Things to Keep in Mind When Traveling Abroad

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Traveling to a different country is an experience that cannot be described aptly in words. It is exposure at its best. You get to meet new people, learn about their culture and understand their traditions. You could go for a week long vacation or a year long trip for educational reasons. In either case, traveling abroad opens up several avenues. However, there are certain rules you should follow when traveling abroad so as to make the most of your experience.

Photo credit: Vanessa Chettleburgh

1. Familiarize yourself with the local laws:

When you enter a different country, the laws change dramatically. Things that are permitted by law in your country may not be the same in other countries. It is important that you try to familiarize yourself with these laws before entering a foreign land. This is crucial for your own safety.

2. Understand and respect the culture:

This is a very important aspect that many people overlook when traveling to foreign countries. It is possible that the new culture that you are introduced to may strike you as odd and unusual but it is only a matter of time. You may find the culture change a tad stressful but once you get used to it, things will be back to normal again. This is especially when you decide to go abroad for education purposes. When going on a vacation, try to pack clothes that are appropriate for the culture of that place.

3. Try to learn their native tongue on a basic level:

When you go to new place, there is every possibility that you may face language barriers. There are books available at bookstores that have the basic phrases translated into a foreign language, and even many smartphone apps as well. These books and apps can you help you immensely if you lose your way. You can also use them in markets and other places to interact with the locals.

4. Keep extra photocopies of important documents:

Important documents like passport and visa are very crucial. It is therefore, essential that you keep them safely. It is also advisable to get multiple photocopies of these documents. Keep a few with someone at home and carry a few with you in case your originals get lost or stolen. Another good tip to keep in mind is to always have online travel insurance to safeguard you from any unforeseen event that takes place during your trip to a foreign locale.

5. Pack the right medicines:

When you travel abroad, their culinary culture may not appeal to you and your digestive system. You do not want to spend the rest of your vacation lying sick in bed. It is, therefore, advisable to carry medicines that you may require. It is also important that you take important vaccinations if you are prone to suffer from an illness.

6. Look after your belongings:

Always keep your belongings safely with you. Always have a firm grasp on your expensive belongings like mobile phones and expensive Digital SLR cameras.

7. Learn to strike a balance:

Although it is important that you soak in the culture of the foreign land, it is also important to stay true to your roots. Keeping touch with family members, friends and loved ones is essential. The best way to do this is by either sending postcards or documenting your experience in a blog.

Lily Ray is a freelance writer who also works with RSA, a well known insurance company. She writes on a plethora of topics, travel being her favourite.


  1. Ciara

    June 19, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Great tips, I also read a good one to take spare passport photos with you. If you are travelling in a remote area and lose your passport or identity docs, a photo-booth tends not to be as accessible as you may have first thought.

  2. Kamal Kumar

    July 16, 2013 at 8:27 am

    When I was In the US I was told by a local that Americans like to secretly check out the bathroom cabinets when they visit someone at home, wow who really des that and why would someone do such a thing. I don't know if that's just a dumb prejudice or if there's any truth to it. Don't ever do that in Germany, we value our privacy immensely. Never open a cupboard or a drawer in some ones home without prior permission. But you are allowed to have a drink in public, smoke up, etc. You can look for a nice place in a park and have a beer or walk through a city with a beer in your hand. No brown paperbags!

  3. Charlie

    July 26, 2013 at 5:34 am

    I actually thought this was going to be full of fluff advice, but these are some really good common sense tips.

    See I am a chain smoker and hence cannot stop smoking. While I was travelling to India I realised that they had a law which did not allow a person to smoke in public and hence I could not smoke for the most of my stay unless I was in a smoking designated area. Also when I was travelling to UAE I was asked to not eat anything in the afternoons if outdoors Ramadan as if caught you would be fined or even jailed as it is against their culture to consume food and water during this period of 1 month approx.

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