Some of us can say “been there, done that”. It all started with that one tour and then we got smitten by the travel bug. Life has since been an endless journey of seeing new places, meeting new friends, eating exciting food, and immersing ourselves in different cultures. We were all once a newbie traveller. So for you who will be traveling for the first time abroad, here is a list of things you should remember.
8 Things to Have on your Checklist for your First Trip Abroad
Going abroad for the first time can entice mixed feelings. The thrill of having your eyes lay upon unknown paths provide an exhilaration that only true travelers can comprehend. On the other hand, new places can also bring a distinct chill to the bones since there is unfamiliarity. And normally, unfamiliarity brings about anxiety and unease- all of which are perfectly fine.
Relax, even the most well-travelled was once a newbie traveller.
Breathe in. I too had that confusing concoction of emotions. What I unraveled in the many times and the many places I travelled in is that every inch of that feeling makes it all worthwhile! And while I acknowledged all those matters, the best thing I did was I prepared myself of the things I need during my stay. In that way, I became all set and ready for the things I may or may not encounter in my journey.
Even if you are blessed with a mindful brain, there are times when you get to forget things that may be important during your travel. This is because your emotions may get the best out of you. Thus, a checklist is vital to prompt you of the things that you need in your travel. My checklist is usually comprehensive because I tend to forget things often, but this list will give you a good idea on the most significant things you need to bring. Come one and come all, here are 8 things to have on your checklist for your first trip abroad!
The first thing you should always remember in your first trip abroad is that travel documents are your responsibility. In fact, that doesn’t only account for your first trip, but all the trips you’re going to make. Travel documents ensure your legality as a passerby in a foreign country. A passport is the only legal document of identification recognized by countries when you enter their territory. You wouldn’t want the hassle of having yourself trapped in immigrations and customs, right? Without a valid passport and/or visa, the airline won’t even allow you to board your flight. There can be a lot of travel documents you need. Secure your documents in one place. I suggest that you purchase a document organizer which can accommodate your valid identification cards, passports, health card, credit cards and more.
Another good idea is to check the validity of your passports and identification cards. This is to avoid any conflict with airport security or customs. Similarly, it may be best to have your bank informed about your trip. This to fend off any assumption of fraudulent activity, and avert having your card frozen. Some banks automatically block a credit/debit card if they suspect fraudulent activity.
Insurances and Itineraries
Make sure to include your health insurance, travel insurance, hotel contacts, itineraries and reservations as well as your transportation tickets in the organizer. All of these are important so that you can enjoy your stay efficiently and hassle-free. With the advent of technology, it is easier to evade inconvenience because you can easily produce a copy of your passport, driver’s license and itinerary online. Whatever happens, you can access them easily over the internet.
All things checked and I’m sure you’ll have lesser chance of difficulty in your first landing!
Money and Credit Cards
The reality about travelling to another place is that you will have to spend. Obviously, you must have the type of money they have before having to enjoy their products or services. Therefore it is best to research on the conversion beforehand. Do your math at home so that you can get a sense of how much you’re actually spending there. Without that information, you might just get caught off guard and splurge when you didn’t want to!
Check whether your credit card is accepted abroad. Make sure that your bank is aware that you’re going on a trip so that they can provide you some tips on how to spend your money efficiently as well as some locations where you can actually spend it. While banking has made it easier to purchase via different currencies, it is still best to secure local cash. Not every place in the country you’re visiting accepts credit cards, especially the ones that are involved in transportation such as buses and trains. What you can do is to locate an ATM or bank where you can do foreign exchange. This is a good thing to do because usually, conversion centers located in your proximity tend to have lower conversion rates. Banks give you precise conversions without the top up!
While everything seems to be working because of technology, travelling is one of the things that has been made easier by its transcendence. Almost everything now is on the internet, even the ones that you think aren’t there. That is why it is a no brainer that the use of electronic devices is prevalent more than ever. In your case, you should take note of the electronic devices that you need for communication and other variety of purposes. Number one on the checklist is your mobile phone.
Mobile phones have been continually reinvented to be more compact, sleek, and geared for whatever you may need. An assortment of mobile apps can be downloaded to help you with a plethora of things you need. You want directions? Waze and Google Maps can help you locate places. You want the best accommodation? You can get a complete list of hotels, hostels and apartments at booking.com or hotels.com.
While you’re at it, make sure you also bring your charger and power bank for emergency purposes. Bring an adapter so you’ll be able to charge in variable socket shapes. Activate your phone’s global capabilities. There’s usually a charge for doing this, but it is much less than the roaming charges you’ll get if you don’t. Check before you leave if the country you are visiting sells tourist phone cards which allows you to call and surf at a fraction of the cost.
You might also want to bring your camera to take snaps of your journey! We all have that photographer feels especially to new places we’ve gone. I suggest you put it in camera bag to keep it safe because cameras are usually fragile.
Stuff for Comfort
You are going to your first trip abroad, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, it is going to feel a little bit wearisome. To address this kind of feeling, what you can do is to bring some stuff that provides you a comfy feel. A travel pillow, blanket and eye mask can offer you nice rest on the way to your location. If you have space to spare, you can also bring a lovely book to read to kill some time. Magazines, travel guides and maps can also be packed in your luggage. These can help to make you feel occupied if you aren’t doing anything.
A Health Kit
Many people often skip packing a health kit, but it is actually one of the most helpful things you can have when you’re going on your first trip. Feeling a little nauseated? Did the plane ride upset your stomach somehow? A ready packed health kit would save you the agony.
It’s not too demanding too, it’s just a small bag with the most essential pills and medicine you might need. After all, nobody wants to suffer a grueling headache, fever, upset stomach or all three during a holiday. It might be easy enough to pick up a domestic remedy for your ailments at home, but medicines in the country you are visiting may be limited to prescription only. The same goes for allergy meds and asthma remedies – bring them on board!
Put in some paracetamol, ibuprofen, loperamide and other Over-the-Counter drugs that you think you need. Try putting in eye drops, sunscreen lotion, allergy meds and other personal prescriptions in your kit. You don’t know what might happen once you get there, so its better to be ready!
I know you don’t need constant reminder to bring your toiletries in your trips, but it is still imperative to be prompted about this just to be sure! Categorize your toiletries per its purpose. Put in toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwash and flosses together. Similarly, pack shampoos, conditioners, soaps, face wash, lotion in one place. This is to have a greater sense of what is needed, or perhaps what is lacking in your set.
If you still have room of extra toiletry items, you can opt to bring a handheld mirror, wipes and facial tissue, hair products and shaving kits, and perfume. Once you get all of that ready, I’m sure you’ll go out glowing wherever!
Clothes and Clothing Essentials!
You might wish to put in that eccentric jaguar printed overalls, but ask yourself, is it necessary? Consider that you are working with limited space in your trip. That is why it is best to pack great all-rounder attire and a classy evening outfit, but leave those outlandish statement pieces for a night out at home.
Pack clothes in groups: that means shirts with shirts, pants with pants -it’s easier to find what you need and unpack on the other side. Towels! Yet another pesky space-filler you need to think long and hard about whether you actually need. Check ahead of time to see if your holiday accommodation will be providing them and pack accordingly. Most hotels do, but very few (fortunately) don’t. Check out the weather and choose your clothes accordingly.
Always have one set of a change of clothes in your handcarry. Just in case your checked-in luggage is delayed, you have at least one change of clothes. Even if your insurance will cover delayed luggage, it is always good to have one extra change specially if you land late in the evening when all the shops are closed.
And as I mentioned earlier, we were all once newbies. You will eventually build your own packing list that suits you.
Enjoy your first trip abroad!