, new music, and new people. Try things you wouldn’t normally do, don’t shy away from opportunities because you are too scared or nervous – besides, those make for the best stories later when you get home. Embrace everything that you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, and don’t be too quick to judge.

Traveling is a great opportunity to learn more about our world, to push yourself to try something new, and come home with an open mind and newfound respect for other cultures – so be yourself, be respectful, and be curious. In the end, no matter if you’re going on a backpacking trip in the Himalayas, skiing in the Swiss Alps, or adventuring to the beautiful beaches of Thailand, your trip will be so much less stressful knowing how to best prepare ahead of time.

Published by Håkan Ekstrand

Travels extensively in business and love culture, photography and filosophy

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