1) Your passport. This is the most important document you will carry with you when you are traveling. My first suggestion is to make 2-3 photocopies of your passport information and photo page. Keep ONE copy with you, separate from your original passport, and ONE copy with your parents. You could also scan it and email it to yourself. Why? If you should lose your passport or it is stolen from you, access to your passport information is at hand. You can visit the nearest embassy or consulate for assistance with a copy of your passport information. That will facilitate quicker issue of a temporary or new passport (or travel document). Of course, you don’t want or expect to lose your passport, but being prepared is always good. Also, registering with your embassy’s travel page to inform them you will be traveling is recommended in case of an emergency situation.
My second suggestion is to keep your passport ON YOUR BODY. By this, I mean either inside a neck-pouch that’s kept around your neck under your shirt or in a waist pouch around your waist. Your bags, small or large, can easily be snatched away from you or stolen unexpectedly, but by keeping your passport on your body, it will be safe because no one’s going under your clothes to take your passport, right? It may not be the most convenient, but it is safe.
2) Travel light and keep an eye on your bags. Traveling light is something guys don’t seem to have a problem with. Girls, on the other hand, well... Take the minimum number of heavy things (shoes, jeans, electronics, etc.) and anticipate buying some gifts, souvenir t-shirts, or other items, which will add luggage weight on your return trip. Whether you travel with one or more pieces of luggage, it’s always a good idea to regularly count your bags. If you are sitting in a waiting area, place your larger pieces between your legs. If anyone tries to snatch them, you will feel the movement. Losing anything while traveling is just a pain in the butt.
3) Don’t be shy about asking questions and using your English. English is the lingua franca for most travelers. You will come across many others who are EFL or ESL speakers, as well as native English speakers. Regardless, being able to converse and confidently ask questions when you are traveling is practically essential. Remember, your English does NOT have to be perfect. It’s okay to make a mistake. Try to communicate well enough to be understood and confirm that your inquiry was received as intended.
4) If you will be staying in a foreign country for more than a week, it may be a good idea to purchase a local SIM card for your phone to avoid high cost roaming charges.
5) Additionally, reserving tickets for tourist attractions ahead of time may save you time standing in line. You can always request your place of accommodation to print your tickets.
6) If you are a student, getting an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) card may be worthwhile as well. It is relatively inexpensive and can save you money on accommodation (youth hostels), travel (train tickets, Eurailpass), tourist attractions, and much more. Visit ‘https://www.isic.co.kr’ for more information.
7) Finally, be wary of strangers. Trust your first instinct. Many travelers are like you, there to see new places and experience a different country. However, there are people out there who take advantage of travelers. It’s important to not be overly friendly with people you meet.
Wherever you go, and whatever you do and see this summer, have a wonderful time, seize the day -- carpe diem!