How You Can Become a Better Overseas Traveler

If you have been overseas once or twice, you may consider yourself an experienced world traveler. Turns out, the world is a big place. It changes so fast, that even if you return to a place you have visited before, the experience might be totally different. You can’t anticipate all of the challenges you will face on a given journey. That’s part of the fun. What you can do is practice good traveling techniques to give yourself the best possible success at every turn. Here are some of those.

Don’t Over-Rely on Technology. When you’re home, on your own predictable turf, by all means be a technophile. When you’re traveling in a foreign country, be a luddite. When technology fails you while staying in an international locale, things can go badly wrong. There’s nothing like standing in the middle of a marketplace, surrounded by 3,000 people who don’t speak your language, only to realize that your phone is dead and you don’t know how to get back to your hostel. Solve this problem by being prepared with paper maps, NobelCom phone cards, and even a physical magnetic compass. This way you’ll always be able to get around and get in touch with the people who matter most.

Don’t Stand Out. Your first day in Istanbul is not the time to put on a personal fashion show. Until you understand something of the culture, pace, and safety of your surroundings, it’s important to be inconspicuous. Tourists can make themselves targets for thieves and other people bent on exploitation. Wear old clothes without a lot of color, perhaps even ones that you buy in a local market or thrift shop. Don’t carry cash on your person, or keep it in your shoe. Get where you’re going quickly and efficiently. This is not to say that all international travel is dangerous. But when you give off the wrong signals, especially early in your trip, you make it easy to take advantage of you.

Talk to the Right People. One of the great rewards of traveling is meeting new friends. But not everybody knows how to go about this. Resources like the Couch Surfer Network are great ways to find interesting, like-minded people all around the world. Alone, you may have a good time and see some interesting things. With a local resident who wants to show you the great stuff in their city, you’ll have an amazing time. Find a way to meet people who will help you have the experience you want. Visit friends of friends. Find distant family. Go on a date. These methods will make your travel much more fun and eventful.

Experience is the best way to become a more skilled traveler, but you can save yourself some trouble by doing some of the hard work in advance. Read up on traveler forums based around the country you plan on visiting. You’ll pick up a lot of helpful hints, and maybe even meet some people who will be future friends.