This past summer I had the opportunity to travel abroad with a study tour group to Switzerland. It was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot about the Swiss culture and agriculture. Some of the most valuable lessons I learned on this trip, however, were actually more about how to travel. Moving forward after college, there are many job opportunities that allow or require travel abroad, so it is important to know how to travel safely and efficiently. The following are a few key tips that I learned on my trip that could benefit anyone who is thinking of traveling abroad, whether that be for school or work.
You don’t need nearly as much stuff as you think you do!
Don’t be afraid to pack light. On this trip, we were told from the very beginning that we would only be allowed one carry-on luggage bag per person. This was a two-week trip, so at first, I was incredibly skeptical that I was going to be able to fit all of the necessities into one small carry-on. It took me several tries, and many items I would normally travel with didn’t make the cut. When I got to Switzerland though, I realized what a blessing it was to have just one small bag and I realized I didn’t need all that stuff anyway! Having a small bag allowed me to be more mobile, so if I wanted to go explore, I wasn’t burdened with a bunch of luggage. This way I was able to experience more.
2. Find an easy way to keep your documents on your person at all times.
When in another country, it is important to have all the necessary documents with you and easily accessible at all times. This seems like a really obvious point, but I found it was a little trickier that I had anticipated. When I was traveling, I had a lot of important papers and documents, like passport, train tickets, money etc. In order to keep all of this together, I found a special wallet that had a zipper so nothing could fall out. It also had a strap that I was able to hook to the inside of my backpack so I wouldn’t lose it and it was more difficult to steal.
3. Take the time to research the country you are traveling to before you go.
All cultures are different and when traveling to another country
it is important to be respectful of the customs of that country. Fortunately for me, I was required to take a class about Switzerland before we traveled there, so I already knew a bit about the culture. But there were many things that I found useful to research. For instance, is it customary to tip waitstaff in the country you will be traveling? In the United States it is customary to tip but in some countries it may be offensive.
In conclusion traveling can be an amazing experience and it isn’t as difficult or scary as it may seem! Whether traveling for work or for school, these tips can help take some of the stress out of the trip.