5 Straightforward Tips for Americans Traveling Abroad
Updated: Sep 7
The prospect of traveling abroad for the first time can be quite a daunting one. It is true, we are not exactly known for international travel and recent studies even suggest that as little as one in four Americans have yet to visit iconic landmarks in their own cities.
But what does this mean?
Well, maybe it’s time to get out there and explore the world a little!
In case this might be your first time to travel abroad, here are some travel tips that will help you adapt on your very first international trip:
5 Tips for Americans Traveling Abroad
Research International Travel Destinations One of the main fears that people have with foreign travel comes down to safety and security. You see, we all want to experience something different but with this “difference” comes a degree of uncertainty and often a sense of trepidation. With this in mind, doing research on your destination can remove a lot of this uncertainty and help you feel less fearful of the journey. Tip: Download offline maps for your destination and have a general sense of awareness as to the main focal points. At the very least, check out the location of your accommodation and any nearby landmarks that you can visit on foot when you arrive. After all, taking a stroll is often the best way to ease you into a new destination and feel more comfortable about getting out there.
Plan Out an Itinerary When You Travel Abroad When I first started to travel, planning out a trip itinerary was the last thing on my mind. In other words, it felt like a much more exciting option to arrive and “see what happens”. However, this is one sure way to miss out on getting the most out of your trip. The truth is, without a travel itinerary, you will see much less and most likely end up with lots of wasted time. Tip: Plan out a travel itinerary with an outline of what attractions you want to see each day. Now, this does not need to have every last detail but a general outline is a great way to keep momentum and inject a real sense of adventure into the trip. Your travel advisor can help you build an itinerary if you ask.
Practicing Awareness and “Going with the Flow” Needless to say, the reason most people feel nervous traveling abroad is that the culture can be vastly different. For example, many Americans are used to western cuisine but when you visit India, Thailand or even Europe, you need to expect that the food is totally different. Similarly, you should know that local customs are not the same as America and respect must be paid whenever this is the case. As you know, these differences can relate to religion, dress, or politics. Even simple gestures might be offensive in some parts of the world. Tip: Avoid any embarrassing or unnecessary confrontations by reading up on local customs and traditions. Try not to question these differences and accept that your objective is not to change or influence what is happening in these places. In other words, practice a sense of awareness and go with the flow.
Staying Safe and Common Sense As a rule, you should not need to carry a great deal of cash around or even more than one bank card. In fact, it is best to split up your cards and cash so that you can store them in various “safe” places. Some travelers like to spread these items around their luggage but regardless the purpose is so that if anything goes missing, you still have a back up elsewhere. On the other hand, once you start exploring, try to at least look as though you know where you are going. Simply taking a “fake it till you make it” approach will save you from being an easy target for unsavory characters. Tip: Try to remember that there is good and bad in every destination and simple common sense should be enough to avoid problems with security when you travel.
Buying Travel Insurance Might Be Boring But… Okay, we all know that travel insurance is super boring. In fact, traveling without insurance happens all the time. But guess what? Accidents, delays, theft and unexpected incidents are also super common. You see, as a travel advisor, I get to see the dark side of travel experiences and it always comes in the shape of travel insurance. That is to say, there is nothing worse than when a client refuses to purchase travel insurance only to experience an accident on their trip. Tip: As you know, medical costs, accidental damage or personal injury are never something you expect. However, you buy travel insurance for the unexpected and this is absolutely something you should have when you travel abroad.
Needless to say, there’s so much more to keep in mind when you travel abroad and the above tips are merely pointers to help you feel more comfortable. Nonetheless, the only way of getting to grips with foreign travel is by getting out there so take a breath, get on with planning and don’t forget your travel insurance!
Disclaimer: Travel advisors cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. It is the responsibility of the traveler to know security risks and use their own judgement wherever they are traveling to. For a list of travel warnings, visit the U. S. Department of State.
Do you have any tips for Americans traveling abroad? If so, please share below in the comments section.