Last week I put up Tips for Travel Part 1, and I split it into a few different parts. The reasoning? It was a little long for one post. Here’s part 2.
Climate is an important thing to consider when you’re planning a trip to somewhere you haven’t gone before. Traveling to new areas can bring a whole host of problems. Will your destination be hot? Cold? Take a look at weather maps for the time of year you’re planning, or possibly for a couple of months prior to your desired arrival date. Figure out what kind of clothing you need to pack. You don’t want to make the mistake of showing up in hot weather with a snow coat, or showing up in cold weather with a wardrobe that screams “tropical island”.
Aside from the weather, you’ll also need to take a look at the political and social climate of the area you’re heading to. You’ll need to take into account a few things:
- What is the political climate like?
- Are things at relative ease?
- Are tensions high?
- Is the area in conflict?
- How stable is the country I’m planning to go to?
- Is it safe for foreigners?
Researching these questions, and anything else you can wrack your brain for is going to save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run, and you’ll be more prepared to deal with what ever difficulties come your way in the end. When you’re in unknown territory, being caught unaware of situations can be one of the most upsetting things for a traveler.
Just because a certain type of clothing is appropriate for you at home doesn’t mean it’s appropriate in all places. I’ve got a list of things for you to consider when looking into clothing. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, but more things to keep in mind as you pack.
Unacceptable things in other countries:
- North Korea: Long Hair for men, trousers for women.
- Sudan: Trousers for women, makeup for men.
- Saudi Arabia: Bare skin for women, cross-dressing for men.
- France: Muslim women’s headwear (Niquab’s, Burqa’s).
- Uganda: Miniskirts
- China: Expensive Jewelry is frowned upon, most people wear jewelry sparingly.
Here in Canada, it’s completely acceptable to wear things like spaghetti straps, halter tops, and low-cut shirts, but in places like Japan, this is seen as a little risque. Wearing these types of clothing will most likely get you stared at, yet wearing things like mini-skirts or shorter length skirts is seen as completely normal there.
One thing to keep in mind is that trends and fashion change over time, and with different generations. It never hurts to take a look and see what people are wearing at your destination of choice. The idea is to blend in with the locals. The less you’ll stand out, the more favourable you’ll be seen, generally. People in other places will usually recognize that you’re trying, and will appreciate the effort.
Communication is a huge part of travel. You need to know how to communicate effectively when you’re out and about in order to get what you need, and get where you’re going. These days, smartphones are amazing things. They are definitely a tool you can utulize when you’re traveling, but as good as they are, I wouldn’t recommend relying on them for 100 percent of your needs.
When you’re in a place that doesn’t speak a language you do, it’s never a bad idea to spend some time before you go picking up a few phrases to help you get through things. These phrases might include but are not limited to (in no particular order):
- Where is the bathroom?
- How much does this cost?
- Speak slowly, please.
- I do not understand.
- Do you speak (insert language you speak here)?
- Thank you.
- My name is _.
- Do you have a map?
- I need help.
- Where is the hospital?
- Please call the police.
- I need a doctor.
- I’m having an emergency.
While verbal communication is definitely something you need to concentrate on, you also need to keep an eye on the non-verbal aspect as well. This includes things like body language, posture, and gestures. Non-verbal communication can tell people a lot about you, and can put people off of communicating with you if you don’t appear approachable. In certain cultures, one gesture might be okay, while it’s considered rude in another. As a quick example, here’s a list of 5 simple hand gestures that can land you in hot water outside of Canada and the United States.
That’s pretty much it for this week. Next week, I’m talking briefly about the topics of medical and legal!
See you on the road!