This is the last Wednesday Travel Post of the month. Here are 5 (1/2) tips for international travel I’ve learned over the last four months.
1. Before you go, scan your passport and email it to yourself and to a trusted family member or friend.
This way you will always have an accessible copy in case your passport is lost or stolen, and you won’t need to carry around photocopies with you.
2. Bring laundry detergent sheets with you.
This + a sink + water will clean a few articles of clothing in a pinch. (Laundry service is very affordable in many parts of the world, but sometimes you don’t want to wait a day for clean laundry.)
3. Learn how to say at least “hello” “thank you” and “no thanks” in the language of the country you’re in.
This goes a long way to endear you to the locals of the country you’re in. Even if you get the tone wrong (quite easy to do in countries like Vietnam or Taiwan, and can change the meaning dramatically based on your inflection), people appreciate you making an effort. And it usually causes a good-natured chuckle.
4. On public transportation like buses and metros, take note of how other people disembark before your stop.
Stop notifications range from pushing buttons to not pushing buttons to pulling doors to pushing doors to being at the right door. If you stay aware of how others do it, you have a good chance of not missing your stop and having to backtrack. (This has happened to me on far too many occasions.)
5. Google Maps.
If you have an Android, your GPS will work even if your WiFi doesn’t. This means you have 55% less chance of getting lost. I ‘favorite’ locations I’m headed to–like my hotel or a vegan restaurant–this helps me get my bearing and have a clear sense of where I am, and also helps in case tuk tuk or taxi drivers don’t know where to go–also keeps them honest about the route.
My advice is strictly for phones with Google maps; in my experience Apple’s iPhone map doesn’t work nearly as well.
5a. Google Maps–Screenshot.
Screenshot your planned route or hotel/flight reservations; this way, even if you can’t connect to your internet and get directions/access pertinent info, you’ll have a reserve of everything you may need.