6 Things You Might Not Have Thought About for That Overseas Adventure
If you’re leaving the country—hooray! for you—there are a few things you might not have thought about for getting ready. Luckily for you, we did think of a few.
Your Papers Please
Sure everyone knows you need a passport to travel just about anywhere these days, but did you realize there is a much more valuable reason for having one? That’s right, collecting all those stamps from different countries so you can brag to all your friends is priceless. Seriously though, it’s a good idea to make copies of everyone’s passport and keep them in a separate spot from the real thing. If you do lose the real one, the copy won’t quite get you home, but it will help. Write down the number of the U.S. embassy or consulate of where you are going, just in case you need a replacement or any other problems pop up.
Shots All Around
No, we’re not talking about the pre-flight party at the airport bar—though we like the way you think. Does the country you’re visiting have Dengue Fever? If it’s Saturday Night fever you’re in for a good time. Dengue? Not so much. How about Malaria? Check here at The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for info on any and all shots that may be required or suggested for your destination. Your doctor can usually apply these in his office, but you may want to plan ahead as some take time to acquire and others may have short-term side affects you don’t really want to deal with on your trip.
For Americans traveling abroad, our Government issues warnings for travel anywhere in the world and updates it daily. Click here at The U.S. State Department for warnings, suggestions and updates on anywhere you may be headed. They don’t get as specific as what bars or nightclubs to avoid, you’ll have to find that out on your own, but though some cities may be safe, certain neighborhoods are known for trouble and should be avoided.
I hate to break this to you, but not only do some of them talk funny and drive on the wrong side of the road, but European countries have different power outlets as well. In Mexico and the Caribbean there is no problem, but if you’re traveling to almost anywhere overseas, you’ll need adapters and convertors for your power needs. If you try to plug that curling iron or charger in to a socket in France you may get lit up worse. You can buy adapters and converter kits that are small and come with at least 3 plugs that will work most anywhere.
You also need to check you phone service provider for coverage and charges; I’m telling you, things are different overseas.
Right on the Tip of My Tongue
Here’s an old joke: If you call someone who speaks two languages Bi-Lingual and someone who speaks three languages Tri-Lingual, what do you call someone who speaks only one language? That’s right: an American. We are not known for our linguistic abilities but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. There are books for dummies on Italian, French, Spanish and what have you at any book store. There are apps now for your phone which help as well. Give it a try, speak the language and even if you butcher it—which we all know you probably will—the locals will appreciate the attempt.
Get Your Mind Right
You’re going to a foreign land, so things will be different. Get your brain ready right now for stuff to not be like you are used to. Read up on the local customs, cuisines, and sights. Try to immerse yourself into the local country instead of just being a tourist in cargo shorts in search of a McDonalds. Learn a few words of the language: “Hello”, “thank you”, and “please” are a good start. Find out what food is popular and try some while you’re there. Be ready to explore and experience something new and challenging.
Michael is a full-time musician and freelance writer residing in Morrison, Colorado. He enjoys downhill skiing, traveling and attempting to play golf. He excels in the sport of extreme napping so if you must call, make it afternoon.