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7 Things You Must Do Before You Travel To A Foreign Country

7 Things You Must Do Before You Travel To A Foreign Country

Traveling to a foreign country is one of the most exciting adventures you can have. 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 normally 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 and 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 potential countries you may be visiting. For example, Canadians don’t need a visa to visit any of the countries in South America except for Brazil.

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

    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 media tells you, it’s most likely that you can buy nearly anything you need when you’re there. Carrying around 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 souvenirs or gifts to your friends or family.

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

      3. Call Your Bank

      Whether you want to use your credit card, debit card, or cash, you’ll be making foreign transactions. 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 withdrawl in Argentina when you live in the United States!

      Make sure you call not only your local bank but 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 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 occuring in the country, potential vaccinations you may need beforehand, and where your country’s embassy office is located.

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      Use this website to learn more.

      5. Learn the Language

      You don’t need to be fluent before you arrive, but you certainly should spend some time learning a new language or re-learn a language in order to have conversations with the locals.

      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 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. However, you can use websites like Rype to work one-on-one with a private language coach. It’s built specifically for busy individuals, allowing you to fit language learning into your hectic lifestyle by offering unlimited one-on-one language lessons (only in Spanish for now) at anytime of the day, any day of the week. Learn more here and give the free trial a go.

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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 specifically for expats.

        Look on Facebook Groups, Couchsurfing, or Meetup and connect with current locals, find accommodations, or simply ask for advice about your destination.

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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.

          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 or 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 prioritize the top 5 or top 10 that you want to try in your limited time.

          Once you’ve gone through these 7 must-do’s, embrace the culture of the place 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 Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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          Last Updated on January 3, 2020

          The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

          The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

          Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

          The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

          1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

          Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

           I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

          To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

          And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

           2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

          Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

          3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

          Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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          4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

          The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

          5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

          Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

          6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

          Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

          7. Positive people smile a lot!

          When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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          8. People who are positive are great communicators.

          They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

          9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

          One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

          10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

          Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

          How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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          I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

          Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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