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7 Things You Must Do Before Traveling to a Foreign Country

7 Things You Must Do Before Traveling to a Foreign Country

Traveling to a foreign country is one of the most exciting adventures you can experience. You’ll experience a completely different culture from your own, break out of your comfort zone, and learn more about who you are in two weeks than you would in six months.

After traveling around countries in Asia, Europe, and South America in the past 12 months, I’ve learned (often the hard way) what to do and what not to do if you want to maximize your travel experience.

With that said, if you’re about to travel to a foreign country, here are the 7 things you must do before your departure.

1. Visa & Passport Check

This is the most critical thing you must check off your list before you travel.

Certain countries will require you to have a Passport that will not expire for at least 6 months from the date you enter. If you’re a digital nomad without a set return date, it’s better to be safe and have a buffer time of at least two years.

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    You’ll also need to make sure you have the required visas for not just the countries you know you’re traveling to, but also potential countries you may be visiting. For example, Canadians don’t need a visa to visit any of the countries in South America, but it is required for Brazil.

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    VisaHQ is a great place to start checking for visa requirements, depending on your current citizenship.

    * One last tip: Make sure you scan and have a copy of all your important documents including your visa and passport files. This will help expedite the process of retrieving another hard copy if you end up losing your original.

    2. Pack appropriately

    This may depend on where you are traveling to, and what season you are traveling in. The general advice is: pack light.

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      Despite what your friends, family, and the media tells you, it’s most likely that you can buy nearly anything you need when you’re there. Carrying around a bulky luggage may be the biggest obstacle from being spontaneous during your travels.

      It may even be better to leave some extra room in your backpack, in order to bring back any tourist gifts to your friends or family.

      Here’s a great article to help you start packing light.

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      3. Call your bank

      Whether you want to use your credit card, debit card, or cash, you’ll be making a foreign transaction. Since your bank is on high alert for your security, it’s likely they will freeze your account if they see a transaction that is out of the ordinary – such as a $400 withdrawal in Argentina when you live in the United States!

      Make sure you call not only your local bank, but also your credit card company as well to notify them you’ll be making international transactions.

      In fact, if you plan to be living in a foreign country for a period of time, you can sign up with companies like Charles Schawb, where you can make unlimited ATM transactions without fees.

      4. Get informed

      A few months ago, when I tried to enter Colombia, I had to miss my flight because I needed a return ticket out of Colombia. I was already late, and by the time I purchased my return ticket, it was way too late.

      Now I know that there are certain airlines that allow you to cancel your flight within 24 hours of purchase. If you are ever asked for a return ticket, purchase a temporary ticket from any of the following airlines:

      • Delta
      • United
      • US Airways
      • JetBlue
      • Southwest
      • Spirit
      • Frontier
      • American

      You should also be informed about potential dangers or events occurring in the country, potential vaccinations you may need beforehand, and where your country’s embassy office is located.

      Use this website to learn more.

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      5. Learn conversation skills

      You don’t need to be fluent before you arrive, but you certainly should learn the basics in order to have a simple conversation with a local person.

      There are still places around the world, where a majority of the people don’t speak a word of English. Being able to understand and respond at the basic level will not only help you connect better with locals, but it will also prevent you from being taken advantage of.

      If you’re a beginner, it’s unlikely you can reach that level at the speed you want by learning yourself or through using a free mobile app.

      You can use Rype to work with a one-on-one language coach, who will help you learn faster and keep you accountable before or during your travels. I recommend checking out Rype Club, which will pair you up with a coach from the country you’re traveling to, and provide conversation lessons tailored to your needs. It also includes a 14-day free trial.

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        6. Get involved in the community!

        You can find almost any community online for the country and city you’re traveling to, even ones specific for expats.

        Look on Facebook Groups, Couchsurfing, or Meetup, to connect with current locals, finding accommodation, or simply asking for advice about the city.

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          7. Create an adventure list

          One of the best things about traveling is breaking out of your comfort zone, and trying out new experiences you’ve never tried before. Do some research before you travel and make a list of everything you want to try for the first time. This can be an event/festival, food you’ve never tried, or an activity that’s popular in the country you’re going to.

          Make the list as long as you’d like, but since you may not have time to do all of them, prioritize the top 5 or top 10 that you want to try in your limited time.

          Conclusion

          Once you’ve gone through these 7 must do’s, embrace yourself in the culture you’re traveling to and prepare yourself mentally.

          More importantly, open up your mind to prepare for the new adventure ahead of you.

          More by this author

          Sean Kim

          Sean is the founder and CEO of Pulsing. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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          1 5 Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude 2 9 Ways to Prepare for Change and Live Your Dream Life 3 7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now 4 How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want 5 What Happiness Is and Is Not: The True Meaning of Being Happy

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          Last Updated on August 19, 2019

          How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

          How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

          We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

          When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

          In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

          Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

          If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

          According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

          No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

          When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

          Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

          1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

          When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

          Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

          When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

          Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

          In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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          It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

          You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

          Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

          What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

          You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

          That’s where we all should be.

          So, answer me this:

          How are you, really?

          And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

          Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

          Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

          Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

          Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

          It’s taking control.

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          2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

          You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

          You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

          In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

          Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

          You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

          Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

          But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

          It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

          In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

          It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

          Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

          Change will happen.

          Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

          You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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          And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

          You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

          That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

          You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

          When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

          There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

          3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

          Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

          In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

          If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

          Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

          Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

          How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

          Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

          “Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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          Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

          Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

          It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

          Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

          “If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

          What would you do if you felt you were enough?

          By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

          So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

          Final Thoughts

          By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

          Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

          When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

          You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

          More About Living Your True Self

          Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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