If you’re headed overseas, you’re probably expecting to immerse yourself in a different culture, one opening your eyes to a new way of life. It’s great to approach your travels with that mindset, but it’s just as likely that you will be surprised by some of the changes that aren’t always noted on page one of guidebooks.
You’re probably planning to bring some essential belongings with you overseas, but before you do that you need to understand what will be of value and what will be essentially worthless to you. A number of products and personal items you may be depending on could prove ineffective and useless in a different country, and for various reasons.
So before you pack up and ship out, take some time to review what you should pack and what you might as well leave on the home front.
Money is important, but American dollars won’t be universally accepted in every country you visit. True, many vendors and other businesses may be willing to accept greenbacks as payment, but you can’t guarantee that you will get this accommodation everywhere you go. It’s important to exchange your American dollars for the currency of whatever destination you’re planning to visit. Doing so will save you from money troubles in a new country.
If you have a valid health insurance plan domestically, you might be disappointed to learn that most don’t cover international travel. So the moment you leave the United States, you’re on your own in terms of medical coverage. Before you embark on your travels, take time to find a student travel insurance policy that will provide medical coverage while you’re traveling abroad.
Unless you can make arrangements with your cellular phone provider for international coverage, your service will likely not function after leaving the United States. You can always purchase a disposable cell phone wherever you’re headed, but plan to have no cell phone functionality when you initially arrive in a new country. And keep in mind that many of those smart phone apps, such as global positioning and other services, also won’t work for you, cutting you off from much more than the ability to make a phone call.
In many countries, particularly in Europe, the electrical outlets used are different from what is standard in the United States. You can still take your electrical devices like hair dryers and straighteners, but make sure you purchase electrical adapters beforehand.
DVDs are typically made for four different regions around the world. As a way to prevent piracy and purchasing low-cost DVDs from a different continent, DVDs are made so that what works in one region doesn’t work in others. Your American DVDs won’t work in European or Asian DVD players, and vice versa. But don’t worry: You can always purchase or rent DVDs in your new destination and play them on a local DVD player.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, but hopefully it helps you better prepare for the changes you’ll face as a world traveler. The more advanced planning you can do, the more likely you will be to save yourself from some serious headaches and problem situations. The world may be accessible thanks to international flights and the Internet, but it’s far from standardized, and travelers will be the ones forced to make these adjustments.