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Travel etiquette and essentials

Trisha Bhattacharya, Dec 8, 2012 18:25 IST
Encumbrances in the path of first-time or even frequent travelers abroad, can be reduced, if they understand and follow certain etiquettes when traveling. Not only does knowing basic travel etiquettes, help in making journeying out-of-the-country smooth, but they facilitate travelers immensely, by making them more confident, guarded, pro-active and ready to tackle obstacles, if any arise.
Here are eleven travel essentials to know for sure.

1 Documents and copies: Do not forget to carry the requisite travel documents like your passport, necessary foreign currency, travelers’ cheques, and other cards or official and personal documents, in your handbag. Also carry a set of photocopies of your passport, and print-outs and copies of all your air-tickets, hotel bookings or accommodation in your check-in luggage as well. This serves as a backup in case you lose the originals. Leave a set behind at home as well, so that they can be couriered to you, if needed.

2 Budgeting and cash: Arrange sufficient cash-to-carry, which is permitted and mandatory for living in the particular overseas city. For this, you must know the living expenses within the city you are travelling to. Take into account expenses like transport-pricing within the city, food expenses, foreign-currency required in case of a health emergency, and other daily expenses you may have, and budget accordingly.

Specific information on this is also easily available on the internet, on travel forums, and websites. You can also consult someone who has been to the city before.

3 Food and grocery: Knowing which food product is available and what is not, in a city abroad, can be crucial, especially for vegans, vegetarians or those with strict food habits. In certain cities overseas, food can be quite expensive, so doing your research on where to eat, budget restaurants, eateries where Indian food is available, becomes necessary. If your accommodation has a kitchen, having a list prepared of what is needed beforehand, will also help.

4 Maps and modes: Look up local-detailed maps on the Internet, to know the direction and distance of your destination from the airport, or the distance between a particular spot in the city to another, especially when you have planned sightseeing, or have meetings lined up. Some other answers you may need are to questions like — What are the modes of transport within the city? What is the time taken to travel from one location to another? Some foreign countries have metro and bus networks, so knowing some important station names in advance can be useful.

5 Information and contacts: Collect information like addresses, phone numbers and pricing of alternative accommodations, in case the first scheduled place-of-stay does not work out for whatever reason. Also, have city helpline numbers handy. Please also carry phone numbers or email-ids of relatives and friends in the city. In case you are going on a holiday, look up places to see, that are free-of-cost, and also those that charge an entry fee.

6 People and culture: Knowing how local residents greet each other, what mannerisms and behaviour they like or dislike, the languages they speak, can be quite useful for a newcomer to the overseas city. Being aware of what to expect, from the residents, in terms of hospitality, can help you set your expectations and handle your own conduct.

7 Valuables and luggage: Foremost, avoid carrying valuables like gold, jewelery in your luggage. Also, do not carry sharp objects like pocket-knives, scissors, expensive deodorants and liquids like shampoo, conditioners, and perfumes in your cabin or hand baggage. During security check-in, those can be confiscated. Also, do not keep several water bottles in your hand baggage. Keep cool or warm clothes and accessories like hats, raincoats or umbrellas, in your main bag, according to the weather you’ll be encountering at your destination.

8 Punctuality and timing: Arriving at the airport an hour-and-a-half or two in advance is advisable, instead of rushing in at the last hour. It saves you a lot of hassle at a bustling international airport. Also, when travelling on a one-stop flight, make sure you book a ticket that gives you enough time to board the second flight, instead of scampering out of one flight to catch the next.

9 Strangers and queries: It is alright to ask questions from strangers in a new city, if needed. However, it is prudent for lone travelers to keep conversations limited and to not share any extra personal information. If you are travelling alone within the city, it is always good to take commonly taken routes to places, instead of experimenting with newer routes.

10 Tabs and calculations: There is much to see and do in a foreign city, whether you are there on a professional or a personal visit. Thus, there is always a chance that you may overspend. So, calculate the money you are spending, on a daily basis, especially if you are a student in a new country, or someone traveling on a limited budget. Keeping a count aids in the long run.

11 Emergency and personal needs: Make suitable provisions for any personal needs like health or special requirements.

During your stay, be prepared for any kind of emergency. Remain cool, calm and collected in the event of anything untoward. Do not get unnecessarily stressed, because the more positive you are, the better things turn out. Also, be adventurous, in portions, cautious, as required, and fearless, if needed.

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