For whatever reason that you qualified for an international program, congratulations are in order. Seeing a new country and experiencing foreign culture will most certainly help you grow as a person; it will open your eyes to a world of possibilities and you will never be the same again.
It’s all very exciting when it’s your first time because you just have that thirst to experience everything, but seasoned travelers claim that you better prepare yourself well — especially if you have the liberty to do what you want, when you want to do them. You’re likely to encounter a lot of issues that can make the trip hit south. To ensure that you’re in the right state of mind and health to really enjoy and get the most out of the program, here are some tips you should remember.
- If the international travel program has a packed itinerary, or you created one to see as many sights as you want, brace yourself for a lot of walking. Don’t bother bringing your new shoes; instead, pack your most comfortable footwear, socks, baby powder and liniment. If you really need fancy shoes, just buy a pair at your destination.
- Outwork jetlag — because nothing can ruin a trip abroad more than the feeling of extreme grogginess when you’re supposed to be taking in the sights. Pack ear plugs so you can sleep peacefully on the plane, and when you get off and it’s the morning, that’s the perfect time to down the espresso so your body can adjust to the time difference and you’ll have enough energy for all the activities of the day. The rule here is that you don’t sleep until the country you’re in does.
- If you want to have enough money for all the fun experiences to be had in your destination, find out where the locals eat. Ask the housekeeper of your accommodations or the guard and they’re likely to direct you toward places where food is good but wallet-friendly. When you save on food, you can check out more sights and even purchase more souvenirs.
- If you have free time, do what the locals do. In doing this, you’ll score a deeper and more authentic experience of the place, understand the culture and history, and even find hidden attractions. Befriend some locals and the friendship you strike with them will surely make your trip more meaningful.
- Try something completely out of character. When you’re in a place where most people don’t know who you truly are, that’s definitely the best time and place to break out of what’s normally expected of you. This deliberate effort will make your first international travel experience truly memorable.