Stepping into the unknown is both daunting and exhilarating, more so if this is your first time traveling overseas. Spend less time worrying about the unknown, and get to enjoy your time abroad with our life hacks for first time overseas travellers.
There’s plenty of packing tips that you see online, including rolling your clothes instead of folding it – Marie Kondo style. What I don’t usually see, though, is how to arrange the items inside your bags. Pack your bags so that the heaviest items lie on the bottom, with the lightest on top. This saves your back and makes walking long distances easier. That being said, make sure that the ones that you usually access – tissues, wet wipes, and whatnot – are placed where you can easily access them. I also highly recommend putting your day-to-day outfits in individual ziplock bags. This serves to waterproof your belongings and so that you don’t rummage through your whole bag looking for your separates. It also helps in outfit planning as well as getting rid of any surplus clothing you might pack.
You might want to also invest in a collapsible water bottle. It’s something so ordinary – water – but judging from the cost at airport stores, you’d think they got it from some magical spring deep in the forests of Woollomolloo. Make sure to leave it empty prior to going inside airport security or you’ll be forced to discard it due to liquid restrictions. Fill it up from the many water fountains inside. Another life-saving hack is to get a universal electrical socket adapter and a power strip. Different countries have different shaped electrical sockets, so getting a universal adapter means you only need one. Getting a power strip also means that you get to charge all your devices even if there is only one available outlet.
Going overseas may also mean going from balmy, beachy vibes to winter wonderland. It would be very uncomfortable to start out dressing in wool when it’s hot as hades. The key is to layer. Bring in your hand-carried bags not just a change of clothes (in case your bags get delayed) but also a scarf, jacket, hat, and a malong that can double as a blanket/bag/dress. To save up on costly airport snacks, bring your own.
When it comes to money safety in a foreign land, a discreet anti-theft body-sling bag is loads better than a cringe-inducing fanny pack. It also makes sense to have some local currency exchanged before you set out. Airport exchange rates are not the most favorable ones. Save some for when you check out as well, as not all hotels accept credit cards. And speaking of safety, invest in travel insurance as you don’t automatically turn invincible when you go abroad. Even if you’re travelling long-term there are insurance companies that offer long-term travel coverage.
Just because you’re covered by travel insurance doesn’t mean that you won’t be affected by emergencies. It’s good practice to have photocopies of your documents. Photocopy your passport, visa, and ID’s. Also have spare passport pictures, and a separate cash and credit card stash. Make sure to also write all your contact information as well as phone numbers of your family members, your accommodations, and your consulate to be safe abroad.