Thanksgiving and Winter Break is coming up soon for students so if you are traveling to another country for the first time, here are some things that I would keep in mind! These tips came to mind while I was in China and Japan over the summer.
1. Don't bring that many clothes (especially if you know you'll be buying quite a lot)
If one of your goals while traveling is to buy a lot of clothes, souvenirs, food, etc, I would cut back on bringing a lot of clothing. Plus, you can also hand wash your clothes.
1.5 Hygiene products can always be bought anywhere so don't worry too much about forgetting to bring them
Going along with the things that you don't need to bring too much of: hygienic products. Unless you have a certain condition like eczema or need certain medication, the basic stuff like toothpaste and toothbrush can be bought anyway so if you really need to lighten your load, I would say don't pack some of those things.
2. Bring the right shoes
This one is probably a given but being a tourist is no easy feat. Be prepared to walk a lot so bring some durable shoes. It's also important to bring more formal but still comfortable shoes for pictures and things like that. Also, bring your own slippers for hotels and indoor other people's homes just because you don't want to dirty their floor too much.
3. Download stuff beforehand and plan to get something you need before entering country
This pertains to certain items that you know would be difficult to find in the country. For example, in China, it's rather inconvenient to download things from the Internet since they regulate the internet a lot ––and I mean A LOT–– and so most for
4. Learn some important phrases & words, of course
Definitely a given! Take some time before your trip ––it doesn't even have to be a long time–– such as bringing some phrases on the airplane to look over.
5. Book hotels (and events) early
Especially if you are traveling during the summer or winter break, it is important to book hotels or Airbnb rooms and get tickets for events way in advance since a lot of other people will be traveling at the same time.
Being able to plan events is an important skill to have so practice it while planning a trip! Outline a rough plan of places you want to visit and activities you'd like to do.
6. Learn how addresses & transportation system works
This is not something that I've thought about before I went traveling but the reality is that there isn't a universal format for an address. So this is something important to learn in advance! Usually, by using a GPS of some sort, you can get by, but it's better to be aware than to be sorry.
7. Buy a cable converter in advance if you can
I had a hard time finding one when I was in Japan and China (actually might have been that I wasn't looking in the right places but still more convenient to have on hand. You don't want your phone or laptop dying on you, and if you are bringing any electrical appliances you want to make sure it will work in another country!
8. If you are paying for a hotel room online, make sure your hotel accepts foreign passports
If you yourself don't have an ID and you don't know anybody that has an ID from the country that you're traveling in, this one is especially important. This was a problem for me and my mom in China, but thankfully my mom has friends in China. I'm not sure if this occurs in other countries but it wouldn't hurt to make sure.
9. Be friendly to other travelers you meet
You never know when you're going to meet your next life-long friend, business partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.
Lastly, don't forget to be safe and have fun! Don't let the small troubles bog you down. The reason you're traveling is to have a good time, so make the best of it!