Be Travel Abroad Ready In 9 Ways
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If you’re going to ask a millennial to choose between an expensive watch and an all-expenses paid European tour, you’d most probably get the latter as an answer. Recent studies have shown that millennials, or those born from the 1980s to 2000s, prefer experiences over items. They love to explore, travel and share newfound wonders in social media.
A study involving 31,000 young adults from 134 countries showed that 88% travel abroad one to three times per year. About a third travel alone. This trend is not lost among travel agencies, airline companies, hotel owners and other players in the tourism industry. Traveling has become easier, thanks to cheap travel packages, airline discounts, and the rise of hostels and couch-sharing.
International travels are not only confined to week-long vacations. The number of millennials signing up for study abroad programs is rising dramatically. According to UNESCO, more than 4.1 million students studied in colleges and universities abroad in 2013. This is a huge jump from 2 million international students in 2000.
Regardless of your purpose in booking an international flight, make sure you are travel abroad-ready. Know the essentials in getting ready to travel to avoid unnecessary expenses, injury and other faux pas that can turn you into an Internet sensation for the wrong reasons.
Know your purpose
Are you enrolling for a four-year course or aiming for an enriching cultural immersion? Knowing the main goal of your journey will help you make the proper preparations. If you’re bound for an internship abroad, you’d need to closely coordinate with your school and the people in the job placement agency. It can also help to interview program alumni for advice.
If you’re traveling to experience new cultures, you must be aware of one thing many young travelers neglect: safety. You may want to reconsider your plans of visiting a state where your country has no diplomatic mission. This will help ensure your safety in your destination country.
Regardless of the state of your health, you need to get yourself vaccinated before flying. There are diseases that are rare in your home but prevalent in some countries. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 20 million people get measles each year, especially in the Southeast Asian region. Some of the common travel vaccines are those against measles, typhoid fever, yellow fever and malaria.
Be adequately covered
Medical expenses can drain you of your resources wherever in the world you may be. Generally, foreigners traveling to study abroad are required to purchase a health insurance plan. You should ask your school whether you need to buy your own coverage or if they offer a student plan at discounted rates.
Most universal health care only provides free ambulatory care to non-citizens so it’s important to get your own plan. Get one that has emergency evacuation and repatriation features.
Know disease prevention tactics
Be a smart traveler. Don’t ruin your stay abroad with a trip to the hospital. Your journey will definitely involve a lot of culinary adventures but be careful of what you eat and drink. Avoid non-pasteurized dairy products and prefer fully cooked food served hot.
Always bring an alcohol-based sanitizer and insect repellants. If you’re visiting regions with high dengue and malaria rates, take extra caution by sleeping in air-conditioned rooms or under a bed net.
Research on laws and customs in your host country
One of the things you should ask yourself before studying abroad is your readiness to be exposed to a foreign culture. Your extended stay can be overwhelming if you don’t equip yourself with the right knowledge, mindset and attitude. This cultural exposure is one of the main reasons people travel.
There had been stories about Western students getting into trouble with law enforcements for not observing local laws and practices. You should know that Muslim countries in the Gulf strictly impose modest clothing. Remember that you’re merely a visitor expected to “do as the Romans do.”
Keep abreast of current events
You have been planning to volunteer in Ankara or go on a mountain-trekking adventure in Myanmar, but are the present events in these territories safe for travelers. Knowing the history, culture and practices of your destination country is not enough. You should know the current state of affairs and whether it is advisable to travel there. Contact your local embassy for updated guidelines.
Prepare a “buffer” fund
Emergency happens. It may be due to sickness or overspending. If you should follow one tip before you travel, that is being prepared for anything. Have a buffer fund that you can use in case you fall ill and hospital bills are not covered by your insurance, and splurges beyond your budget. It is advisable to set up an international credit card account for these emergencies.
Don’t get yourself into trouble
You may have heard of travelers detained in several countries abroad for various reasons—ignorance of local customs to willful disobedience of laws. There is a thin line between curiosity and downright stupidity. Heed warnings from your government about areas to avoid abroad.
The Topdeck Travel survey revealed that 30% of millennials travel alone. A growing number of these solo travelers are females. While it is enriching to explore the world on your own, you should prioritize your safety first. Women are advised to carry a rubber doorstop for their rooms and a safety whistle.
Get in touch with your local embassy
Your local embassy is not a place you contact ONLY when you get into trouble. It is there to ensure the safety of its citizens in a foreign territory. If you’re staying abroad for a week or more, visit your local embassy and register your details. This is important in seeking help during emergencies and natural disasters. You can also seek information on travel advisories, required vaccines and other safety tips.
Whether you are touring abroad for a few days or enrolling in a foreign school, know and heed these tips to ensure a worry-free journey. Have an open-mind, know your place as a visitor, prepare for the worst-case scenarios, and stay out of trouble. Be a smart traveler.