Going abroad for the first time? Hey, don’t be nervous; it’s not so bad. A long plane flight seem like an eternity, but you can make it more enjoyable. And think about it this way: once you’re at your destination, you’re going to love it.
- Do some preparatory research. Scout the bookstores and buy a guidebook. Surf the net for traveler experiences. Visit forums and ask for advice.
- Organize your finances. Buy traveler’s cheques from your local bank. Organize your credit cards and cash too.
- Prepare your itinerary at home and book your tours in advance. When you get there, the will be hundreds of people just like you in line to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Roman Colosseum in Italy, so booking early guarantees you a spot, and in many cases, you can beat the crowds!
- Pack as lightly as possible: Airlines impose restrictions on the weight of your luggage, and it can be costly.
- Bring a camera and get ready to share your photos once you’re back home. What good is that Dutch or Thailand vacation without bringing home pictures to show the family and coworkers? Your stories should be complemented with some great photos. You, too, will want to look back on those memories in a few years!
- Make the time pass on the flight: Bring your CD player, Ipod, or laptop. Find a good book. Sleep. Play some Sudoku. If you’re with a young child, bring a set of cards; the SET card game is a popular choice among older children and even adults.
- Prepare to be amazed, especially in England. If you’re coming from America, bear in mind that cars are driven on the “wrong” side of the road, and the driver also sits on the “wrong” (right) side of the car!
- Experience the local flavor: Sure, you can go to Greece and ask for a cheeseburger—I’m sure they offer it, but wouldn’t you rather try stifatho? (How could you ever pass up a New York Bagel opportunity in New York?!)
- Take advantage of nightlife: There are plenty of monuments to visit by day, but don’t retire early! The nightlife in India will keep you entertained beyond daylight hours.
- Visit the landmarks: By night, a different kind of culture exists. But if you went to Paris and didn’t get to see the Eiffel Tower, you’ll definitely get funny looks from your friends.
Keep these thoughts in mind when you travel and your experience abroad will be a very pleasing one. Let your eyes be open to the culture and experience the lifestyle.