I lost the number of countries visited in my last ten years. Always going abroad for work reasons. It was (it continues to be) an amazing experience that allowed me to learn a lot. Especially how to travel. That’s why I propose to you my “The Dummies’ Guide to Travel“. It is a simple list of things that you should keep in mind when you travel around the world.
Since I was moving for business, I was more close to a luxury traveler than to a backpacker, but some rules are valid for all. The tips included in “The Dummies’ Guide to Travel” are useful especially if you are going on an international trip for the first time. You will be ready to face the main situations you can find around the world. Good, let’s start.
1. Easy trip for the first time
As the first advice of “The Dummies’ Guide to Travel”, I feel to say: choose an easy destination for your first international journey. Why? Because not all the countries offer good conditions. It’s fine to go out from your comfort zone, but do not exaggerate. Especially if you don’t have experience as a traveler. Don’t go climbing Everest if you can have a tour in Bali. What does it mean?
Simply that the cultural impact, the absence of transportation and maybe the huge distances without villages, services, and facilities will be too much. When you go abroad for the first time go step by step, because it is a travel, but also a life lesson. If it will be too hard, you will go back and you will definitely close the suitcase in the wardrobe. Don’t search for troubles. The hardest trip will come when you will have more experience.
2. Buy a local SIM
Around EU countries roaming doesn’t exist anymore, but not for all the world is the same. If you want to be connected with relatives and friends and use the internet, you have to purchase a local SIM card. I include this tip in “The Dummies’ Guide to Travel” because the use of the mobile is important, but it can cost really a lot. Especially if you are online.
The local SIM card will allow you to have cheap rates for high-speed data. It doesn’t matter the country where you go, it works like that everywhere. I suggest you do not consider the travel data plans offered by the international companies. They are not convenient at all, so you risk to spend more to have less. It doesn’t make sense. Then if you know some locals ask what is the best phone company in the place. If you don’t have friends there, compare the offers.
3. Choose carefully the suitcase
It looks like a stupid tip and obvious at the same time. Nothing more wrong, believe me. Why? Because who is writing is a traveler with experience and with a lot of mistakes done. This is not the reason, but let me explain it better. What luggage is the proper one? It depends on what type of traveler you are. If you move through airports and cars a trolley is good, but if you like adventure and you will use public transport. Also, if you will go around the country, you will be better with a backpack. Not too big.
The Dummies’ Guide to Travel says that you need a small bag for your flight, as hand luggage. To put toiletries, a shirt, a pair of trousers and all that you need in case the suitcase will be lost. It can happen, just be prepared. Then I also suggest you buy a smaller bag than you think you might need. Why? Travel light, it will be easier to move and to change often and quickly the main of transport and the hotel or the hostel. A big suitcase is always encumbrance. Except you have someone who takes care of it for you during all journey…
4. Pack light
This advice is connected with the previous one. I know, when you prepare the suitcase for the first time you think that you will need a lot of stuff. No, trust me. You will just take with you something that you will never use. And it is unuseful weight. Don’t listen to advertisements when you have to pack. Never. They built their marketing on what you “might need”.
The Dummies’ Guide to Travel suggests you stay under the weight required by the airline company. In case you fly. Why? Because you will have space for some souvenirs on the way back. During your trip you can do laundry, so you don’t have to carry too many clothes. Have your devices with you, but don’t exceed 15 kilos. You will be grateful for traveling.
5. Select the electronic equipment
What you really need for your trip? I know you are a social person, so you have to share each moment of your journey. A mobile and a cheap travel laptop should be enough. You can add a USB battery pack and headphones, to cancel the noise around you. This is really what you have to put in your suitcase. Keep in mind that mine is only a suggestion, but traveling light is a good option.
Because you move easily, you don’t have to carry too much, with the risk to lose something. The Dummies’ Guide to Travel is made to give you help to face your first trip and it comes from experience. A couple of times I had to pay more for the luggage weight and once I was at the gate to unpack for the strict airline policies, risking to lose the plane.
6. Do a backup
While traveling everything can happen to you. Like for example to forget your camera somewhere. It will be lost and with it also the pictures. Imagine if you should use those pictures for work or just to share them and grow your online profiles. A Cloud backup doesn’t cost that much but it will save you and your activities. Do it every day or step by step. This is up to you, according to your needs, but it will help you a lot. This is an important tip of the Dummies’ Guide to Travel.
7. Download the useful Apps
Are you tech-addicted? I think yes, as I am. A bit at least. Well, if so get benefit from the applications. Download them on your device Google Translate for some help in understanding some local word or sentence. It works also without a WiFi connection, but you have to be sure to download the proper languages when you are online. Meanwhile, Google Maps will indicate the directions.
Don’t be scared to get lost, sometimes is great to discover something nice and unexpected. It gives you the chance to explore the place. Then you will need, according to the Dummies’ Guide to Travel Skype or Messenger to get in touch with friends and relatives at home. They are a cheap way to communicate. You can talk, write and see each other. To be connected with them will be a support for your mental health. Especially if your journey is long. Don’t forget an app for currency conversion.
Then Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will be already on your device. So you can share each thought and picture of your trip. If you have a blog you have a proper app to update it with posts on your news. Oh, if you are in a “popular” place maybe there are some free travel guide to download on your smartphone. Check it, maybe you might need them and they are not too heavy.
8. Be open with the accommodation
According to your budget, you have to choose the place where to stay. You will only sleep there, be opened. It won’t be forever. This means that there aren’t only luxury hotels in the world. Hostels can be lovely and there you can meet new people. Those places are perfect if you want to make new friends. There are also luxury hostels if you can spend a bit more.
Check the reviews to choose, but read them carefully. I suggest you use Hostelworld and Hostelz. If you are not convinced about hostels, the Dummies’ Guide to Travel tips drives you to apartments. On Airbnb, you find also room or shared houses for every budget. It is the first step to live there like a local. Don’t you think so? You will be glad in both cases.
Oh, let me give you another advice. If you are going to a hotel choose a boutique hotel than a big chain. High-quality united to a friendly staff and to a unique setting. The huge structures are not giving tailor-made services and they are equal in all the world. I feel like a pack in the big chain hotels.
9. Phone security
Your mobile is like a treasure, not only for its value but also and especially for the content. Inside you should have a copy of your documents, in case you lose them (my personal tip). Then there are pictures, addresses, phone numbers, names…all your life is there. So lock it. Be sure to protect the device and yourself as well.
This is not because of dangerous countries, but because everywhere something bad can happen. I suggest you use numbers and biometrics to lock your phone. The geometry code let a smudged screen and someone can enter in the system without problems. Pay attention to this tip of the Dummies’ Guide to Travel.
10. Thieves are everywhere
I know you are preparing for your first international trip. You are at the same time excited and scared. The last tip of the Dummies’ Guide to Travel concern your safety. It is not a matter of country, but in all the places there is a dark side. Don’t worry, you are not in danger. Just take care of the details to be safe. For example, check that your phone and wallet are inside the pockets and they are not visible. Don’t leave bags around, be sure that your backpack is closed. Don’t show jewels or an important watch. This can be a temptation for thieves. I suggest you caution in each stage of your trip.
The Dummies’ Guide to Travel: the very last tip
Relax! Yes, you have read very well. Traveling you will meet people, new cultures and you will see amazing places. Be opened and be relaxed. Since the beginning, also before you leave. If you forget something, you can buy it there. You will come back richer in your mind, in your heart, and in your soul. That is the beauty of travel.
If you want more tips about traveling, check out my guides.