People will tell you a lot of different things as you think about going abroad, or even just start planning your next international vacation.
Things might start to get confusing with everyone talking at you, so here are a few definite suggestions to think about before you get too much conflicting advice.
Make a plan with Mom and Dad
Surprisingly, most people seem to think that admitting to homesickness is bad. Fear not, because missing your family and friends is completely normal. Some people combat homesickness by scheduling weekly Skype dates with your parents, while others send letters home to their families. Regardless of how you do so, make a plan to avoid missing home too much.
Stay calm when packing
You’re probably going to feel your most anxious while you’re packing. This is a waste of the time you do have left at home, so get yourself into the most zen state of mind you can before you start filling your suitcase. My suggestion? Keep the family dog around — they’re good company and they’ll put up with all of the yelling and crying you’re sure to do.
Learn helpful phrases
If you’re going somewhere where English isn’t the official language, this is going to be a lifesaver for you. Even before you start learning the local language, you’re going to need to be able to ask where things are, how much something costs, and most importantly, what something is. These phrases can generally be found in the back of any guidebook or online, so do yourself a favor and learn them before you go.
Get familiar with the culture
No matter where you’re headed, it’s important to be aware of cultural differences that could cause issues. If you’re going to a place where there’s an emphasis on certain manners or ways of dressing, research them before you leave.
Don’t announce you’re American
Even the most patriotic person knows that America isn’t exactly the most popular country in the world. Don’t make it obvious that you’re from the U.S. because it can actually be very problematic for you and the people around you. The best way to attract pickpockets is by calling unwanted attention to the fact that you’re a tourist.