Summer Travel Tips
Your college years are one of the only times in your life where you are encouraged to study, meet people, and expand your cultural horizons. You are only a few years away from giving up your summer breaks and minimal responsibilities. Traveling abroad is just one of those ways that you not only learn about the world, but create new friendships, and make some unforgettable memories.
The most important part about traveling, no matter where you are going, is to make a plan. Know where you are going and make a budget. Research exchange rates. Book as much as you can in advance, and stay on a schedule. Make sure your phone has a universal charger and that you have signed up for a plan that will work outside of the U.S. This is not only for budgeting, but for safety as well.
Think Outside Your Comfort Zone
While Americans are comfortable in hotels and on airplanes, people in other areas of the world travel differently, and in some cases cheaper. For example, trains in Europe are cheaper than booking a flight. Hostels are less expensive than hotels. And, in some cases, you may be able to stay with local families. Don’t be afraid to talk to the locals (that you trust). They can give you some language pointers and some good ideas on places to visit.
Chances are, you are going to be walking a lot, so make sure to bring good shoes. Beyond clothing, you need to pack for the unexpected. Earplugs can come in handy in noisy cities. And, no need for an expensive suitcase. A backpack will suit you just fine. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Research areas before you decide to visit or book a stay. There are hundreds of sites that will give you reviews of certain cities, or better yet, speak to someone that has visited before. Keep minimal cash on you, or hide it well. In many markets, haggling is expected, but you need to know what you are doing. Most importantly, don’t go anywhere with people you don’t trust or in areas that you aren’t familiar with. It may seem like an adventure, but the last thing you want is to be in trouble in a foreign country.
Respect the Culture
No matter where you go, you must remember that you are a guest and therefore need to respect their laws and customs. Research your destination and learn about their history. Find out what is acceptable and what may come across as insulting. Many of the things that you do at home can be considered disrespectful elsewhere.
Traveling is one of the best types of investments in life, and will truly be a learning experience. Our world is becoming more and more connected, and seeing it will only enhance your college experience, and better prepare you for life outside of the university. Why not use your summer break for some international adventures?