Does the thought of traveling make you nervous? What will happen if you fall ill on your holiday? What happens if you are immersed in a culture that you know nothing about? Sometimes the stress of taking a vacation can have people foregoing their plans altogether. If you have neglected to give yourself some time away, simply because of nerves, here are five tips to help you travel with confidence:
1. Study the Culture
If you will be traveling abroad, be sure to study up on the culture of the country you will be visiting. As an American, you are used to friendly greetings, hugs and personal contact; people in other countries may not be quite as friendly. This is just one example of how our culture may differ from others.
Visit Amazon.com and look for a “Dummies” book on the country you will be traveling to. These books give great insight into how to act, how not to act, what to eat, what to say and the like. It will serve you well to know what is expected of tourists when visiting a foreign country.
2. Know the Laws
Just as you should know the culture of the country you are visiting, you should know the laws that are in place, and enforced, in that country. We have many freedoms here in the United States that we take for granted. For instance, in Thailand, it is illegal, and punishable, to deface money with the ruler’s image emblazoned on the front. In India, homosexuality is illegal and can net offenders a steep prison sentence. It can be very easy to break laws in foreign countries without the intention to do so.
3. Learn Choice Phrases
If you are traveling to a foreign country, learn a few choice phrases that will serve you well. Phrases like “good morning”, “thank you”, “yes, please” and “I need help” are all great and incredibly useful phrases. Don’t worry about your American accent; people will be pleased that you’ve even bothered!
If you’re staying in the states, find out what phrases are used in the region you’ll be traveling to. For instance, in some areas of the country, soda is called “pop”, “Coke” or “soda”. Knowing what things are called in the region you will be visiting will save you from giggles and stares directed your way.
4. Take Care of Your Health
Falling ill on vacation is no fun for you, or anyone in your traveling party. It’s important to get your ducks in a row, when it comes to your health, before you leave home. If you have an allergy to bee stings, carry an epi-pen or two with you. If you require a prescription medication, ask your doctor for a two week supply in addition to what you already have. If you are diabetic or epileptic, be sure to wear a medical alert bracelet or charm.
By taking the proper precautions before you travel, you’ll be better prepared for any medical emergencies that arise. Before you travel, make note of any clinics or hospitals in the city you will be visiting. Also be sure to find out the emergency number common to that area and save it in your cell phone.
5. Give Away Your Itinerary
Give a copy of your itinerary to a few choice friends and family at home. Knowing where you are, in general, will allow your contacts to help you should you call home for assistance. If your friends and family don’t hear from you, they will also have an idea of your last location.
Traveling doesn’t have to be stressful. Follow these five tips and you’re sure to become a more confident, courteous traveler. If you are still a bit gun shy, get on the internet and search out other travel etiquette and travel safety tips. The more you learn, the more relaxed you’ll be. Now get out there and have fun!
Megan Hoffsted is a freelance travel writer and health blogger. She often writes for futoncoversforless.com a site where you can find great deals on futon covers for less. She also frequently writes for rival-crock-pot.com where you can find rival crock pot lids and other pot parts.