Don’t Leave Home Without These 5 Things

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jul 01, 2013 / 0 comments

Travel (especially international travel) is exciting, scary, exhilarating, confusing, joyful, and challenging. Does that sound crazy? But it’s true – just as when you’re at home, nothing is ever perfect. People have bad days, accidents happen, the weather is crazy, you get sick – whether you are on the road, or at home. But there are things you can do to maximize the joy in your journey, and minimize the challenges. If you’re prepared, and don’t leave home without these 5 things, you’ll be prepared to experience the best the world has to offer. Take a look…

1.    Language. When you’re heading somewhere that speaks a different language, please brush up on at least the bare minimum that you will need to get by (bathrooms, please, help, how much, etc.). If you can, spend time learning the language before you go – it will make your experiences that much richer. Yes, people speak English in many, many places around the world. But by showing the locals that you care enough about their country – and them – to learn the language, you will increase those interactions that mean most, when you get home. Travel isn’t about the attractions – it’s all about the people. Honor being in their country by interacting with them in their language, to the best of your abilities.


Language Learning


2.    Your financial business sorted out. Understand how you will access and spend your money ( Please have enough money to cover your expenses, AND have some in the bank for when you get home. Have multiple ways of accessing your money – through several different banks (and credit/debit cards). Call your banks and notify them where and when you’ll be traveling, so that they don’t stop payment because of suspicious activity. Use cards with no transaction fees and excellent exchange rates.  Know what currency to use, and when.


Sorting Asian and US currency


3.    All your medicine (and some important contact information). Be sure to travel with both the medicine you need, and a copy or photo of your prescription. Have your pharmacy and doctor information in several places (your phone, in an email, and with your contact person at home). Before you go, the CDC advises you to find a doctor where you’ll be traveling – find some excellent heath resources here. Be sure to take your medicine in your carryon – don’t pack it in your luggage! If you have severe medical issues, be sure to wear a Medical Alert bracelet with the pertinent information.


4.    Insurance. Following up on #3, you NEVER know what will happen. It’s always better to be prepared, in case of emergency. We’ve all heard stories about people using evacuation insurance for loved ones that have passed away overseas, or have accidents that require someone to be moved to a different country for better health care. Even if your home plan covers some things, they won’t cover them all. Look at all of the options that are there – like travel insurance from Debenhams – and choose the plan that is best for you. I recommend, no matter what level of insurance you get, to include evacuation and medical insurance in your plan.


5.    A curious mind and a good attitude. Why do we travel? It will change us in more ways than we can ever know. It will bring us friends, experiences, joy, and the ability to learn more about ourselves and others. If you travel with a curious mind, you’ll not only visit a place, but LEARN about it. You’ll want to learn the history, culture, food, and get inside the place like locals do. When you travel with a good attitude, you’re able to take the inevitable bumps on the road, weather them well, and turn them into stories you’ll tell the rest of your life. And, you’ll increase intercultural understanding, by learning about and with other cultures. I can’t think of any better reason to travel – than to make the world smaller, one friendship at a time.


Thai costume