Are you travelling abroad for the first time? Congratulations! It will definitely be a very rewarding experience; it certainly was for me. Like many other students in India aspiring to go abroad, I recently had an opportunity to go for a summer exchange program at UCLA. Here are four key essential components I picked up, that every single international traveller should check before flying:
We all know for a fact that international travel can become a hassle if you are not keeping a track of your documents. I personally made a simple checklist of all the documents I will need on every stage of my journey and made a copy of the list on my phone. Every single time I had to ensure I was carrying my documents, I checked with the list. I also made three copies of the entire set of documents and stored them in three different places across my luggage. I also carried digital copies of every single document.This may seem a bit over the top, but it’s better to be safe than to be sorry!
I cannot stress this enough but get airport assistance. Some airlines give a dedicated assistance service as an add-on to international travellers. These services may include a pickup & drop and might even cover specific requests such as wheelchairs if requested. Before you book your tickets, make sure you are aware of such services. Also, check the website of the airport you will be landing at, to see what kind of assistance is available there.
Many seasoned travellers will tell you that insurance is optional and many of them might have never exercised the option of claiming on travel insurance. This may make you feel like it is just a costly add on. I say this from my personal experience – it’s not. When you are travelling internationally, there sheer possibility of things that can go wrong is enormous. Student insurance or even normal insurance will protect you from most of it. Ask any professional travelling expert, on what’s her/his top advice for first time international travellers and you will hear a piece of resounding advice unanimously given by all of them – get insured.
While this will provide special assistance to students, even if you are travelling with your family or for business, it pays to have travel insurance in place. The small premium that you pay for travel insurance, goes straight towards helping you be at peace when you’re travelling – because you know for a fact that you can at least redeem the monetary value of things, in case you lose them.
Listen – everyone tells you to pack lightly. And when you travel internationally, it’s literally more cost-effective to pack lightly. That does not mean you take one laptop bag and go globe-trotting! Layout all the luggage you plan to take with you. Now bifurcate everything into – essentials, important and luxuries. Pack the essentials – without which, life would become very difficult. Then go for the important stuff – things that are helpful and might not be available in the foreign land that easily. Finally, look at all the luxuries and bid them goodbye; if they are not important or essential, they are not needed.
You will get a ton of chances to enjoy the journey – the views, the people and the entire experience is growth-inducing. I wish I had received this advice from someone experienced with travelling internationally when I was leaving for my first international voyage. I hope these help you in your journey to your dreams.2