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October 2018

Travel Tips You May Not Have Considered

Packing well for studying abroad

There’s really nothing more helpful to learning a language than visiting the country of your target language. Becoming immersed in not only the language itself but also with the culture is an experience no textbook can replicate. But traveling isn’t so easy for many people, and first visits in foreign countries can be intimidating. With a little preparation, you can increase the chances of your having a comfortable adventure.

Common travel tips include ensuring mobile data while traveling, having the right kind of currency, and knowing the basics of the destination country’s culture. Understanding differences in the laws and customs is essential to ensure you remain a respectful visitor. There are some lesser known tips, however, that many of us learn after extensive travel. Today we’ll take a look at some of these travel advices.

Preparing for any weather

When we’re unfamiliar with an area, it’s hard to predict how the weather will be. Even if you’ve checked the weather beforehand, unexpected weather and temperature changes can occur. The best way to prepare for this is to bring plenty of layers.

Button-down shirts are particularly good, as they offer long sleeves for cold nights but also ventilation for warm days. They also dry quickly after a wash. When it gets even more cold, consider putting on a hoodie, a good option as the hood can be used to block out wind from the neck (you won’t need to bring a scarf). If it should become even more cold, an extra (preferably waterproof) layer on top can protect from wind and rain.

A small travel umbrella is a good idea to keep with you. Ideally, find one that can withstand strong winds. This will prevent the umbrella from flipping inside out in harsher conditions.

Bring medical items that are harder to find

It goes without saying that you ought to pack any necessary medications. However, there are other health items that are difficult or expensive to come by. Two good examples are eye drops and sunscreen. In some countries, they can be fairly expensive or difficult to find in your desired specifications. Eye drops are also great for eyes that may become irritated in new areas in which your body might not be accustomed.

For tropical climates that might harbor mosquitoes, packing soap that includes essential oils of lavender, peppermint, and citronella supposedly aids in keeping mosquitoes away. The efficacy may be debatable, but it’s something worth considering, and, at the very least, you’ll smell nice.

Finally, allergy pills are a good idea if you think you might have reactions. You really can’t be sure how an environment might make you react until you’re there.

Maintaining fitness and health

We tend to walk a lot while traveling, and this alone is great exercise. If you hope to keep up strength training, resistance bands are a great idea. They weigh very little and can offer a fair amount of resistance. Additionally, there are dumbbells made of plastic that can be filled with water to increase weight.

Traveling abroad means we might not always eat properly. If it’s of interest to you, bringing a well-designed multivitamin can be a great aid in ensuring you get the nutrition you desire. Pick the right formulation for your needs; there are various mixes made specifically for men and women, and some that include extra ingredients like probiotics, vegetable complexes, and helpful herbs.

ATMs instead of money exchanges

Exchanging money can be a headache for many, but there’s a little trick that makes getting foreign currency a breeze. Look for a debit card that refunds ATM fees (some banks and credit unions offer this great service). With ATM fees taken care of, using your debit card abroad will incur only the foreign transaction fee. Often, this fee is a lower rate than the rate charged by banks and money exchange counters. In other words, with the right debit card, you can take money straight out of a foreign ATM at less cost than getting foreign currency from most banks at home.

It might also be a good idea to set up PINs for your credit cards for emergencies. While the fee will be greater at the ATM, it’s a good contingency to have. Additionally, bring only credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees, and ideally use a card that offers cash or miles back. Because if you’re going to spend, why not have it contribute to your next trip?

What are your most important travel tips? Have you ever had to learn the hard way? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on culture and language learning!