Adventure, great food, and lots of uncertainty. Traveling abroad sounds like fun but also just a little daunting…
We thought we were crazy when the idea struck us just over a year ago. It seems like forever with all the planning, all the research, and all the daydreaming, but we’re writing to you today from Taipei, Taiwan and want to share our tips for traveling abroad!
Figuring out where to go and what to do can be the hardest part about making the jump and traveling abroad. For us, it took a year of planning to decide which country we wanted to go to, what we wanted to do while we were there and even then, after we arrived, our plans completely changed. Traveling abroad requires flexibility and accepting the unknown.
Our traveling abroad adventure began when we arrived in Taiwan, eyes wide, ready to teach English. That didn’t last long. Upon arrival, and after meeting with a handful of schools, we decided that teaching English in Taiwan was not for us. We realized that we were never going to get the opportunity to travel as we desired.
Initiate panic mode!
Do we spend a year unhappily teaching English in a school or do we run home with our tails tucked between our legs and our confidence shattered? Neither!
Enter stage left: teaching English online.
We spent entire days researching and preparing for online English teaching jobs and it paid off. Now gainfully employed as digital nomads, we can look ahead to our future travels!
Whether you’re teaching English like us or just following your wanderlust, here are our 10 tips for traveling abroad:
1. Find Your Destination
Figure out where you want to go and what would make you happiest. If you love pasta and cheese then make your way to Italy. If you want your life to be an endless plate of soup dumplings then maybe Taiwan is right for you. Whatever your passion, whether it’s hiking mountains, trying exotic foods, or being part of a bustling and vibrant city, have a good feeling that where you’re headed is right for you.
Unfortunately, you can’t do much without it. It’s ideal to have a good amount saved so you can live and enjoy your time abroad. If you’re moving abroad then it might be a good idea to figure out a source of income before you go like blogging, teaching English or working remotely in your field. That said, there are plenty of travelers who have gone abroad with very little and had an amazing adventure. If you’re in the market for a great travel credit card then read our blog about top 5 credit cards for going abroad!
3. Just Book It
It’s only a thought in your head until you’ve booked that flight to start traveling abroad. You should probably know where you’ll be staying as well. Once that’s taken care of all you have to do is wait. And plan ahead, of course!
4. Wrapping Up Loose Ends at Home
Are you moving or just traveling abroad? Do you have pets and a household of belongings? Figure out what you want to do with all your crap if you’re moving. If you don’t see yourself coming back anytime soon then sell, donate or throw away everything you can and store the rest. This can be hard if you’re a sentimental hoarder like Darah. If you have some furry loved ones then send your pets to camp grandma and grandpa (or anyone willing to pet sit) like we did!
5. Staying Connected
If you’re traveling abroad and not taking the internet with you, we envy you. But for most travelers or expats, the internet is a necessity. It’s how we work abroad. It’s how we’re writing to you right now. Research phone plans with your carrier and your destination before you travel, and if you’re staying in an AirBnB like we are, verify the wifi with the host. It depends on the country, but unlimited high speed data plans in Taiwan have made our lives much easier and have done so for just $30 USD (per person) for one month. Stay tuned for an in-depth guide on the best U.S. Carriers to use abroad.
Make sure your passport won’t expire soon. Most countries only allow entry if your passport has more than 6 months left until it expires. It’s also important to research any country you may want to visit to see if they require you to apply for a visa before you leave. For those from the U.S., the Department of State website is a great resource.
There are three types of packing. Packing for backpacking, which requires no more than a week’s worth of clothes strapped to your back. Packing for moving, which varies from person to person and could include a suitcase or two of clothes and belongings meant for the long term. And packing for traveling, the least stressful of the three, involves just enough clothes for the period of time you will be gone. Try your best to not over pack! Trust us, it made our arrival in Taiwan a disaster.
Do research on the best travel insurance that will fit your needs for the period of time you’ll be traveling abroad. You don’t know what could happen, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have a credit card, check whether you have travel insurance through it but it might not cover everything you need. If you’re going to be working abroad then you’ll most likely get insurance through employment. We would’ve gotten good health insurance had we signed a contract with a school in Taiwan. However, in our case, we are independent contractors and it’s up to us to handle insurance.
9. Take a Deep Breath
You can do it! Easy for some, harder for others, going abroad evokes all kinds of emotions, especially if you’re moving. Wherever your destination, always keep your eyes out for other expats or friendly locals. They’re not hard to find! A smiling face or helping hand goes a long way in helping you settle in.
10. Have an Open Mind
Last but most assuredly not least, have an open mind and take on tomorrow with a positive attitude. You’re on an adventure so live it to the fullest! Don’t expect cultures to be the same as yours, embrace your surroundings and be a respectful foreigner.
We hope this short list will help you plan for your leap across the pond!
Comment below to share your experience with going abroad and don’t forget to subscribe for updates as we travel from country to country!
Like it? Pin it!