Many years ago when I was “younger” a friend decided, on a whim, to move away to London for school. Actually, the story involves quite a bit of spontaneity- he was in the counseling office for a class scheduling question, overheard another student talking about studying abroad, decided it was a good idea, and signed up when his name was called!
Fast forward to years later when he returns, I was full of questions, wanting to know every detail about traveling abroad. After
he had enough I learned enough, he thoughtfully said to me that there are really only 3 things you need to remember when you travel abroad. At this point, my inner teacher came out and I figured I should take notes, which you will find below.
While the advice was sound, it does require a bit of explanation. I have internalized all of this and in turn am making it my own (He won’t mind me sharing). It guides all the adventures I (we) have, and I think it should be shared with everyone, so without further ado.
Drumroll, please… The Best 3 Rules of Traveling!
Travel Rule Number 1:
A person without a passport is a person without a country
Obviously, we need a passport to even get through airport security gates, but this gem of advice is more than that. When you are walking the streets who knows where your driver's license is not enough. You need a globally recognized piece of identification. Depending on where I am going I try and keep it on me.
But, because there is always the fear of it getting stolen my clarification on this piece of advice is to make sure you have copies of your passport. Color copies I have learned is the best way to try and get it replaced by an embassy. I make 2 copies, one I leave with a friend or family member and I put one in my suitcase. Which I lock up in a safe when I leave. Another tip I have heard is that you should have an extra passport photo. You know when you go get your passport photo you get 2? Well, keep the other one with you so you can get a new passport should yours go missing.
Travel Rule Number 2:
Go anywhere you want, but always know where you came from
This one really isn’t meant to tug at your heartstrings about always keeping your home with you. It really means, know your hotel address. Explore, try and find where the locals are, but maybe after a beer or two and the sun goes down you may be a little hazy as to how to get back to that boutique hotel you booked in that obscure side street. Keep a business card from the hotel, take a picture of the address and maybe even the front. This way a taxi can get you back or maybe a friendly shop owner may be able to guide you back.
Travel Rule Number 3:
Invest in the local… currency, before you
Credit is good, but cash is ALWAYS better. Even if it is just a bit, having local currency will help as you try and grab a water, make a phone call or who knows what. Cold hard cash will always get you further. At home, I am the worst at this. I may have a dollar in change on my floorboards, but rarely ever anymore. My dad, since I could drive, said I should have money on me at all times. In response, I would say who doesn't take credit cards. Well sure enough, on a long road trip, I got lost. And sure enough, the only gas station for miles had a broken credit card machine. He was right. BTW, I was traveling, so I was following my rules and did have cash, so all was well.
So, now you know the best 3 rules of traveling and I am confident in saying Bon Voyage to you!
Do you know someone who you would like to share the rules with? Check out this post with directions and print outs for the rules and a DIY Bon Voyage envelope.