There are only 2 words you need to learn in almost any language to endear people:
If you can’t learn those words for the country you’re travelling to as a tourist, or you don’t at least try to them, then to be honest you should stay home.
And don’t complain about the hospitality of the host nation.
English may be the de facto universal language of the travelling world now, but 99% of the people in the world are good, kind people and appreciate a “hello” and “thank you” in their own language.
If nothing else, at least smile and try to show a friendly attitude.
Commanding attitude, arrogance, ignorance and self-importance just get you spit in your soup.
And a little small talk – even if you can only do it in English (or your native tongue) – goes a long way to create a bond that shows others you’re worth serving.
Try also learning:
Yes [thank you]
No [thank you]
Again, simple and common words.
That’s 5 words in total to learn that show you have put some effort into understanding and respecting the people you have chosen to visit.
And in case you don’t realise, all of the above applies when communicating with people in your everyday life.
Checklists and tips from many years of experience travelling within the country and overseas.
Travel and Packing Tips
- Buy different size packing cells and pack your clothes, electronics and loose items into these. You bag stays organised and clothes tend to crinkle less.
- Get to the airport or train station early. There’s nothing worse than starting a trip (or leg of a trip) stressed and rushing to the departure point.
- Split your money. Keep backup money/credit card in your luggage (or hotel room safe) when you’re at your destination.
- Scan or photocopy your passport and travel documents. I’ve never needed to use a scan but a back-up is a relief.
- When travelling overseas
- Scan or photocopy your password, travel document and itinerary and give it to your parents/relatives/best friend in case of emergency.
- Check you’re nations overseas advisory service (e.g. smarttraveller in Australia).
- Check the visa requirements for your destination country well before time.
- Place spare socks inside your shoes. It makes good use of dead space and saves the toes of shoes from caving in/crinkling.
- Take a power board on all trips. In most hotels power points are hard to access (e.g. behind the bed or couch) and there are never enough outlets to charge multiple devices (especially when travelling with a partner and you have phones, tablets and cameras requiring a recharge).
- Buy portable batteries to recharge phones and tablets.
- I have a Cygnett ChargeUp Ultra 20000mAh power bank which gives up to 10 phone recharge, ideally for my wife and I for long waits in the airport or long periods away from power.
- I also a lighter weight Cygnett ChargeUp Rapid 5000mAh for when I need spare power but don’t want to lug a brick around (I always have one of these in a bad or nearby, even at work).
Before the Flight Check-In
- Remove multi-tool from my wallet (put it in check-in).
- Remove any sharp items from carry-on bags (put it in check-in).
- Make sure carry-on liquids meet regulation.
Before Boarding Flights
- Any items you want easy access to while seated, place them in a small packing cell or sling bag and keep separate from your normal carry-on. That way while boarding you can through your loose items on your seat, chuck your carry on in the overhead bin, and not hold up everyone else. It also keeps all your loose items together and easy to find.
- Buy a bottle of water. Extra water can be a lifesaver, especially if you need it and air staff cannot serve you immediately.
Packing Checklist (mixed national and international)
- Passport and Visas
- Cash and credit card
- Electrical / Electronics
- Packing cells (small, medium and large)
- Place socks inside shoes.
- Face wipes/wet wipes
- Currency for each country visited.
- Small denomination currency for tips, beverages.
- Spare batteries
- Battery charger
- SD card reader
- Cleaning Cloths