If you are anything like me, you might be scared, anxious, and excited to go traveling abroad somewhere else in the world. Luckily for me, I had some good friends and family that helped ease my nerves and give me some good travel tips. I want to take this opportunity to share a few of the things that I learned while abroad so that you can feel at ease when you go abroad!
1. You're going to have an opportunity to try foods from all over the world!
While traveling, I had the privilege of eating food from different regions in Spain, Switzerland, France, Italy, Malta, Morocco, and London. If you're going to be traveling abroad for a bit, there is no better time to eat than now! Try different foods you wouldn't normally eat, or try a traditional dish that the locals rave about!
2. Stop worrying about the carbs! You can jump right back into your diet when you get home.
YOU ARE IN FRANCE, LINDA! EAT THE DAMN MACAROON! Save the counting and tracking for home, if you are traveling abroad and only for a short period, indulge in things you normally wouldn't. I go to a local gelateria so often that I now have a loyal customer punch card because the owner recognized me. This actually makes sense in Spain because of the phrase: "Ya nos conocemos" which translates to "We already know each other." Now that's Spanish hospitality 101!
3. You are going to meet so many incredible people!
Wow, I cannot highlight this point enough because it made my travel experience so much more inviting and adventurous. You are going to meet so many amazing people from all over the world! I guarantee that one of the easiest ways of meeting new people while abroad is utilizing the kitchen in the hostel that you are staying in. Simply strike up a conversation with whoever comes in. In my eyes, food seems to be a universal language that brings people together, and it is so easy to get to know someone over a shared pot of spaghetti.
4. That hostel that got raving online reviews may turn out to be kind of sketchy...
Stained sheets? No blankets? Unclean showers? I've seen it all. If you absolutely cannot find another place to stay, remember to layer up when sleeping, keep you're things locked, and please wear something to protect your feet in the shower. (If you feel unsafe in your hostel, either let the desk person know, or please get yourself out of there!)
5. Oh the places you'll go!
Before coming abroad, I thought that I was just going to stay in the city in which I am studying. I was highly mistaken. In addition to going to Valencia, Sitges, and Seville, I also checked out London, Morocco, Malta, Naples, Switzerland, and France. If you have the ability to, check out some other places! Try checking out different nooks and crannies in the place that you are staying at too! Don't limit yourself!
6. You will, and I repeat, YOU WILL get lost in an airport at least one time.
Unless you are an expert at airport navigation, you will probably get lost at some point in your traveling journies! The thing that I learned? Don't be afraid to ask for help! Airports can be intimidating, and if you're in a rush, you can find yourself panicking trying to find where to check-in.
7. You will experience culture shock in some form.
Wait, I have to pay for water? Oh, America, the home of the free... water. There will be some instances where you scratch your head and think, "what did that salesperson just say?" A bit culture shock for me was that the eating schedules in Spain are so spread out that it gives the feeling of a longer day. Dinner, for instance, is around 8 or 9 p.m., and some nightlife locations such as clubs don't open until 2 a.m. and close at 6 a.m. It is important to acknowledge that there will always be cultural differences, but don't ever mock, humiliate, or dehumanize the people of that culture because their way of life is different than your own.