Here are a few things to consider before you leave for your trip abroad
PREPARE TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE
Gradually start acclimating yourself to the new conditions. Purchase a security waist pack to help keep your valuables safe when your are out and about. You may also want to consider of the various undercover security money pouches to safeguard your money and travel documents even further.
Small backpacks are great when walking around, however, know that the back compartments are very susceptable to theft. Anything on your back is very easy for pickpockets to enter, and, judging from many tourists before you, you will never know it happened. Strongly consider using security backpacks with security zippers to keep your valuables safe from behind. In regards to carrying larger cameras, in most cities, their is a great black market for expensive cameras and lenses. Thieves are very skilled at removing them when slung on your back without you ever feeling it. You can find a variety of camera security straps that will help keep you camera gear safe.
PROGRAM YOUR INTUITION
Start programming your intuition to help you stay alert and safe. You are not going to be in Kansas any more, and good reality-testing and planning is an important part of emotional intelligence (EQ).
Add a few important tips to this if you like:
Remember the things that can help you relax, stay alert and take care of business. If you start flooding, breathe deeply until you can think clearly again. Use meditation or yoga techniques.
You will have preconceived notions and surprise emotions wherever you travel. EQ means accurate and rapid reality-testing, overriding unhelpful emotional responses and focusing on what needs to be done. Remind yourself of how to do this. (Get some EQ coaching!)
TIME ZONES & CURRENCIES
There are lots of tools to help you. Buy a handheld computer, or print out a chart from the Internet, laminate it and put it on your wallet. Then you can pull it out when needed. Its called one less thing to worry about.
LEARN BASICS IN THE LANGUAGE
This is one of the most emotionally intelligent things you can do. Why? Because emotional intelligence is the universal language, and will be understood globally. Being able to say a few essential words in the new language ingratiates you to peopleit makes them feel good and so they treat you better. Acknowledge the people you meet as individuals. The same things work the world over respect for others, good manners, acknowledgement of people as people.
Carry a piece of paper with the name of your ship or hotel, and the address and phone number with you, preferably in the native language. Learn a few key phrases in the new language such as
Wheres the toilet?
I need a policeman
Wheres my ship
I need a doctor
In a pinch, using just the noun will work - police, ship, toilet, hospital.
CLOTHES & PACKING
If youre traveling for pleasure, you want to be comfortable and look presentable, but it doesnt have to be a fashion show. Nearly everywhere, its good to have layers.
Buy for the trip something your mother would call sensible shoes. You probably wont realize how much walking there is on most tours, trust me. In fact, its a good idea to escalate your exercise routine prior to your trip, just as youd do some knee-strengthening exercises before going skiing.
COMMON SENSE PRECAUTIONS
Check with the State Dept. (Internet site) and your primary care physician about what immunizations to get, what medicines to carry with you, and the mosquito situation. Dengue fever or malaria would not be a good souvenir of your trip. Its recommended you buy travel medical insurance which includes transportation back to the US for treatment. Are medical facilities different in other countries? On our ship cruising the rivers in Russia, the ship doctor was also the masseuse.
WORK WITH YOUR PARTNER FOR SAFETY
Be attuned with the person youre traveling with so you can help one another. Practice safety. Remind one another to stay alert, and practice the pick pocket experience you must assume, when traveling, that someone bumping up against you is not a positive thing.
Regardless of the country youre visiting, pickpockets love tourists because there is what the police call opportunity. That is, there are people, with money, who are distracted, and people who need money who are focused.
Picture yourself in a crowd of 50 crammed side-by-side waiting to see the famous peacock clock in the Hermitage start turning. Picture someone in your tour group fainting. Picture a screaming child on the sidewalk. Picture yourself finally seeing the Amber Room in Catherines Palace. Picture yourself dozing on a park bench in a beautiful Russian park in 80 degree weather.
Where will your attention be? Not on your waist pack, back pack or purse. Keep your hands on your possessions. Be aware of movement and alert to any change. Don’t tune out.
Have alternate places for some of your money and/or credit cards a money belt around waist or neck, inside underwear, very deep side pants pocket, etc.
If you want things to be like they are in your home town, or your home country, stay there. Otherwise, expect the unexpected and be flexible.
It is highly insensitive to tell someone who earns $2 an hour that the $20, 1-hour massage they offer you is so cheap. Its also insensitive to blame the tour guide for something beyond his or her control (such as a late-opening museum), or to blame the waitperson for a meal you dont like.
While people attending you may not respond in your language, or appear to understand, chances are high theyve come to understand the usual tourist phrases, so hold your tongue.
EQ & MANNERS
The one thing we all have in common, no matter where we live, is feelings. Go back to the basics.
1. Smile, say please and thank you and excuse me. 2. Treat others with respect and acknowledge them as individuals. 3. Ask for help, dont demand it. 4. Be courteous. 5. Speak clearly and slowly, not louder, as if the person youre speaking to is an idiot or hard-of-hearing. 5. Wear a head covering in other countrys places of worship. 6. No matter how annoying the street peddlers are, remember theyre just doing their job, like you do. 7. Help others in your group who arent so savvy sharing mosquito repellant and Immodium ID, waking fellow passengers whove fallen asleep in the airport, helping parents traveling with kids, and seniors. All of these could/may well happen to you one day! 8. Dont hog the airtime when on a tour with questions designed to show how much you already know.
Also, dont waste your time and energy, and those of others, complaining to people who dont have authority to change things, like your local tour guide or cruise director. If you have serious praise or concern, take it to the home office. (This of course doesnt apply to emergencies.)
Use your head about who has responsibility for what. Cruise ships get held up because the Coast Guard demands inspections, and Customs Officials run late. This is not under the control of the cruise line or of any person standing in front of you. The bus driver on your tour bus is only peripherally connected to the people who make decisions about where the bus goes.
EQ & MONEY
Plan a budget ahead of time and stick to it. Dont be influenced by the emotions of the moment.
USE YOUR EQ
Staying healthy, safe and alert is an important part of your travel experience. Changing numerous time zones, and flying for hours on end can dull the mind, and looking at fascinating new things can pull your focus. Prepare yourself ahead of time for a great travel experience and use your emotional intelligence.
Our site contains over 100 pages of travel safety tips and security tips that are useful for any traveler. You will find tips involving luggage theft, avoiding pickpockets, laptop theft, hotel burglary, and airplane, train, automobile, and boat travel crimes.
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