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What to Know Before You Go: Part 2

As a world traveler who believes in always adding value, I shared Part 1 of trip planning essentials that EVERYONE should know before they take off on their respective adventures. With more people going ahead and into the world, I thought it would be helpful to continue with Part 2 of what I've called {in my best gameshow host voice}: What to Know Before You Go!

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Once you have gotten comfortable doing some basic travel research, you can graduate to the next level of information to know before you travel to a country. This is a continuation from Part 1, so be sure to check that out before tackling these next few tasks before you head out on your next trip!


6. Common Phrases in the local language

The Ugly American is a trope that I wrote about in a previous blog post that you should definitely read if you want to travel meaningfully. While no one expects fluent foreign language skills, a little effort really does go a long way in being perceived as caring about where you are. Luckily, with Google and translation apps you can be prepared to know some basics before or when you touch down. Phrases I always recommend knowing beforehand are:

  • Thank you

  • You’re welcome

  • Excuse me/pardon me,

  • How much is, and

  • Do you know where


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These are all things I ALWAYS look up how to say. Especially Thank you and excuse me. Manners are always looked upon nicely and so you should do a little of the legwork to know what these phrases look and sound like before visiting a new country! Even if you do not say it correctly, much like most humans interaction with one another—people feel much better when you've at least made the effort to try!


7. The Tipping Practice

How much do you leave, if anything? This is a must on the list of things to know, lest you get side-eyed for dining out and leaving nothing, or get chased by people who think you left money by accident (it goes both ways). Be sure to check the customary practice on tipping for wherever you are visiting


8. The National Dish/Food

Nasi Lemak Malay Dish, wrapped in pandan leaf
Nasi Lemak was a must try national dish of Malay origin, so tracked it down in Kuala Lumpur!

It is worth it to know something about the cuisine of a new country you will be visiting. Typically a national or traditional dish helps you learn more about that country. It also gives you something to try once you have arrived! Food always brings people together, and so this quick search will definitely help you with a little cultural and culinary orientation.


9. National Holidays, Festivals, Special Events

Although you may not be traveling during the times when a country has one of these, you can also plan your travels around a country’s national special events. Also, knowing about these before you go can help you anticipate things like store closures, parades, and social events that are related to a country’s national holiday or festival at the time. The more you know before you go, the more orientation you can have once you arrive.


For example, traveling to Japan during their Cherry Blossom season was one of the best decisions I ever made. While it was on my bucket list to visit at this specific time, experiencing it was beyond anything I imagined! I had Cherry Blossom ice cream (Who knew??! I surely did NOT, but was pleasantly surprised), Cherry Blossom bubbly, and really just took in lots of extra sights and activities related to the Cherry Blossom time period, that becomes like a festival really, in Japan.


10. A Country’s Specialty

Is the destination you are traveling to known for something unique, valuable, or special? This should be something you familiarize yourself with so that you can maximize your experience within a country. Being knowledgeable about a country’s specialty adds to the novelty of your experience, while also making souvenir shopping a bit more authentic than buying things you can find at home anyway. To find out a country’s specialty, you can either visit the country’s tourism page, do a Google search, or read travel blogs about the place to get a sense of what is unique to a country you are visiting. ***LIKE what you've read? SUBSCRIBE & share this post with a friend or on your social networks!


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