There are two kinds of people: those who like to travel, and those who like to stay put. If you’re an overseas worker, you’ll most likely be the former. It would suck big time if you’re the type who hates being in an unfamiliar setting.
Travelling means being ready for strange situations
The art of being a savvy traveler starts with welcoming the different experiences that being away from home offers you. Your acumen when you’re not in your comfort zone will mean the difference between enjoying your overseas post or suffering the ordeal of an exile. Sometimes, your attitude will be the big difference. What will serve you the most, though, is using your wits and being streetwise.
Find out about the culture beforehand
Savvy travelers look comfortable even if it’s their first time in a place. Taking the time to know about the culture more than the views to be seen will make you become a great traveler. This will not detract from enjoying a new experience, but rather enhance it. It’s okay to see the world with wonder, but you don’t want to advertise to the world that you’re the new guy. You might even commit a faux pas that can land you in jail, and you don’t want that. Know about the do’s and don’ts of the country and what you can expect when it comes to food, as well.
My favorite travel writing is not one that involves instructions on how to get there. It’s also not the ones which tell you the most beautiful views in a place. It’s the one who tells about mundane things that are exotic in another setting. Think of those ubiquitous stacked tin lunchboxes that get delivered almost like clockwork in India but is unheard of in the Philippines. Ever heard of dates that are just begging to be plucked in median strips in the UAE but are only available in stores elsewhere? Think of all those Middle Eastern Souks redolent with pungent spices. How will you react to them? Will you be an annoying tourist who’s culturally deaf? Or will you be like an innocent child looking for new experiences? Having read about them beforehand will prepare you for the sight.
Read, read, read
Read a travel guide for the country that you’ll be going to. You might find it a bit pricey, but for the wealth of information it provides you, it will save you from committing mistakes with the local customs. They would have tested the best routes to take so you don’t need to. If this is not an option for you, there are a lot of online travel blogs that cover every possible destination in the world. The only issue is that these blogs will only have covered just a fraction of what the travel guide will give you.
Reading about the culture will make us understand where they’re coming from. We can’t impose our morals on a different person because what maybe acceptable for us is abhorrent for them. As the old saying goes, “you can’t judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.” It’s easy to make friends of our hosts if we’re not judgemental. Working in a different country is hard enough. We would need friends and making friends of locals is a very practical way of building a local network.
Prepare for the worst to become a savvy traveler
Being ready for the worst doesn’t mean you’re looking forward to disaster. It just simply means you are prepared for whatever life throws at you. It can be as simple as having pre-moistened towels/wet wipes in case of spills to having extra sets of clothing in your hand-carried luggage in case of flight delays. You’ll feel more empowered in dealing with situations that are out of your comfort zone if you have this mindset. Once you’re composed in unique circumstances, then you’ve become a savvy traveler.