In sports, they say the best defense is a good offense. When it comes to homeownership, common wisdom suggests that preventative maintenance is preferable to emergency repairs. And in school, you’re better off studying a little every night than cramming it all in the day before a big test.
Being proactive is beneficial for a lot in things, and travel is no different. One of the keys to having an enjoyable trip is preparing ahead of time.
Sure, if you’re just driving to South Carolina to look at Charleston houses for sale, you might not need to do as much research as if you were taking a transcontinental flight to East Asia. Whatever your destination, though, it helps to be informed about where you’re going, what it’s like, and who the locals are.
Find Out What Kind of ID You Need
First and foremost, it’s important to make sure you have any and all legally required documents with you, as well as access to ones that might otherwise be helpful. For the former, this could mean a driver’s license, passport, visa, vehicle registration, vehicle insurance, and/or vaccination record. For the latter, this could mean medical records, plane tickets, hotel reservation confirmations, purchase receipts, and more.
Look Up Information on the Climate
Are you going somewhere hot or cold? Do you have to worry about rain or snow? What about heat exhaustion? The answers to these questions and more will have a huge impact on what you decide to bring with you when traveling, what your plans will be once you reach your destination, or even whether it’s advisable to go there at all. You may want to avoid Florida during hurricane season, for example, or India during monsoon season.
Know Where to Find the Essentials
Food. Water. Shelter. Safety. These are the things human beings cannot do without. No matter where you go, you’ll need to make sure things are accounted for and accommodated. Look up hotels, camp sites, and other lodging options in the area. Find the addresses for local markets and restaurants. Write down or memorize the contact information for emergency services such as paramedics, police, firefighters, and embassies.
Investigate Cultural Norms & Taboos
Being a visitor in a different state or country is a lot like being a guest in someone’s house. You expect courtesy and respect from them, and they expect it from you. More importantly, when you’re under someone else’s roof, you’re under their rules. That’s why it’s incumbent upon you to delve what does and does not constitute acceptable public behavior. In Japan, for example, guests are expected to remove their shoes when entering someone’s house. In Germany, eating with hands is frowned upon; even burgers and pizza require utensils.
Check the News for Current Events
You may think you know everything there is to know about where you’re going, especially if you’ve been there before already. But do you know what it’s like there right now, at this very moment? Things can change surprisingly fast in this world, so if you’re going to travel it you should know what’s happening in the news. Was there recently a natural disaster? What’s the political situation? Are the streets and hotels flooded with tourists? Failing to ask such questions could result in you receiving a nasty surprise.