Traveling internationally is a life-changing experience. You will enter in contact with a different culture and feel what is like to see the world for what it truly is.
But to get the best out of this experience, you need to be familiar with some aspect of international travel that only experienced travelers know.
Here are some tips to help you out on your journey.
1. Beware Of Scams
Most people think scams only happen on rare occasions and with dumb tourists. The reality is that criminals are not dumb either, they evolve and figure out ways to make the scam look more realistic.
In some countries, for example, currency exchange registered businesses advertise 0% fees when in reality they charge as much as 42%, making you lose almost HALF of your money in the transaction.
Here is how Janek & Honza from Honest Prague Guide uncovered this type of scam in Prague.
2. Learn Language Basics
The truth is that English still scares locals a little bit. A good way to overcome this is to learn a couple of phrases in the local language, such as “Hello, how are you?”, “How much does this cost?”, “Thank you very much!”, and of course, counting from 0 to 10 at least.
Seeing that you are getting out of your comfort zone to learn their language will certainly make them put an effort into trying to speak in English with you.
After years living in Germany, I still get weird reactions when I ask “Do you speak English?” to people, especially in tiny villages near the Bavarian forest. I often do this as I am not yet fluent in their dialect: Boarisch. One resource that I often use is Easy Languages. Watching their videos, I get used to how the language or dialect sounds and practice some common phrases.
3. Study The Transport System
Seriously, in some countries, these things require studying. The local public transport system can contain many different types of trams and trains, as well as alternation between them to arrive at the desired destination. Apart from that, delays and train changes often happen unexpectedly, but there is usually an app available to check them out live.
Another thing is: Do not sleep inside the train if its final destination is not yours.
I might sound like a dumbo now, but I already woke up in the Czech Republic and France after sleeping inside the train which was taking me home from the Munich Train Station.
Sleeping inside the train will also make you lose the amazing sightseeing that the country-side has to offer. So make sure you stay up and enjoy the ride!
4. Visit Local Supermarkets
Although enjoying the local cuisine is a must, you do not have to eat every meal at a restaurant. That would make your budget take a large hit.
Local supermarkets will often have a variety of foods that are cheap and not very difficult to prepare, some even including vegetarian and vegan sections. To put it short, local supermarkets are Supergeil!
5. Do Not Use Public Wifi
I know that seeing a sign that says “free wifi” feels amazing, but the reality is that free usually comes at a hidden cost. There are a series of risks involved in using public networks. From Man-in-the-Middle attacks to Malware distribution, you are safer with your own internet provider.
Most people will think it takes an experienced hacker to do this sort of thing, but the reality is that there is ready-made software out there capable of doing this and ready to be used by anyone.
Do not risk it. When traveling abroad, get a local SIM card with an internet plan.
It is obvious that this list does not contain every single thing that you will experience in your trip. But it should give you a slight advantage. The important thing is to pay close attention to everything you do while, of course, avoiding being paranoid.
You will eventually make mistakes, but you will learn from them. And with time, you will surely become an experienced traveler! Make the best out of this journey.