Before You Decide to Go Anywhere, Read This

Traveling is fun! Come to think of it, I travel every year at least to one new country since I hit my 20s. Year by year, I accumulated an efficient & safe way to travel so here I’m going to share it with you, Millennials.

Planning/ Preparing
No matter what is the purpose of your trip, business or pleasure, planning is the most important thing. This article is not for backpackers lol
It might be a good idea for you to check here to check the security level of the city you’re aiming to go. Now, in Japan, we have an equivalent on a website of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs. For example, check Syria. Syria, on the travel risk map, has an “extreme” level of security risk. It’s insane to go there and your country probably has some kind of restriction to prevent you from deciding to go there. On the other hand, Tokyo or Malta, which are 2 completely different places, both have a low risk of danger.
Some African countries require you to be vaccinated so research about the place you’re going beforehand.
Have a memo in your passport holder or in your wallet with the local consulate or embassy’s tel and address. If something happens (and I hope not) then that’s going to be the place you run for help.
About plane tickets and hotel. If you’re dirt rich, take the first class and boost the economy. If you’re dirt broke, you’re going to choose a more reasonable option. A lot of websites exist to book your plane tickets, but here are some of my favorites.

1. Expedia 2. Skyscanner 3. Official websites of each airline companies

I booked plane tickets on these websites without any problems. However, an important thing to notice is if you’re purchasing bargain tickets from cheaper airline companies, then canceling/changing your booking/in-plane meal/choosing seats will all cost you additional fee. 
Another separate advice regarding plane tickets is, don’t forget to register on a frequent-flyer program. Usually, you can accumulate miles even if you fly with a different company as long as they belong to the same alliance. 5-6 roundtrip tickets to the US can be used to purchase 1-2 roundtrip tickets to Asia.
Plane tickets should be purchased 3months – 3weeks prior to the trip and hotels should be booked around a month prior to the trip. Be careful of the cancel policy and also make sure to check if your booking includes breakfast at the hotel or not.
A little comment on Airbnb. I used to work for an Airbnb related company and because I know what was going on as an insider, I absolutely hate Airbnbs and will not recommend them. Some hosts abroad rent apartments, not for business reasons but purely for guest-hosting, hospitality reasons (although rare) so it might come up as one of your options. In fact, hotels may be very expensive (these days Airbnb is pretty pricey too) and if you’re traveling with family, you might want to have a kitchen in your apartment. But, because I heard so many bad things about Airbnb while I was working and had lots of troubles, I will not risk staying at other people’s apartments when traveling.
On packing, read this article.
Finally, have insurance when traveling. Some credit cards have insurance on them. Some cards apply automatically when you purchase an air ticket using that credit card. If it’s a just 3-day trip – not crucial, but if it’s longer, have an insurance.
Wi-Fi and Internet connection
Can’t live without it can we? Hotels definitely have them, some cities and touristy spots have city wifi. Subways also have subway wifi. Manhattan even has a free charging spot on the street. The best option is to get a local SIM card.
Apps
If there is a subway in your destined city, get a subway map app, it will help you tremendously. Google Maps are useful, but if you just quickly want to check the route or transfer or want to get a time schedule, subway apps are the best.
At the Airport 
Don’t spend too much on duty-free and be careful on luggage thieves. Don’t lose your passport or boarding pass (or both) or other important belongings. One time at an airport, I accidentally left my passport and my boarding pass in a restroom. A janitor found it and gave it back to me, but it was pure luck. This also happens after much shopping at the duty-free. Usually, they ask you to show them your boarding pass and, later on, everything gets messed up if you’re an untidy person.
Also, please be on time for boarding and don’t make other people wait just for you. It’s annoying.
At the Destination 
My policy while I’m abroad is not to risk. First, it’s a totally different country/environment. Second, the culture/people/quality of life is different. Don’t force yourself to spend a lot of money or don’t force yourself to go where you don’t want to go, and don’t eat what you don’t want to eat. Raw food and water are the top most dangerous things to put in your mouth. Also, local food that you can’t seem to guess it’s original form, some creepy street vendor …. Everything suspicious should be avoided in order to come back safe & sound. You might say, this is not fun, but actually, you can have fun without being crazy and taking all the risks, it’s just the matter of how mature you are.

In the worst case, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and other chain restaurants will save you. Be safe! If you’re not an active person, don’t try to go diving or indulging in sports activity all of a sudden, for the first time in decades. You are likely to break your bone or something and we don’t want that. Be well prepared and don’t risk!

Fortunately, I never had any troubles myself when traveling abroad. Most common are thieves, pickpockets, soliciting, and frauds. If a person approaches you for no reason, that’s a no-no sign. They may say how beautiful or handsome you look or how they lost their passport and need help or how they lost something or how something is very delicious and you should buy…all kinds of reasons to get your attention. Ignore! If they are truly lost, other people will help them. You don’t have to be a Saint. We are all sinners, after all. If you look stupid and stand there defenseless, you’ll 100% get sucked. Don’t go to the red-light district because “it looks fun and awesome”, there is a reason that area is called a red-light district. Finally, always check the taxi-rates and changes.
Major touristy spots tend to be relatively safe. Why? Because there are a lot of police officers patrolling around to protect us, stupid tourists, and usually, touristy places are full of high-energized tourists. Rural areas are scary places, where you can’t speak English and where there is no police. Don’t go to ghettos just to take that instagenic picture of yourself with poor children. It looks fake like your personality.
Take a rest if you’re tired. I know you went there not to rest or not to sleep, but you wouldn’t want to sightsee looking like a zombie and feeling like one. Plan ahead which places you want to visit and find an efficient way on how to tour around those spots. If you have an excessive time, try having an adventure within your hotel, use all the service they offer (swimming pool, bar, restaurant, spa, gym…etc) or have a meal near or in the hotel.
Before Returning to Your Home
Don’t bring back souvenirs that you (subconsciously know) will never use. Things that easily rot, easily leak inside your suitcase, or things that easily break (glass etc.) are big no-nos. Foods can be brought if put inside the suitcase, but I will not recommend. Some products are even prohibited to bring back such as meat products or fruits in Japan.
90% of the things you plan to buy are things you will never use. Are they really useful? Do they fit your decor? Do you look back at them from time to time as a souvenir? Think about these facts before you buy something. If no one asked you, specifically, and yet you are buying a souvenir just for that person, consider if that person really needs it.
Back Home
Welcome back and have some rest. Think back on your trip and look forward to your next one, which is definitely going to be better than this one.

Have a safe flight, Millennials

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