Traveling can be a memorable and enriching experience, but it requires proper planning and preparation. While there are several travel gadgets and tools available to make your journey easier, there are some basic tips that can help you avoid common travel pitfalls. In this article, we present some disconnected tips for Americans traveling abroad, based on personal experiences.
1. Use Your Debit Card
Traveler’s cheques are outdated, and it is better to use a debit card for withdrawing money from ATMs. Most countries have ATMs where you can withdraw cash, and you can also use debit cards for most purchases. Though you have to pay a fee, it is comparable to the fee charged for traveler’s cheques. You can locate ATM machines online before traveling using sites like Plus and Cirrus.
2. Get Used to Local Currencies
If you are working in a particular country and earning their currency, try to get accustomed to its value without converting it to your native currency. Every country has its standard, and understanding it aids in comprehending the local mindset. If you are just visiting, ensure that you monitor your spending carefully to avoid losing track of expenses.
It can be challenging to keep track of expenses when the local currency is not equal to the dollar. To make it easier, create an easy formula for conversion and round up so that your estimate is always lower than the actual cost. For instance, you can assume that one unit of the local currency is equal to a penny in your native currency. Therefore, if something costs 5870 units, you can call it 3000 to 2 or $4.
3. Dress Well
As an American traveling overseas, it is essential to dress appropriately according to the country’s culture and customs. Americans often dress in casual outfits like shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers. However, such attire can be perceived as disrespectful by locals in some countries, especially when visiting certain places like churches, cathedrals, and restaurants. Therefore, it is advisable to dress appropriately, though not necessarily a suit and tie.
4. Rip Up Your Guides
Guidebooks can be bulky and challenging to carry around, and it may not be necessary to bring the entire book. You can select only the relevant parts that relate to the countries or cities you will visit and staple them together. If you finish reading a section, toss it away or give it to a traveler who needs it. It helps to reduce your luggage and prevent you from carrying too much weight.
5. Hand Out Calling Cards
You are likely to meet numerous people along the way, and you can stay in touch with them using calling cards. These are small-sized cards that contain your name, address, email address, and other relevant information that you may want to share. You can either have these cards printed, print them at home or opt for creative cards from services like Moo.
6. Learn 10 Phrases
Americans are often ridiculed for their lack of knowledge of foreign languages. While it is impossible to learn and master every language, you can learn a few pleasantries in the language spoken in the country you are visiting. It will help you connect with locals and show your appreciation for their culture. Essential phrases include hello, goodbye, thank you, please, my name is, do you speak English, where is the bathroom, where is the train station, and how much. You can also learn the numbers one to twenty.
7. The Amazing Disposable Underwear Trick
Carrying too many clothes can be cumbersome, and one way of keeping your luggage light is by packing your worst underwear. As you wear them out, dispose of them and make space for new ones. This way, you can dispose of old underwear while traveling without adding weight to your luggage.
Traveling can be a memorable and enlightening experience if you are well prepared. These tips are designed to help Americans traveling abroad avoid common pitfalls, connect with locals, and appreciate their cultural heritage. Remember to dress appropriately, carry only the essential guidebook sections, and use your debit card to withdraw cash. Also, don’t forget to carry a stack of calling cards and learn a few basic phrases in the local language. And if you need to lighten your luggage, use the amazing disposable underwear trick!