8 Tips for Your First Trip Abroad

“To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Andersen

For many, traveling is one of the most memorable, enjoyable and educational experiences in their lifetime. As you plan your first trip abroad, however, you might not know where to start. Here are a few tips that beginners and even experts will benefit from!


Tip #1: Make Copies of Your Passport

I can’t stress this one enough. Make copies of your passport (and other important documents, like visas). Seriously, like 3. Leave one at home with someone your trust and pack the other two in different spots throughout your luggage, away from the originals. You should even email a copy to yourself.

You can even add a copy to a secure, online portal if you have one.  Our clients do.

Clients of Ambassador Wealth Management who access their personal MyWealth portal can enjoy this extra level of security.  Your personal online portal has secure storage capabilities that are accessible anywhere in the world from a computer.

Few worse things can happen than being stuck abroad without your passport.


Tip #2: Don’t Forget a Power Adapter

We all need cords to charge our phones, watches, and even toothbrushes. Don’t forget that these charges only work in the United States.

Many countries, even ones on the same continent, use their own type of power outlet. For example, Italy uses round-pronged plugs while the UK uses triangular ones. Be sure to research which adapter you will need for the country(s) you are visiting.


Tip #3: Notify Your Credit Card Company  

Let your credit card company know you are leaving the country, where you are going, and how long you plan to be gone. Otherwise, your cards might be declined when you try to use them.

Also, check for foreign fees. Cards that charge these fees can cost upwards of 3% per international transaction. That adds up quick.

You don’t want to be stuck with no spending money or huge fees you didn’t budget for.


Tip #4: Bring the Right Shoes

Sore feet and blisters can ruin your trip overseas (or anywhere, let’s be honest) very quickly. It’s okay to bring your fancy shoes for special dinners, but make sure you pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Also, consider the climate you will be in. You don’t want sandals for cold and rainy weather, but you might prefer them for warmer temperatures.


Tip #5: Check with Your Phone Carrier  

You should find out if your wireless carrier works where you’re going. Learn what’s included in your current plan and what fees you could be charged.

If your carrier is unavailable where you’re going, apps like WhatsApp make it easy to send messages and make calls from Wi-Fi for free. You could also buy a pre-paid phone or purchase a local sim card if your phone is unlocked.


Tip #6: Learn Your Destinations’ Cultural Laws

Each culture has its own social standards for public conduct. Spend some time reading up on the social laws where you are traveling.

Certain parts of Asia have modesty requirements. You should be cautious of PDA (“Public Displays of Affection”) in the Middle East. If you are looking for it, these social cues are easy to pick up on just by watching the locals.

Remember, you are visiting their culture. Be as respectful as you can.


Tip #7: Plan for Jet Lag

It’s smart to tweak your habits about a week before you travel. For example, if you are traveling east, go to bed a little earlier each night leading up to your trip. If you are headed west, try to push your meals out a little later than normal. And so on…

It can take your body some time to adjust to a new time zone, so start early and your trip will be way more enjoyable!


Tip #8: Don’t Panic

Things are going to go wrong, but that doesn’t mean your trip is ruined. Keep a level head and enjoy each experience, good and bad.  Remember, you are building memories and learning new things!


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