Going abroad can be nerve-wracking and frightening, but most of all worth it. It is important that you know how to prepare for travel abroad and do some research. Here’s some travel abroad information I wish I had known before leaving the US.
How To Prepare for Travel Abroad:
- It’s Okay to Travel Alone – and it’s GREAT
When I went to Costa Rica, I went with a group from my college so I don’t really count that as traveling solo. When I went to Thailand, I met up with a bunch of people that were from all over the US so I kind of count that. When I went to South Korea– that’s what I consider my first full-solo trip. I flew alone going to and from both Thailand and Korea. But once I got to Korea, I was living and traveling by myself; I loved it.
If South Korea taught me one thing it’s that I can be alone- and I love it. I went on solo trips across the country to Seoraksan National Park. I went to Busan to meet up with people from ITA who I had never met in person before. As corny as it sounds, I found myself. I have always been terrified of doing tasks or going places on my own. When I was in South Korea I had to do everything on my own.
Now since I am back in Massachusetts, I have checked some places off of my bucket list because I was able to go places with myself. I would have never done that before my journey to South Korea.
If you don’t feel confident going with yourself, then scope out Facebooks groups, Reddit, Instagram, etc. You can also download Tinder or Bumble and use the BFF option. You will find like-minded people that are in the same boat as you and you may even find your lifelong travel buddy! Obviously take precautions before meeting random people. But for me, Facebook has been a great way to meet people around the world!
2. It’s Okay to Not Be Prepared
As much as I want to be fully prepared and ready for my next adventure- you cannot be completely prepared.. But, is anyone actually ever fully prepared for anything?
When I went to South Korea, I was too prepared, or in other words, I overpacked. I’m not really sure if that’s being over prepared but it felt like it after wasting $1,000 to bring my huge suitcase there and back *sigh*
Even though you will want to be prepared, it’s also okay not to be. With Thailand, I was only planning on staying there for 6 weeks but ended up staying there for 10 months and I had very few of my belongings- it works out great!!
You can read all of the books and blogs about solo travel you want but when it comes down to it, you have to be the one that makes that decision.
So, here lies the lingering question of how to prepare for travel abroad?
You really can’t. You can’t be fully prepared- but that is okay!!!
Once you are traveling and seeing this magnificent world that we live in, some of the things that you couldn’t live without before won’t matter.
3. You Don’t Have to Live by “Society’s” Rules
This one is still hard for me to wrap my head around. Mainly because everyone around me has that 9-5 job, most are married or getting married and having kids. Some people are buying houses. And yet here I am….. just traveling.
Just traveling though? That is about as big of an accomplishment than the others that I’ve listed above.
Currently, at my summer job, I hear people telling me that what I’m doing is amazing and they wish they could’ve done it when they were younger. So, why didn’t they? When I decided that I wanted to travel I wanted to do it because working until you’re 65 and THEN traveling is just insane to me. I want to travel now and meet new people, teach more kids, learn more languages, and create unforgettable memories.
Back in 2016 when I graduated college, I’d google jobs one day and then travel abroad information the next. I just never really saw myself working that corporate life in the US. Maybe one day, but not anytime soon.
4. Educate Yourself
Be sure to do your research on your destination. I didn’t research much about Thailand before going and it turned out wonderfully. I didn’t research South Korea before I went and well, it turned out to be a completely different experience than my Thailand adventure. BUT I am thankful that I ended up going because I would have never learned some of the lessons that I was taught while being there.
Learning the language and culture will help you a ton. One thing I always like to do before traveling to a new country is learning the basics of the language. And by basics, I mean greetings, locations, words to use in an emergency, etc. I usually just download some videos off of YouTube. I also highly recommend using Duolingo or Memrise. They are both free unless you choose to upgrade. However, I have found that the free versions are just as useful.
If there is any travel abroad information that you can take from reading this: take that first step and travel abroad!
There are many others going through the same things that you are going through and can help. Make sure to reach out and connect with people. I recently joined a few different Facebook groups that have social events and people living in Mexico because that just could be my next destination. The people in the travel community are always so accepting and kind- you will find friends.
Sometimes it’s hard to go against everyone and everything else around you, but don’t stop chasing your dreams of traveling or teaching abroad just because it isn’t the norm. Do put your life on hold because life is just too short.