5 Experienced Travel Tips For The Wanderlust Novice
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5 Experienced Travel Tips for the Wanderlust Novice

You'll be confidently strutting down those cobblestone streets in no time.

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5 Experienced Travel Tips for the Wanderlust Novice
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Going abroad for a semester has so far been the highlight of my time in college -- so much so, that I'm going back a second time! My departure date is quickly approaching, and I've begun getting ready for my program, dusting off all my travel necessities and refreshing myself on how to fit a semester's worth of clothes in a single carry-on. In the midst of compiling all my travel-size toiletries and cool, flowy clothing, I've also compiled all my past travel experiences and learning curves. Here are some of the best:

1. Pack Light

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I pride myself in not being too high-maintenance, but when I first went abroad and was told I was only allowed one suitcase for the semester, I may or may not have had some extent of an existential crisis. Now, for my second time around, I'm choosing to pack just as light. When you're constantly on the go, hoping to pack in as many sights and cool adventures as possible, you don't want your stuff to be weighing you down -- literally. Save yourself the stress of having to lug three suitcases through narrow cobblestone alleyways every time you switch hotels and can't afford a cab, and pare it down to the essentials.

2. Pack Smart

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You'd be surprised how much you can fit in one bag once you know what you're doing. When I left for my first trip abroad, I felt like my suitcase was going to burst. By the time I got home, I had managed to squeeze everything plus new clothes, a new pair of shoes, souvenirs, and an entire bottle of wine in that same bag.

Two packing tips I found especially helpful were to roll my clothes and invest in a set of packing cubes. Packing cubes keep your clothes organized, and the rolling technique helps save space and makes it easy to see and grab what you need from your suitcase.

3. Take Care of Your Own Needs

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My mom has drilled this into my head for so long that's it's finally becoming true. Although there are stores and access to most everything you would need abroad, there are some things that are better to come prepared with. Bring a small Ziploc bag of dry laundry detergent in case the laundromat is far away or expensive -- you'll be glad to have access to clean socks, and doing laundry in the sink may just be a right of passage for any seasoned traveler. Instead of expecting every hostel to provide you with a towel, bring your own. I have a quick-dry camping towel that's small, efficient, and easy to pack. Come stocked with any medicines or other necessities you can't live without, including candy and snack food -- you never know when homesickness can be cured by the familiar flavors of Cheetos and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

4. Research Ahead of Time

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The worst feeling is being lost or confused about important plans without an easy way to resolve the issue or answer the question. Instead of trying to blindly find your hotel once you arrive, look up directions ahead of time, including public transit and screenshots of maps in case you don't have an international data plan. Maps.me is a great resource for navigation -- before arriving, you can download cities and have access to fully functional maps and navigation without needing wifi or data.

Also, researching your destination ahead of time leaves more time to do the fun things you've heard all about. You may even discover a unique event or festival in your area that you wouldn't have otherwise.

5. Live a Little

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Although there's a lot to take care of before and when you're abroad, don't forget to enjoy where you are. Even if your wallet is stolen, you realize the bus took you to the wrong side of town, or it's a rainy day, everything always works out, and nothing should take away the memories awaiting you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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