Very few things in life could be considered as fun and inspiring as travel. When you’re out there on the road, you learn about yourself and who you are as a person, more than any other experience could provide. Then there’s the joy brought on by discovering what the world has to offer, from ancient, rich histories to majestic natural landscapes. There’s something fulfilling in seeing what other cultures have to offer, and in mingling with people of different backgrounds and getting to know them. Each country you travel to is different from the next, and with each experience, you grow as a person and become more tolerant and accepting. But that doesn’t mean you should go anywhere though, not before you thoroughly research the place you want to visit. Here’s why you should always do research before traveling.
Believe it or not, no country in the whole world has a passport, capable of granting you access to every other one out there. So, it’s crucial you do your homework and research if you need a visa for said place or not. And if you do, you’ll have to dig a bit deeper to find out about the visa requirements, from papers to government authorizations. Some countries might be off limits, for instance, or you can’t have that particular stamp on your passport because it might cause trouble in other countries, and so on.
Let’s face it, no matter how stunning the country you’re going to be, the weather makes a difference. Some people plan their future trips based on just how hot or cold that city they’re going to is going to be. In any case, even if you don’t mind extreme weather conditions, it’s still important to do your homework because that is how you’ll know what clothes to pack –– you definitely don’t want to be caught in the London rain without an umbrella and a coat. It’s also crucial in case you’re going to a cold country where you’ll need some heavy clothing.
Since you’re definitely not getting on a plane and travelling hundreds of miles just to stay in a hotel, you’ll want to know where all the cool places in the country are. This is probably the most important angle of your pre-trip research because it will determine what your itinerary would look like. You can check travel websites, online magazines, a travel photography blog, and so on, to get insights into what you could there. You need to learn about the most important places to visit where you’re going, but that will also depend on what kind of traveler you are. If you’re more into the cultural or artistic side of a country, look for museums, galleries, monuments, and so on. Nature lovers and serenity aficionados would rather look for landscapes and mountains, national parks, rivers, and every other natural wonder you could get your hands on. In any case, do your homework and do it well, because you only have limited time in each country and you want to make the most of it. So, you need to have a clear plan before you get there.
When it comes to food, there are two kinds of travelers. The first doesn’t really care about the cuisine of the country they’re visiting –– they could have canned food for the duration of the trip for all they care. While that option saves money and the expenses of trying different meals where you’re going, it definitely won’t sit well with the second kind of travelers. There are those who embark on culinary quests in each country they visit, looking to explore the local cuisine and all it has to offer. If you happen to be of the latter kind, you definitely need to do your homework before you go. Research about the kind of food you can expect, best restaurants, hidden gems, kosher meals, and so on is mandatory if you plan on eating in the country you’re visiting. And it’ll also save you a lot of head scratching when you get there.
Dos and don’ts
This one’s also pretty important. You have to learn about the laws and regulations of the country you’re visiting, because the last thing you want is to end up in a jail cell for offending national beliefs or something. You might think to yourself that you’ll just be a normal law abiding citizen like you are in your own country, but you need to understand that different places have different rules. For instance, it’s illegal to chew gum in Singapore –– as a tourist, if you bring along more than two packs, you can go to prison with the charge of gum smuggling! So, travelers, beware.
Some people make the mistake of going to a country with plans to wing it when it comes to transportation, which is a big mistake. You need to have a pretty clear idea how the transportation network works where you’re going, especially if you plan on moving from one city to another. How can I get from city A to B? Do I take a bus, taxi, plane, or what? These are questions you have to research before you travel because they’ll make your life so much easier. You should also learn about public transportation within the city and how good it is –– maybe it’d be better if you rented a car and drove yourself around.
If not for anything else, you should do tons of research before you travel to make the best financial arrangements possible. That starts with trying to find the best flight ticket for the cheapest price. Then you have a ton of digging to do when you’re looking for decent accommodation that won’t break the bank and would be exactly how you want it to be. You also need that research so you could come up with a budget for your trip –– going there with what money you have and hoping for the best is probably a bad idea. Once you’ve covered all the angles and researched all the details, you can learn how much exactly this trip would cost you and what you should expect in terms of money.