Traveling abroad is a great way to relax and get away, experience new cultures, food, and create memories that last a lifetime. Whether it is across the Pacific or just across the Channel, we want to do everything we can to maximise our trip. One of the easiest ways to do capitalise on your experience is to take a few measures before stepping foot out your front door.
Buy A Dictionary Or Phrasebook
Even if you are traveling to a country who speaks some English, a dictionary can be useful. Many travelers rely on a phrasebook, stumbling through the phonetic pronunciations to ask where the museum is, or how much something may cost, but very rarely does a phrasebook encompass the myriad of replies a native speaker may give. A dictionary, on the other hand, may be much more useful as more information, particularly very important information can be transferred in one or two words. Flipping through a dictionary for “allergy” and “shellfish” may be the difference between a memorable vacation and a dreadful one.
Learn Road Signs
Driving in other countries can be fun and exciting – on the wrong side of the road even! Every nation will employ different signs, for both autos and pedestrians, as well as different driving rules. For example: In NYC? Don’t turn right on a red light. You can get a ticket. However, the rest of New York allows a right on red. Learning a few of the driving signs will drastically reduce your stress while driving in other countries.
Furthermore, acquainting yourself with driving internationally can have economic benefits as well. International auto insurance can be very expensive for Britons simply because they are not familiar with the driving habits, rules, and signage of other nations. An accident abroad can really dampen your travel experience, and even if there are no injuries, may follow you back home.
Exchange Your Currency Ahead
Of course, traveling through most of Europe is no problem, but if you are planning to leave the continent, exchanging money for at least the first day or two of your trip is extremely important. In some countries, money exchange can be an extremely tedious process that can eat into literally hours of your day as banks attempt to verify your currency, require you to sign forms in triplicate, and hit you with high processing fees.
If you plan on using credit and debit cards, find out if the country you are visiting accepts cards regularly. As incredibly technologically advanced as Japan is, they disparage the use of credit cards for many purchases. Also look into any international transaction costs you might be charged. It might be more beneficial to withdraw a larger supply of money from the local ATM then incur repeated fees.