Step 1: Find the top things to do in the country
I usually start by googling for example “things to do in Thailand” and I sift through multiple sites and make a list of the places I want to see. One good place to search is google’s “Things to do” at the top of the search results; google even provides day trips that others have suggested. Once you find the places you want to check out, go to TripAdviser and see what other travelers have said about the location. You may find out that the place really isn’t worth going to, or what to watch out for while being there. Don’t forget to write down if the places have an entry fee and their hours!
Ex. Lets say we are going to Bangkok, Thailand
Places to Visit
Step 2: Plan your route
Now that your research is done, lets make a plan so that you spend less time commuting and more time adventuring and taking in the sights. Open up google maps and start entering in the places you want to see. Soon enough you’ll have a general idea of the area where those sites are. This helps for two reasons: 1. Now you know where to stay if you want to stay close to the attractions. 2: Now you can plan each day and have a general idea of how far everything is from each other.
Ex. We map the previous examples locations
Step 3: Inform yourself of common scams and learn some of the local language
A mistake first time travelers make is not informing themselves of scams that are targeted towards tourists. From over priced taxis, to fake tourist spots. You’ll save a lot of time and money and thank me later, by doing this step. Sometimes even knowing a few local words can also be helpful.
Ex. Bangkok, Thailand
An Expensive Taxi ride:
The driver accidentally forgets to turn on the meter, and asks for a large sum of money. Always ask before you enter a taxi if they use the meter, if they say no, just look for another taxi.
Tuk Tuk Driver Suggestions/ Tourist Route:
For a small fee, your driver says he can take you to some nice places. What happens is he stops at tailors, souvenir shops and tourists offices, which are usually overpriced. Why? If you buy something, he gets a commission.
Never hand over your Passport:
Big rule of thumb, NEVER HAND OVER YOUR PASSPORT when renting motorbikes. Keep scans of it to use instead.
Sa-wat dee – hello (Used for both hello and goodbye)
Khop koon – thank you
Gee baht? – how much
Yoo tee nai…? – where is… (Essential for all the shopping- )
Mai ow – don’t want (Just point at a place on your map)
Khor tort – sorry (Useful for fending off persistent street vendors)
Step 4: Look into local customs: Do’s and Dont’s
Although in most places foreigners are forgiven for their indiscretions, it’s good to know some of the rules and customs before being a guest in someone else’s home.
Ex. Bangkok, Thailand
Do’s and Dont’s :
Step 5. Pack your essentials!
Packing is just as important as planning! One of the most important things is to see what power outlet type is used in the country to plan to visit, alternatively buy a universal power converter.
- Basic Toiletries: Toothbrush, Travel size: toothpaste, shampoo, contact solution, personal care items. Don’t forget liquids should be less than 100 ml and fit in a clear quart sized bag.
- Power Bank and Charging Cords: Keep your devices charged on the go.
- Day Backpack: So you can carry that days essentials.
- Money Belt: Keep your extra money hidden.
- Power Converter/Adapter: Not all countries use the same power plug.
- Medicine: Dramamine – for motion sickness, Pepto Bismo- for upset stomach, Alka Seltzer – for upset stomach and altitude sickness
- Scans of your passport and id: Sometimes to rent bikes and motorcycles, a passport is required, hand over a copy and never the original.
- Water Bottle: Stay hydrated when you travel, we may forget to drink water.
Step 6. Have your documents ready
Some countries require visas and proof of entering and exiting the country, so have paper copies of important documents like your passport, visas and flights on hand. Save yourself the hassle of trying to find them and just have them ready