If you have the luxury of taking an international trip, consider yourself lucky. Many people in the world will never know what it is like outside the borders of their own country, or maybe even outside of the area in which they grew up. It is wonderful experience that offers so many benefits, but it is not one without its challenges– challenges that could easily ruin your trip, if you let them.
Perspective will serve you well when traveling abroad, but I digress. While you can’t bulletproof yourself against stresses and frustrations, you can take steps to minimize them. Here are just a few important considerations.
Get Travel Insurance!
Chances are, you won’t need it, but you will enjoy your trip much more knowing you have it. Just because you don’t have any health problems, and know you won’t require any sort of treatment, doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. Poorly maintained sidewalks are prime ground for a twisted ankle. That street dog that looks so friendly could freak out and take a chunk of your hand.
Even if you are in a country with relatively inexpensive healthcare, you would be surprised at how much a few days in a hospital could run you, especially if you opt for private institutions over public ones, which would probably be a smart idea in many parts of the world. Wouldn’t it kind of stink to blow your money on medical treatment, or run up a big debt on your credit card?
Compare travel insurance plans before you commit to one. The Seven Corners travel insurance offers a wide variety of plans, depending on length of stay, and whether you want certain types of coverage, such as political evacuation or terrorism clauses. Make sure the company you go with gives you options and walks you through them.
Expect Things May Not Always Go as Planned and Be Flexible
Expectations play a huge role in how we react to the situations we face, and while you don’t want to go into your international trip expecting everything to go wrong, know you will likely encounter some frustrations along the way, and it is all par for the course. This attitude will serve you well, and you will react much better when things don’t go as planned. You are going to a different part of the world, and things will happen that don’t make sense, seem inefficient or illogical, or just ‘wrong.’ But, it is what it is.
If you are booking a hotel, and you can’t get too much information about it online, just reserve it for one night, and if you don’t like it, you can find somewhere else when you get there. If you get to a hotel, and you are told it is fully booked, and your reservation request was never received–even though you know it was–keep your cool. Hop online and book a new place, or take a walk around town.
If the bus schedule online was totally wrong, and you can’t get to your planned destination, consider changing up your itinerary. It is natural to be frustrated, and you just want everything to go smoothly, but it may not. You have to try and relax, and have a good attitude, or you can really ruin your trip.
Knowledge is Power
One of the best ways to deal with international travel stresses is boning up on your knowledge of the country you are visiting. Read up a bit on the history, the culture and customs to ease culture shock. One of the reasons we get so frustrated being in another country is because many of the things that happen just don’t make sense. But, if you have a bit of background on the area, you will know beforehand that you may encounter certain situations; you will have a better understanding of why the people think and act the way they do. You still may not like it or agree, but it may not make you as angry.
Following these three tips will put you in a better space mentally, and allow you to get the most out of your trip.