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10 Tips For First Time Student Travelers

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Being able to travel to places that are completely foreign to you when you are young can be very exciting. I believe being brave enough to leave home in search of that one breathtaking experience ultimately shapes who you become and the decisions you make. I’ve come up with a few helpful hints that will go a long way in ensuring you have unbelievable experiences while still managing to be organized.

1. Visit A Country That Is Totally Different From Your Home
In order to get the most out of your experience try to get out of your comfort zone by traveling to a place where a majority of the locals don’t speak English or follow a religion that would not be considered “normal”. This gives you the opportunity learn how to independent and accepting of those with different cultures because you have no option but to live with them. Since most people don’t understand you, you’ll have a lot of time to be on your own and think of yourself your needs, goals, and dreams all seem possible when you have enough time to think of them and decide on whether you want to make them a reality.

2. Do Your Research
Google is your friend. Make sure you learn as much as possibly can in the short time you will have to plan your trip. What language do they speak, what is their capital city, best places to find affordable accommodation and of course all the tourist sites, these are all things that will make sure you have a stress-free experience. Try to find out what kind of weather you should expect during the season in which you are traveling, this will ultimately determine what you will pack and when you’ll want to book your flight. Learn some of their cultural practices and enjoy the experience.

3. Process All Travel Documents Early
You should ensure you have acquired your passport at least 60 days before your expected departure date. This will also give you enough time to research on whether your destination country requires you to have a visa for entry since some countries have tough immigration policies.

4. Get Travel Insurance
Insurance always provides a safety net for situations that may arise.They can be expensive, so make sure you shop around for the policy that best suits you and your pocket.

5. Make Copies Of All Important Documents
It is advised that travelers make copies of all essential documents such as your travel itinerary, passport, visa, and insurance information. It is even better if you can scan then save them on your cloud making it easier to access them from anywhere in case you lose the original documents.

6. Make A Budget
It is crucial that you make a budget of all the expected expenditures during your trip and more importantly you should make it a priority to stick to the budget. The usual expenses you are likely to include in your budget could be accommodation, food, transportation etc. You should also not fail to plan for how much you need for what you don’t expect will happen, for example you could meet a new group of friends and you’d like to be able to travel with them to other parts of the country.

7. Carry Different Currencies
There’s nothing worse than not being able to do anything because you don’t have enough of the local currency. Carry internationally recognized currencies like the dollar and euro, only change money at banks or authorized agents. It’s also not advisable to carry too much cash around so inform your bank you will be abroad so they may permit the use of your ATM card. Some banks also provide traveler’s cheques that can be used as a form of payment.

8. Pack Light
What you will take with you on your trip is just as important as where you will go.  The less you carry, the more space for souvenirs. Another tip is to carry a foldable duffle bag or an extra smaller suitcase to take overnight or two-day trips. Don’t forget to lock up your luggage.

9. Make Your Accommodation Arrangements In Advance
Especially if you are traveling alone, it is advisable to plan your trip such that you will be able to arrive during the day. It’s safer and easier to get into town during the day. I should also mention that if you intend to stay in a different place after your first day, book your accommodation for the first night before you arrive.

10. Embrace Local Traditions
Having an authentic experience is only possible if you actively try to live just like the most ordinary person from the community in which you are staying. Use, local means of transportation, you can try wearing their national dress if it’s common and try street food if you get sick take some medicine then try a different kind of street food. The point is to make sure you experience the unique culture just like how most people who live there do.

 

This article was written by a Merryl Omondi, a member of AIESEC University of Nairobi chapter.

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