What to know when you go to a new destination
You step outside the airport and it’s all different. From climate to clothing, architecture to street life … all unfamiliar. At first it’s exciting, but as the initial thrill passes, you may find the strangeness discomforting and a bit scary. This is called culture shock, and it is so commonly experienced by first-time travelers that there are tried-and-true ways to make help you overcome it.
The best way to deal with culture shock is to understand it before you go travel and to know how to overcome it.
Stay in Touch with Home Speak to and email your friends and family. Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, for example, are all free and you can be in touch with home as often as you like.
Read about your Host Country Before traveling, it is best to do some research about the city and the country where you will be visiting. Knowing more about your destination means your expectations become more reality-based.
Make your Stay as Comfortable as Possible Some of the ways you can do this are to ensure your domestic arrangements are safe and as homely as possible and your budget is under control.
Be Active and Involved When you’re in a place, stay active and join in with the locals to practice yoga, or a fun-run, a soccer match. Physical activity wards off depression and indulging your interests enables you to connect with like-minded people.
Make Friends The friends you make and your travel companions will determine to a large extent the quality of your experience abroad. Be prudent about your choice of companions. If you are traveling for some time with them, you should know them enough to know you share similar approaches to travel, interests and daily habits and routines. Give each other space.
Get to Know Local Stores and Services Know who and what’s around you – the streets, shops, restaurants, museums, parks and public transport. Also, check prices at several locations before you buy goods and services.
Watch TV, Go to Movies, Theater, Music Concerts Gain an insight into the culture and the daily lives of inhabitants with whom you are sharing your temporary home. Not only does this make everything about your experience more interesting, it enhances you appreciation of the difference and makes the culture less alien.
Be a Local Befriend your local deli owner, mailman, supermarket check-out and participate in local events. Join community outreach events, go to local fairs and markets and support community events – it’s not only fun but a chance to really get to know members of your community and find out about their lives, their concerns, their interests.
- Grab every opportunity that presents itself.
- Go travel to places near and far
- Make many friends.
- You can’t plan everything, but that is what makes life more interesting!
- Be wise about money and budgeting but treat yourself occasionally.
- Have fun and don’t leave regretting opportunities you passed on!