Traveling isn’t as simple as it once was. If you’re a Millennial, you’ve probably heard your parents tell a tale of backpacking through Europe or finding a way to do a cross country trip with their friends with relative ease.
Traveling like that in 2017 can be dangerous, or at the very least, really expensive. Traveling is never kind to the unprepared, either. Whether it’s booking your hotel in advance, or arming yourself with the Western Union® app to have access to cash, preparation is key. So be prepared.
Here are 9 rules to traveling every Millennial should follow:
1. Do research the customs of your travel destination.
Practices vary from nation to nation and from region to region. To avoid being perceived as rude, don’t leave without learning the basic courtesies of your travels. For example, in France, tips are built into the bill but in the Netherlands tips are not. The same action would be perceived very differently in the two cultures. If you’re renting a car, it will also be valuable to know at least basic road rules and practices of the specific country.
2. Do make an itinerary.
When planning a trip, it’s likely that there are a million things you want to do but you might not have time for them all. Planning out your days is the best way to make sure that you’re making the best use of your time, allowing you to experience as much as possible. With that being said, don’t be afraid to detour from your itinerary. There’s a plethora of unique experiences waiting off the beaten path.
3. Do learn at least a couple useful phrases.
It is always appreciated when tourists make an effort to respect foreign culture by attempting to speak the native language. Beyond that, English is not spoken and understood throughout the globe. To effectively order meals and navigate through foreign cities, don’t leave home without a couple of basic phrases.
4. Do have access to money.
You're going to need money, and the only thing worse than not having cash, is not having a way to get more.
Many foreign shops and restaurants only accept cash. There are ways to easily send someone cash using your phone or have someone (a.k.a. Mom) send you cash using their phone.
The Western Union app is an easy way to transfer money to and from places all over the world. With this game-changing app, you (or a life-saving friend or family member) can quickly and conveniently transfer money for cash pickup with the tap of a finger.
5. Do consider skipping the fancy hotel.
Depending on where you’re traveling, there can be many benefits to not handing over an arm and a leg for sleeping accommodations. The less you spend on a bed, the more you can spend on activities. Plus, travelers usually spend only sleeping hours in their room anyways. Hostels and room renting sites offer an authentic look into the city that hotels do not, so skip the fancy hotel this time around.
6. Don't forget to alert your bank of travel dates.
Always notify your bank when you’re traveling. Because your account activity is originating from somewhere unusual, your tourist purchases will often cause your card to be flagged as stolen, halting your purchasing ability and money flow.
7. Don't say no to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Zip-lining over a forest? Dancing with locals? Sunset cheers from a sailboat? If there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, try it. When you’re looking back, you don’t want there to be anything you wish you would have done. So do it all.
8. Don't limit yourself to touristy destinations.
Tourist destinations are popular for a reason. Many of the world’s top destinations are worth visiting, but don’t limit yourself to them. The best experiences often come from wandering off the beaten path to a hole-in-the-wall eatery or observing the culture from a local’s favorite spot. Thankfully, travelers before you have done the exploring and many of these hidden gems can be found with a quick Google search.
9. Don't forget a map.
I know the idea of carrying a paper map probably makes you cringe but it’s a necessity. Even if you are lucky enough to have an international data plan, maps and service can be very spotty. Not having some form of a map could be what prevents you from maximizing your travel experience.
No one likes following the rules, but no one likes unknowingly ruining their vacation because they forgot something simple like remembering to bring cash along. It may be 2017, but you never know when someone is going to turn your plastic away. The Western Union app allows you to travel with the peace of mind that you have access to cash virtually anywhere.