Have you ever traveled on your own? It is scary yet exciting and you're definitely in for an adventure. Whether you are staying in hotels or five-star resorts, you're bound to learn a lot about yourself while spending quality time alone.
There are the obvious things to worry about like guarding your belongings from pick-pocketers, carrying a map in case you get lost, and knowing key phrases of the local language so you can ask for help. But here are some things you may not have thought of:
1. Get Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is the safety net that catches you when things go wrong. It covers medical expenses, such as visitor health insurance. If you miss a flight due to weather, airlines don't normally provide hotel accommodations so you could use travel insurance to book your stay. It can also be used to replace lost, stolen, or damaged luggage, so if travel documents and clothes get lost you're not out of luck.
Of course, insurance protects you financially as well. You won't lose all of the money you spent if you need to cancel a trip after you've confirmed and paid. Covered cancellation reasons include unexpectedly losing your job, being summoned for jury duty or to testify in a case, or falling ill/getting injured.
When shopping around for travel insurance, I would suggest Travelex Insurance Services. This company has placed on several "best travel insurance" lists around the web. You can get a quote in a matter of seconds and customize your coverage plan. They have information about expedited passports, international driving permits, and currency exchange.
2. Plan for Emergencies
If you were to get hurt while traveling, would you know where to go? Would people know who to call if you ended up in the hospital? Research the nearest hospitals, clinics and police stations in the area and know how to get to them. Leave an emergency contact list in your wallet.
Make an "in case of emergency" guide that includes a list of allergies, medications you have with you such as an inhaler or Epi-Pen, and if you have any pre-existing conditions. Leave this guide in your wallet too. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to help you when you can't help yourself.
Also, consider bringing your own first-aid kit. This Compact Emergency Kit is available in the Komando store for $60. It includes gauze, a flashlight, a whistle, and several other items that fit neatly in a zipper pouch. Click here to buy and never be without the tools you need.
3. Know the Culture
It's very important to research the customs and etiquette of the place you're traveling to. If you were to unknowingly offend someone, you could easily find yourself in a physical altercation that results in injury or death.
Many countries aren't as accepting of free speech. Research the political climate and basic laws so that you don't get in trouble with the government by being kicked out and banned from returning. And getting arrested in a foreign country is especially awful since they may not be afforded due process.
You should also know the main differences between your home and your destination that will impact you the most. What side of the road do they drive on? Is it safe to drink the water? Is the currency exchange rate higher or lower?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can answer a lot of these questions. Click here to access their Travel's Health page, which includes information about health risks, security concerns, laws, and culture from all over the world. Check out the CDC travel apps too, which you can download for Apple and Android.
Above all, you must be your own second set of eyes and ears. Be especially observant and skeptical. And try to fit in because tourists tend to be easy targets.