Here are six painfully boring things you could do before traveling overseas for the first time
- Check the weather and local temperature prior to leaving and take appropriate clothing. Six degrees Celsius is really chilly in a t-shirt and shorts.
- Check where the airport is, and what the best way might be to get from the airport to the accommodation you booked.
- Actually book some accommodation, particularly so if you’ll be arriving at 11 pm into a country you’ve never been, nor speak the language.
- Have some sort of map, anything
- Have some local currency, or at least check that your ATM card will work there.
- Don’t forget to buy that phrase book before you leave, it will be handy when you land late at night and there’s a limited staff on shift and none that speak English, particularly when you have no accommodation booked, no money, and no idea.
It was 2010, I had just arrived at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in southwestern China.
Don’t ask me, I don’t really have a coherent answer as to why. A yearning perhaps, set in the formative years spent watching the TV series Monkey and Bruce Lee movies, or perhaps the draw of adventure in a faraway land with a mysterious culture? Perhaps all of the above.
So, there I was. At 11.30pm on a chilly night in Chengdu, China. One dumb guy with no smartphone as they weren’t even a thing then, no map, no phrasebook, no local currency, no language skills, and no idea.