Stepping on to the soil of a foreign country is a once in a lifetime experience that everyone should get to witness at some point. Everyone who has done it remembers the first time that they were able to experience it. The trick to this though is that things are different, and you have to be ready. Keep reading for more.
Make sure that you have some kind of translation tool available. Sometimes, this might be a member of your party fluent in the local language. You can also carry a pocket dictionary or have a translation app for your phone. Have this handy, even if you are going someplace that technically speaks the same language as you do back home. Someone from rural America might have tremendous trouble understanding locals deep in the Australian bush.
Do your homework about where you are going. A lot of tolerance and leeway is given to tourists, but there are still expectations that you must adhere to. Certainly, learn the local customs if you plan on traveling on your own, outside of a charter company, and particularly if you are getting off the beaten tourist path.
Know what the regional rules are about tipping. This varies from country to country. You might even offend some by over-tipping in certain places. At the least, you want to know how much to budget for this.
Always be nice to people where you go. That should of course be the order of the day, any day, everywhere. However, you are a guest in a foreign country. Never offend anyone.
Know how to drive. Get a certified international driver’s license, know the local road laws, understand the street signs and lights, and make sure you are insured.
Spend some time months in advance getting to know the area that you intend to visit. Do not just plan on seeing the highlights. The long lines and constant souvenirs might bore you quickly. Have ideas about restaurants and things to do that you cannot back home. Find quirky museums or even arrange to physically see online acquaintances that you know online. Also, have backup ideas in case your primary ones are closed or inaccessible suddenly.
Do not assume privacy when you pack. Security might be tight in airports in North America, but terrorism has been a problem on other continents a lot longer. You might be shocked when you land in London and see a security person physically open your luggage and rummage through it in front of hundreds of other people, but it can happen.
Keep in mind that visiting another land is an opportunity that you might only get once in life. Make the most of it. Do as much research as you can to be ready for time in another nation so that you can have a great memory and come back with interesting stories to tell of exotic and magical places and experiences like nothing at home. Keep all these ideas in this article in mind.