Kayla Maneen, one of our teachers in a homestay in Italy, has come up with the following list of some noteworthy tips to keep in mind before and during your travels abroad:
1.) Prepare yourself mentally for the change. Often, people get so excited to travel that they rush into it, guns blazing, and don’t take the time to really get used to the idea of living in a foreign country. Along with doing the research of what your country’s customs, people, and culture will be like, pause to think about what impact those things will have on you. If it’s common in their culture to eat rice every day, are you ready for that? If you’re going to live in a city, are you prepared for the constant noise? Just giving yourself a little time to think will do wonders on your sanity and culture shock when you’re adjusting to your new home.
2.) Prepare for downtime. Travel is full of long, quiet pauses where you have nothing to do (riding in trains, waiting in line). You’ll definitely become better acquainted with yourself. But, if you want to fend off some boredom, pack books, eBooks, a journal, and any work or studying that you need to do. These things will become your best friends on the road. Or, if not quite that, your very much appreciated close companions.
3.) Take Vitamin C before and after your flight. I noticed that I got a cold each time I took a long journey, such as going from one country to another. The stuffy cabin air and other sick passengers are a breeding ground for viruses! I took Emergen-C packets, as well as drank immune system-boosting echinacea tea on my last cross-country flight, and I didn’t get sick! Supplements for the win.
4.) In that line of thought, know that you probably are going to get sick at some point, and take measures to prepare for this. It’s a good idea to bring some DayQuil and Ibuprofen pills for when that day strikes. Trust me, you don’t want to be in the middle of sightseeing on a family vacation and get struck with a migraine that you have no medicine for (it’s almost as if I’m speaking from experience!). Most of the countries you’ll be in will have modern medicine and hospitals, but just to save yourself some hassles and headaches (especially the headaches), come with some provisions.
5.) Exchange your money in the airport when you arrive. It’s much easier to just get your euros (or pounds, or Australian dollars) from an ATM, rather than bothering with going to a bank and exchanging your money beforehand. You’ll get a better exchange rate doing this, too.