How To Prepare For Your First Trip Abroad: Research Check List

Travel is food for the soul. It’s simultaneously exhilarating and scary. On one hand, you are off to a different country, you are excited to learn more about the culture, and take photos of views that rival the best photographer out there. On the other hand, you are probably wondering how to communicate in a language you aren’t familiar with or what to do if you face some sort of an emergency.

While these concerns are real, they can be addressed before you get to your destination. Thanks to Bank Bazaar, I’ve come up with this list to make sure your holiday is memorable for all the right reasons with these easy-to-follow tips for preparing for your first trip overseas! 

Read Some Travel Blogs

A great way to learn more about the destination you are going to is by reading travel blogs. Besides this wonderful website which I hope is a wealth of information for my readers, there are hundreds if not thousands of other travel blogs out there to read and get travel advice from.  Many of my blogger friends regularly put up posts about their personal travel experiences, too,  from where they stayed to food, and important travel tips. Moreover, it will also give you an idea of places you must visit and places you can give a miss.

Make sure you read more than one blog though, since every blogger may have experienced something different. The more the  blogs you read, the better your understanding of the place and the more realistic your expectations!

Email Travel Bloggers

Sometimes, you may be concerned that the blogger may not have said everything that they feel. Or if they have, you may have questions that remain unanswered no matter how many blogs you read. A good way to have your questions answered is to email travel bloggers. I always reply to everyone who reaches out to me and I LOVE getting emails and feedback from my readers.

All bloggers will have an email address you can use to contact them. Ask them whatever questions you may have. Sure, you can ask your friends who have travelled to the same place too, but you never know if their opinions are biased or if they are just telling you something that they think you want to hear. A blogger will give you an unbiased point of view.

Check Travel Forums

If you truly want to learn about your holiday destination, then don’t forget to check out online forums. Travel forums such as TripAdvisor are great for reviews of restaurants, tours and other popular attractions. It’s also a great place to get more information about reasonably priced tour guides and entrance fees to certain attractions.

Another forum that you can use to research your holiday destination is Reddit. You can see if the question you have in mind has already been answered or you could start your own thread. Passionate travellers from all over the world have accounts on these forums and are more than willing to help other travellers in need. For all you know, your question may be answered by a native of the country you are about to visit!

Check the Local News

The beauty of the internet is that information from all over the world is at your fingertips. If you are heading to a country that is known to have frequent civil strife or if you have heard that the country’s national airline has gone on strike, then keep a close eye on the local news.

If you don’t speak the language, you can always use online translators. It may not be grammatically correct, but you will get a fair picture of what is happening in the country. This way you will be able to take necessary precautions before you travel.

Keeping an eye on the news can also help you discover events that may interest you or local festivals that you can be a part of.

A good example if why this is important would be the Bali Volcano, which keeps threatening to erupt and disrupt travel plans. Locals news will know before anywhere else if something is about to happen.

Download some weather apps

Imagine packing for the beach and encountering heavy rain or vice versa? Before you decide to shop for your holiday or even start packing, make sure you check the weather. This is where technology is once again your friend!

All you need to do is download an application on your mobile that tells you the weather in different countries. These apps also provide weekly forecasts giving you a good idea of what you can expect the weather to be like when you finally reach your destination and start your holiday. My Dad has 16 weather apps on his phone…but I’m sure we all agree that’s a little excessive!

Check On Medical Facilities

Whether you have had medical issues in the past or not, you should always know where to go and what to do in case of a medical emergency. Before you travel, do your research and check on hospitals and doctors around the area. If you do have a medical condition, you could consult your doctor and ask them to recommend a peer of theirs who could help you while you are holidaying.

If you are travelling to a country where you may think there are chances of you contracting a disease, make sure you do your research and get the required vaccinations. It takes at least two weeks for the preventive effects of most vaccinations to set in, so make sure you take them well in advance.

Take a Virtual Tour

The easiest way to find out what your holiday destination looks like is to take a 360-degree virtual tour. There are a number of websites such as 360Cities, Gigapan, and Panoguide that offer you a 360-degree view of cities and tourist spots. If you want to check out museums or local cafes, you can also check out ARounder.

This way you can determine if you should visit a much talked about park or choose a lesser known place to visit, instead.

It doesn’t matter where you plan to holiday. Be it Thailand or Turkey, just remember to use these tips for reviewing your holiday destination so that you make the most of your holiday!