Everyone should travel abroad.
Understandably, it’s expensive and many simply can’t afford it, but college often opens doors that allow travel abroad. At my university for my major, (American university SIS) it’s even built into my schedule. I’ve been lucky enough to travel sometimes, even able to travel without parents (currently I’m in an Irish hotel trying to use the spotty wifi to write this article)
I’m traveling with a group, but it’s still liberating to have the amount of freedom that comes with being treated like an adult. (I do miss my family don’t misunderstand!) I wrote this article so that more girls know that they can be prepared to face most of the struggles of traveling and feel comfortable. Even if you’re traveling in a group, it’s nice to be prepared and have the means to be self-sufficient. Besides, you may not want to be with the group the whole time.
Here are a few travel tips for girls:
Do research: I cannot stress this point enough. There are places in every country to avoid. Also, thoroughly researching aspects of where you are doing and going is beneficial. When I was in London, we took the subway everywhere we went because we found out it was about four times cheaper then getting a taxi. in Ireland, I forgot that an adapter is needed because their plugs are a different voltage then the U.S. Thankfully, my mom had one already. When my mom went to Colombia for work years ago, she found out she could only go out safely with a local tour guide.
Familiarize yourself with some of the basic customs: This may surprise you, but culture shock can be a bit traumatic. I was in Europe and didn’t realize how they tend to value personal space less and have more of a tendency to stare. The first time a family came on to the subway and unabashedly stared at me freaked me out. It took me a few days to somewhat adjust to the changes. This may not seem as important as some of the other tips, but getting used to and enjoying the country are just as important as bringing enough warm clothes or carrying a water bottle. It affects your enjoyment of travel, and if you’re immediately turned off by a country, it can ruin your whole trip.
You will probably get sick: In different countries, there are bacterias that our bodies aren’t used to. So, stomach issues are common that can lead to vomiting and other problems. Being prepared with electrolytes and medicine can be useful. In countries like India and Brazil, you cannot drink the water unless it’s bottled (Indian water is often coined as cholera water). The point of mentioning these points is that you need to make sure what you can and can’t have. If you’re body keeps acting weird, you may need to make sure that you haven’t contracted anything more serious then “travelers diarrhea.”
Other things to do:
1. Carry a copy of passport when you travel and lock your actual passport in a lock box at your hotel
2. Separate money in separate places (in case one is stolen)
3. You may have to get creative with where you keep your money (in your socks, bra, etc) depending on what country you’re going to.
4. Get the emergency numbers of where you’re traveling (they’re often different)
5. Make sure your phone is on airplane mode if your plan doesn’t include international data ( you get charged through the roof for roaming)
6. Dress appropriately (people have been teasing me for “dressing like its summertime” whenIreland has rained every day which the temperature to plummet)
Not wanting to just include my experiences, I asked four of my friends who I know have travelled a lot what they’d suggest:
“Get out of your comfort zone but don’t say yes to everything” -Kumbah Givens, freshman at Rowan University
“Foreign food might you differently depending on who you are” -Ethan Burger, freshman at American University
“Bring more clothes then you think, lots of water, download maps on Google. Tourist maps aren’t great.” -Jack Boone, freshman at American University
“Plan to see the sights you want to see, know transportation, and also keep your group in mind when you’re traveling with one.” – Avinash Doddi, freshman at Penn State,
“Immerse yourself in the culture as much as you can and take the road less taken.”
Remember, enjoy the journey. Traveling can be stressful and hard to plan for, but it opens your mind to a whole world that you may have never had the chance to experience.
Let me know if you liked my article and would like me to write more articles on travel (traveling in Europe, India, etc) or packing for travel. If you have any specific questions, message me!