For many travellers it is not the strange food, language barrier, or cultural differences that are the most daunting when embarking on a new adventure, it is the flight that it takes to get there. Having traveled with a few extremely nervous fliers (a friend of mine spent our 10 hour flight grabbing my arm every time the plane hit turbulence), I understand that this is a legitimate fear that sadly, prevents many from taking the trips that they long too.
I get a lot of questions from novice travelers who are setting out on their first international travels, and I thought that I would share the most asked, and most helpful, of the bunch!
1. Can I use my cellphone in a different country?
There are a few different options for cellphone use overseas.
First, some providers have an international plan that you can add on to your regular phone plan for the time you are away. This is often the most expensive of the options, but it will allow you to use your phone the same way you would at home with no disturbances.
In many countries, items sold by street vendors, in markets, or in small shops do not have set prices and customers are expected to bargain for their purchases.
Aggressive bartering can seem intimidating or even pointless to travelers, especially when what you are negotiating is often the equivalent of pennies in your native currency. Regardless, this cultural interaction is one that is unavoidable, and if you do it right, can be a lot of fun and will earn you respect from the locals.
So, you have decided where you want to go for your next adventure, your tickets are booked and you have bought a brand new shiny travel book ready to get you trip started.
Next step? Getting your travel vaccinations and immunizations sorted out.
Though you can head to your family doctor for a consultation, specialized travelers health clinics are your best source of information. Ideally you should visit a doctor six to eight weeks before you board the plane, but it is never too late to get a disease preventing shot in the arm.
You don't need months of spare time and huge amounts of money to see the world. Really, I promise!
I've been to 27 countries and 4 continents (and counting!), and TRUST ME, I am definitely NOT made of money or time.
There are lots of different ways to travel long term, or short term, while on a budget and still have unforgettable experiences. You don't need a trust fund to go to Europe and you don't need three months to enjoy an adventure in Cambodia — really!
It is inevitable (unless you have A LOT of willpower) that you are going to bring back souvenirs from your travels. But, you have to be careful not to let yourself get swindled or carried away.
Here are a few tips on how to find unique trip mementos and locally made gifts that will remind you of adventure every time you see them, rather than gather dust in the back of your closet.
My friends and I had spent five action-packed days in Rome and we had just arrived back at our hostel ready to pack up to head to Venice the next day. We hadn't pre-booked anything, but we knew that we were ready for a change of scenery.
We paused at the front desk on our way in, to let them know that we would be leaving in the morning (but really to flirt with the guy working the front counter) and noticed a poster on the wall behind the desk with "FREE CONCERT" printed on it in big, bold, black letters.
Having lived most of my life in a country where contraception and sexuality are not taboo topics, I forget sometimes that not all cultures are as comfortable with the subjects. I came face-to-face with this reality when I ran out of birth control pills while working in South Korea as an English Teacher.
My friend Kim who had found herself in a similar predicament only a few months earlier, and she told me that prescriptions were not needed to get the pill.
Other than a brief look of disapproval from the pharmacist when she requested it, the whole interaction seemed to go seamlessly — or so she thought.