Author: Mary Miller
Global Travel Tips
I have traveled to over 30 countries in the past 10 years, which has involved various modes of transportation and accommodations. I have met thousands of people with different backgrounds, cultures and interests from myself. Whether for personal or professional purposes, all travel includes some basic “must haves” to ensure there are basic comforts and practical conveniences available wherever your travels may take you in the world. I hope my personal global travel tips are helpful to those new to global travel.
1. Create a “Go Bag”
As a woman, my “Go Bag” may have a few different items than the average guy. For me a must have is mascara, regardless of my environment or whether or not I have had the ability to take a shower. The contents of this bag are my most basic necessities to ensure I could get by most any 24-48 hour delays anywhere in the world. Other popular items for me which may be suggestions for your future travel include:
- Power Outlet Converter
- Extra phone cable
- Eye drops
- Tylenol or any other headache meds
- Tums or another antacid
- A comb or brush
- A copy of my passport
- 5 Twenty-dollar Bills
- A granola bar
- An extra pair of underwear 🙂
Over the years and miles logged, no one should ever underestimate the reality and importance of maintaing patience. Unless you are one of the lucky individuals with a private jet or other private mode of transportation where you dictate time, going with the flow and maintaining the ability to communicate with your destination is key. Part of the reality of international travel is the fact you are traveling to a different culture, different jurisdiction and different daily life than your own. Take time to listen, learn and love your new surroundings before jumping to a state of frustration.
3. A Working Phone
I learned several years ago and to my surprise, the US cell phone capabilities were different than the rest of the world. Understand whether or not your phone is unlocked, most phones now versus 5 years ago have SIM cards. Understand your international roaming charges. In fact, you could often find an unlocked phone on a popular consumer marketplace that you could easily charge for your arrival to your new destination and purchase a SIM card at your arrival airport or a more convenient location once you arrive. For most places in the world, using one of the twenty-dollar bills I mentioned above to get a SIM card will always provide you the luxury of staying in touch with loved ones or communicating when you need to most. The next time you upgrade your phone, think about keeping your phone for that rainy day when you may go to a new destination.
4. Learn How to Communicate
Having a working phone may not always provide you data capabilities on your phone, but there are a lot of wifi locations around the world. Obtain a translation app on your phone. I can’t tell you the number of times whether in Portugal, Turkey, the Dominican Republic or in China, I used an app to help me find a bathroom or a bottle of water or a taxi. Understand how to dial back home or to another country with a phone. Understand your the safety requirements of your destination – always know an exit which at times may require a working phone if you cannot speak the local language.
5. Love the World
The last of my global travel tips. Personally, I love food which allows me to “break bread” easily with other cultures. In fact, it was one of the easiest ways of meeting my husband’s family early on. My willingness to eat and join the sacred environment of sharing a meal immediately gave us an opportunity to interact with openness. Regardless of languages spoken, social customs or business objectives, food has been a basic necessity of human beings. Understand your basic senses which will in turn allow you to understand others – specifically why they are the way you see them or what is important to them which will allow you to cultivate a relationship. I have been fortunate that regardless of where I have traveled or lived, I have met wonderful people and because I have maintained an openness about life, people and the world, these wonderful people have in turn accepted me – a southern accent, average height, wife to a Gambian Dutch man and an international healthcare executive passionate about Medical Travel and Sustainable Healthcare.
If you have any global travel tips of your own, please share them!