10 tips about traveling overseas for first timers

FIVE weeks and counting.

That's how long I have now until I depart on my first ever overseas holiday.

And thanks to friends and random strangers I've met in the past few months, I've been given a few tips. But I'm sure there are many more that I don't know about.

Here are the tips I've gathered so far:

1. Booking flights 

When I was about to book my flights last year, someone gave me some pretty good advice - book with the same airline the whole way or at least airlines that are affiliate with each other. This will reduce the likelihood of losing luggage or missing connecting flights and having to fork out more money for another flight.

Another tip (this one is for me for next time - look at the times of the flights for when you are travelling West as if you book flights that travel pretty much direct from Australia to say London and you depart in the day time, you are likely to be traveling with the sun the whole way - in other words, sunlight for about 40 hours.

2. If you are travelling during peak season, book accommodation early

3. Avoid travelling during peak season, if possible.

It will save you thousands of dollars as accommodation, air fare and tourist attractions are more costly during peak season.

4. Foreign airports

Many international airports are so huge could take you a while to find your way from one terminal to the next (thank goodness I have a three hour stop over in Singapore and when I fly in to Frankfurt, I fly out of the same terminal to my next destination). If you can, write down how to ask for directions and what the likely responses could be in the native language of that country you have landed in.

I was warned about the 'smoking rooms'.

And I was tipped off about some really comfy chairs at the Frankfurt airport (but I'm only there for two hours - enough time for a coffee and a croissant).

5. Forget travelers checks and Overseas credit cards

You can now withdraw money from most major Australian banks while travelling in most countries. Check with your bank about foreign currency and travel options.

6. Medication

If you take any prescription medication, make sure you have a medical note from your GP about the medication and have back up prescriptions. 

7. Prescription glasses

If you are able, take back up pairs of prescription glasses as well as a copy of your prescription in case you lose and/or break the pair/s you have on you.

8. Ask friends about cheapest Public transport options in countries you are traveling to.

One of my friends thought traveling in the rickshaws around Vietnam was the cheapest option. That was until she had to travel 10kms to a tourist attraction and caught a taxi.. .which turned out to be cheaper than rickshaws.

Another friend advised me, especially since I had heard about gypsy taxi drivers in Paris, that if I get lost in the French capital, that I could try to catch a carriage to my next destination (aka tourist attraction or motel). Or the train system is pretty good to understand and use.


9. If you end up sitting next to someone on a flight that makes you feel ill or uncomfortable....

Another friend was just telling me about the time the were on a 14-hour flight and was unable to eat or sleep as the person sitting next to them had a bad body odour problem (medical problem). My friend didn't know at the time, but you can ask the stewards if you can be relocated because of such a problem and usually you will be.

10.  Travel stockings are a must

Here I am worried about how I will cope with the 12.5 hour flight (third leg of journey) in terms of needing sleep, what to do with myself (other than listen to podcasts, try to read, watch movies) and cramping up my muscles from sitting down for so long... when a friend informed me about the 22 hour flight she once took (never again, she said) and how, when she stood up, she physically felt so awful she thought she had a blood clot. Luckily, she didn't but I did remind me to pick up a pair of travel stockings.

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