What You Should Know Before You Go

When travelling it’s always important to research the location and have a feel for what to expect. However, there are some things that are good to remember no matter where you’re going. When I studied abroad I got a lot of information from friends and loved ones who’d traveled themselves. These are the words of advice that were the most relevant:

1. You can't know everything... the unknown might be scary but it's also exciting

It’s important to accept the fact that you can’t prepare for everything that you’ll experience while abroad. This can be a huge step outside of the comfort zone for all you planners out there but some of the best things in life aren’t planned!

2. Always ask for concession

Most places have concession, which is student pricing, and you can get as much as 20% off. Even pubs and bars offer these discounts but you have to ask, as people won’t assume that you’re a student anywhere.

3. Don't be afraid to get lost

As long as you feel safe, getting lost can lead you to some of your favorite findings. Stumbling upon a cool coffee shop, store or restaurant always seems to happen when you are just exploring.

4. Always pay in local currency

Places will give you the option to pay in local currency when using a credit card, always accept. The conversion rate a hostel or store or restaurant will give you is never as good as the one on your card.

5. Talk to locals

Doing touristy things are great but you won’t feel truly submersed in a community/culture until you meet its locals and hear their opinions and reactions towards things.

6. Don't be afraid to be yourself

This may sound obvious and cliché, but many students feel afraid or ashamed to be American when traveling. The world is a diverse place, and people want to hear from Americans just as much as any other culture.

When traveling or studying abroad, these key reminders can be helpful in maximizing your budget and enjoyment of all the world has to offer. There is so much to learn while traveling, and these tips definitely helped me to step outside my comfort zone and take in my surroundings!