Tips on Traveling to a Foreign Country

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Published October 29, 2014

Laci OllisonWord Editor 

I recently traveled abroad to Barcelona, Spain, and Paris, France to celebrate my 21st birthday. Although an interesting experience, it was definitely a huge learning experience.

A lot of my family and friends couldn’t believe that I was taking this trip by myself. I was even discouraged by some not to go. But it was one of my dreams to travel to these two cities, and I am one who chases after her dreams.

My first piece of advice when making any type of travel arrangements is to shop around for the best-priced airline tickets and hotel or hostel. As a student, you are eligible for special priced airline tickets from websites such as and may also have cheaper air fare prices as well. Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings are the best times to buy tickets. And if possible, by your ticket as early as you can.

If you are traveling to a European country, I encourage you to book a hotel instead of a hostel. Hostels differ than hotels in that they offer a homier feel and cheaper prices. There are many different types of hostels.

Depending on where you are going and whom you are going with should determine what hostel you stay in. Since I was staying by myself, I chose to stay in a hostel where I would have my own room. In many hostels, guests pay for a bed in a dorm style room.

Since this was my first time traveling internationally by myself, I did not want to stay in a room with a bunch of strangers. Although it can be a good experience of being able to meet others from around the world, you have to decide if that is the type of hostel that you would like to stay in.

I also encourage you to read the reviews of guests that have stayed in that hostel. Booking my hostel with was very helpful because I was able to see what types of experiences other guests had in hostels that I was looking at.

My next piece of advice would be to do as much research as you can about the city or country that you are traveling to. I researched everything from how locals dress, how I would get from the airport to the hostel, public transportation, things to do, tips on traveling to a foreign country alone, and things to pack.

Something that I discovered upon my research was that I needed an outlet converter. European outlets are different that American outlets. I am so glad that I thought to look into this, because I would have been without electronic devices until I returned back to the states.

Having an idea of what you are going to do when you arrive at your destination is also helpful. I did not have a concrete hour-by-hour itinerary, but I knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do on what specific days.

Learning more than the bare minimum of the language is also helpful. I found that locals don’t hate you as much if you know at least some of the language and are able to communicate with them some.

Lastly, make sure that you go with an open mind. Do not be afraid to try new things or talk to new people. This is an experience that you will only get once, and that you will never forget. Make it a memorable one.