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If you have never traveled overseas, you’re missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.
That said, choosing what to pack for your first trip abroad can be quite overwhelming.
However, It really doesn’t need to be.
In this article, we’ll let you in on all the most important things to pack along with you for a safe and enjoyable first trip abroad.
But first, we’ll explain exactly what “traveling abroad” means (for those unfamiliar with the term).
Deciding to take a trip abroad is one of the most important travel-related decisions you’ll ever make. For everyone, the reasons behind traveling to a foreign destination are different.
Whether it’s been on your bucket list for years to visit a specific place, a business trip, or otherwise, traveling abroad will definitely broaden your horizons.
Today, the world is growing more connected than ever, thus we are learning about “new” places all the time. Some of these destinations just seem so mysterious and exotic that we just have to see them for ourselves, thus traveling abroad becomes the obvious thing to do.
During your time traveling abroad, you’ll be sure to experience things you never even dreamed of. You’ll be exposed to drastically different cultures, meet new people, learn new customs, and try new foods, to say the very least.
From history lessons, and experiences shared with locals, to pictures of ancient architecture and souvenirs you can bring home with you, a trip abroad is the adventure of a lifetime.
Planning Your First Trip Abroad
While planning your first trip abroad there are several things to take into consideration.
Here are just a handful of aspects to keep in mind:
- Is the country I am planning to visit currently safe for tourists?
- Will I be able to easily communicate with locals?
- What do I want to see and experience on my trip?
- How much money should I take with me to spend?
- How long am I legally allowed to visit the country?
- What sort of public transportation systems are available?
- Will I be able to travel with my perscription medications?
The list of questions to ask yourself while planning a trip abroad varies from person to person. Being as informed as possible is the key to successfully preparing for such a trip. Keep in mind that it may be necessary to learn some basic phrases in the local language.
Make sure to organize your time ahead of time. There is no point to waste time just wandering around somewhere you traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to visit.
That said, there is nothing wrong with scheduling several blocks of free time during your trip. You may just find some attraction, or event, that you were unaware of while planning.
Packlist For Your First Trip Abroad
When you’ve made the final decision about visiting a destination abroad, It’s time for packing. Keep in mind as well that traveling to certain countries require vaccinations, valid passports, even a Visa with multiple stamp pages.
After double and triple checking if you meet the requirements for visiting your chosen destination, you’re ready to pack. Keep in mind that the less you pack, the more you can bring back.
It is also easier to travel with less stuff in general, especially if you’re traveling alone.
At any rate, here are some of the essentials that you’ll want to pack for your first trip abroad:
1. Photocopies of your national identification
One of the main things first time travelers abroad forget to do is making photocopies of their identification. Making at least two sets of copies will be a great asset in your travels.
Someone could steal your identification while you’re traveling. You could also lose them on your own. You do not want to get stuck in a foreign country with no proof of who you are or where you came from.
While traveling, keep a copy of all your identification in your backpack, or luggage. Keep a copy in your hotel and leave a copy with a friend or family member back home as well.
This is one of the most important things to pack while traveling abroad.
2. Personal medications (and a letter from your doctor)
If you rely on prescription medications, be sure to bring them with you.
Also, ask your doctor to write a letter explaining your medical issues, allergies, blood type, and a list of prescribed medications. In addition, make sure to take enough medicine with you to last the entire trip.
That said, medication can be lost or stolen, so don’t forget to get that letter from your doctor. You could also have an accident and require additional medicine or medical treatment.
For these reasons, it’s wise to consider purchasing traveling insurance as well.
3. Physical maps and GPS
Picking up a physical map and studying it before traveling to your destination helps a lot.
A GPS device is also a great aid as it contains a ton of information in addition to maps.
Having both makes sure you keep from getting lost. That way you can relax and focus on sightseeing.
4. Proper clothing and comfortable shoes
One of the most important aspects to traveling is to enjoy every step you take.
Your clothing and choice of shoes are a great factor in this aspect. Before traveling abroad, check the climate and weather conditions so you will pack proper clothes and shoes.
Comfortable shoes, or insertible soles, are one of the most important items on your packing list. No one wants sore feet keeping them from having a good time. Also, pay careful attention to the current forecast before catching your plane.
5. Foreign currency
Another thing to consider is the local currency. Some countries use multiple currencies, while others accept only one specific type of money. Make sure fully aware of which currency to bring with you.
Also, make sure that you know the current rate of exchange and just how much the local currency is in comparison to your national currency.
Take plenty of cash and avoid using ATMs. If you need more money while traveling, avoid airport money exchanges as well. Instead, use an official bank branch for exchanging money.
6. Universal power adapter for charging devices
Keeping your mobile devices charged is critical. Not only will you need to communicate, more than likely you’ll also need to use GPS and take photos.
To avoid running out of power, pack a portable charger and a universal power adapter.
You can pick one up a universal adapter for less than $20 at most department stores. Also, it won’t hurt to pack a spare charger or two.
7. Mobile device and camera
Speaking of power adapters and chargers, don’t forget to pack your favorite mobile devices for your trip. Before leaving your home country make sure that you activate global capabilities or you could get stuck with a huge bill. Roaming services aren’t cheap.
Another device you’ll not want to forget is your camera. While cellphones typically have decent cameras today, there is no substitute for a stand-alone camera. You’ll want to keep it handy, consider investing in a lanyard for carrying it around your neck as well.
8. Snacks (if allowed)
Far-flung destinations are exotic, and so is their food. Not knowing how you may react to certain types of food, be prepared with some snacks. Even, small packages can save your rumbling stomach.
Eating a safe and familiar snack while trying to find a place to eat something acceptable. After all, the point of traveling is to enjoy, so, no need to spend a single minute “hangry.”
That said, some places have laws against bringing certain foods into the country, so make sure to check in advance.
One of the most important things about traveling is that your hands are free. That said, a backpack is something you absolutely must take on your journey.
You can put everything in there that you will need while traveling; documents, medicines, snacks, mobile devices, chargers, wet towels, even extra clothes, and shoes.
Last but far from least, when you’re visiting a foreign country, keep your wits about you. Tourists are often targets of unsavory characters such as con-artists and thieves.
So, you don’t want to appear too much like a star-struck stranger. Act casual, be smart, and stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
Avoid wearing overly expensive clothing and flashing large amounts of money. In fact, never carry all of your spending money in one area. Keep some in your bag, some in your wallet, and maybe even some in your shoe.
A Few Reminders About Traveling Abroad
Once you’ve planned your trip, and packed your bags, you’re almost ready to head out.
However, there are a still a couple more things you’ll want to do.
For example, make sure that you leave an outline of your travel plans with a family member or close friend.
Include your flight times, hotel or hostel information, and any secondary destinations you’ll be visiting while overseas.
Do you know something important to pack on your first trip abroad that we didn’t mention in our list? If so, let us know in the comments section below.
Have fun packing and have a great trip!
Suggested Reading: HOW TO TRAVEL SMART AND SAFE (PLUS 17 INTERESTING TRAVEL FAQS)
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