Travelling around North America or Europe can be very different from travelling around more chaotic or remote areas of the world. These trips may take a bit more planning so here are some tips to get you better prepared.

  • The first thing you should do is check whether you will need a Visa to enter the country or not. Travel.gc.ca is a great resource to check what the requirements are for every country you’ll be in, including passport expiration minimums.
  • Another important use for travel.gc.ca is the security and awareness updates. Read everything there is on your destination to ensure you are up to date on recent activities or potential problems.
  • Before you head out on your adventure, make sure you have enough local currency. I recommend exchanging your money at your bank, but keep in mind that if you’re going to a less popular destination- you may need to order the cash in advance, which will take a few days. Talk to your bank and leave adequate time. Read more currency tips here
  • Don’t forget to look up local laws and customs, as cultural differences could land you in big trouble. Read more foreign law tips here.

Now, when you actually arrive in destination- you’ll notice the difference from travelling around North America right away.

  • Most notably will be the process of finding a taxi. There will likely be swarms of drivers trying to get your attention, but you want to find the official taxi line. This may take some time- so consider finding an information booth to locate the line and ask the general cost of a taxi to your area. If there are sideshares available, such as Uber or Lyft, consider predownloading those on your phone and locating the pickup zone (if there is one). Read more rideshare tips here
  • It can also be a lot more difficult to find clear directions on where you’re trying to go, so having a data plan for GPS and quick google searches would make a huge difference. And keep in mind that you can preload a city map or step-by-step directions on google maps, that will then continue to locate and direct you once you leave wifi. 
  • Either contact your phone carrier to set up international roaming- if the price makes sense for you- or consider buying a prepaid SIM card in destination to temporarily use in your phone. If you don’t need any data, be sure to turn your data-roaming off or leave your phone on airplane mode to avoid any surprise bills when you get home!
  • And finally, as tempting as it may be, do not give handouts to begging children. “Organized begging is one of the most visible forms of human trafficking—and it’s largely financed and enabled by good-hearted people who just want to help.”- Keenan. If you want to help while abroad, look into charity volunteering or building infrastructures (such as school and health clinics).

Travelling somewhere less familiar can sometimes be a bit of a culture shock, but that’s the whole point of travel! 

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