Are you planning to have your first trip? Or simply travelling abroad somewhere? I’m talking about travelling to places that culture is new for you and the environment is different from what you have been used to. For example, you live in Europe and travel to Asia or Africa, or from Singapore to India. Then read on, because you will find out the most important steps before taking off.
1. Documents need to be ready
It’s a crucial step but not many people actually often pay attention to. You should take this action few months before you travel. Simply, check your passport’s expiration date if it is still valid for at least 6 months, check your country you’re travelling to if they require a visa because it might takes few weeks or more than a month until you can have it approved. For European, this is not a very big concern because they are able to travel to many countries without visas but, for example, India, Vietnam and China. But if you are from Europe and plan to travel to South East Asia, getting a visa is not difficult but confusing sometimes. That’s why a closer check wouldn’t cost much time. For Asian travellers, it is more complicated to get visas to Europe and America. It is best to go through an agency so the procedure will take faster and easier.
2. Health checked
In order to have a good travel, you need to be in a good condition. It is likely more convenient if you have your health checked in your country because they have all your information relating to your condition so that they know what you are capable of doing. If you have a certain concern about your health, it is safer to be looked at directly because you wouldn’t want to fall sick while travelling.
If you are going to a different continent where there are some diseases not available in your own country, it is necessary to get vaccination. You should do it few weeks before your departure.
If you are about to backpack for a long period, make sure you train to have a better condition (if you haven’t done any sport or any training in general). Backpacking could cause back and legs pain, therefore, looking into them before travelling or training them could help you a lot.
And never forget to bring your insurance card/information!
3. Prepare for culture shock
It depends on where you are heading to, you might get something called culture shock. You are certainly going to experience a different culture in every country but in another continent could make you surprise. There is not much you can do about it but I would recommend to talk to people who have already travelled the place you are going to or have been abroad before. They will help you to prepare your mind-set and expectation. Sometimes it could get scary but it is up to you to interpret once you are landed.
4. Research your destination
As my previous article about using travel guide books, it is not 100% that it is a SHOULD when it comes to guide books. However, if you are entering a country for the first time or having zero knowledge about the place, a guide book could be a good start for your travels. It really gives you the general information about the place like culture, climate, destinations, etc.
I always encourage people to get lost in wherever they travel because it is certainly more fun. As a freshman, I would still encourage you to do so but have it prepared by reading some articles about the place, Google it, take some time during the day to highlight where and how you want to go to a certain destination. Who knows how long you would go but a basic knowledge would help you along the way and prevent you from getting in troubles, somehow.
5. Take precaution but no hesitation
There are plenty of gossips around that will make you doubt about your travels but it is time to learn to eject people’s opinions. I cannot tell how many people told me not to backpack through Asia or hitchhike Europe alone. They told me all the terrible stories (as bad as possible) just to stop me. What would do in my position? Of course, I acknowledge the danger I might get into but you never know until you try. And here I am, still sitting here writing this article.
Please take precaution of what would happen along the way, especially when you travel alone. However, at the same, you should have a goal set in mind and follow it. If you want to travel, you do it! There will be no regret and that has been proven by many other travellers, including myself.