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International travel can be as easy or hard as you make it. After much trial and error, I have a few tips to be safe, efficient and of course comfortable while on the move. If you’re heading overseas, for the love of all that is holy and good, do not pack any more than 50 pounds in your suitcase, no matter how long you’re staying. You will be thankful for this later (as will the people around you,) when you’re dragging your bag through an airport at 6am and lugging it through hoards of sweaty tourists or lugging it on a train with limited space. Another good reason to not load your suitcase up on the way is to allow room for clothes and gifts to fit for the flight/ride home. If you are a fashion-conscious person and enjoy looking good and having a variety of outfits when you visit new places like me, then welcome to the article. Pack outfits you know are:
And always dress for the climate and weather. Looking good, and not schleppy is pretty important if you’re in a foreign place. How you look can put out a message of what kind of person you are, as well become an element of your personal safety. For instance: if you dress like a tourist, (ie: fitness clothes, sports shoes, a shirt/hat with the name of your destination you got at the airport, weird under-the-shirt fanny pack that isn’t fooling anyone…) you are infinitely more likely to be taken advantage of. Not only will you be a bigger target by the criminals, and pickpockets that exist in every city, but by restaurants, shops etc. Dressing appropriately also lends some respect to the place and people around you who’s home you are visiting. Give some respect, and you will get some back. I have visited England, Italy, and Canada and they all have one thing in common… most people who are out and about do not wear souvenir t-shirts, or sweatpants.
In Fact, many people compared to the average American casual outing, look quite decent; nice jacket, pants, shoes etc. Italy is especially outfit conscious. Even for a pop down to the corner store, you never see anyone in sweats; always nice shoes, nice clean pants and a fashionable top or shirt… even the men have matching satchels. England is much the same… more umbrellas, however. Montreal is also the same; so close but culturally almost a world apart. If you are an inexperienced traveler and want to dip your toes into the diverse and amazing world we live in, I would recommend starting your journey in New York City. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere… that stands true when it comes to exploring foreign places. As I have visited NYC many times and I believe it gave me an advantage when it came to my overseas travels. I call this the ‘NYC Mindset’. Much of personal safety is common sense; know your route, charge up your phone, and if a situation feels wrong, it probably is. Don’t listen to the manners that have been driven into you, just do whatever you can to get away. When it comes to wallet safety, simply having a reliable bag or purse will do the trick. Try not to keep a wallet in your pocket- especially in the crowded sidewalks of NYC and the rest of the world, pickpockets will look for vulnerable pockets and bags to pick. I recommend having a small backpack or shoulder bag to keep your essentials in: umbrella, charger, water bottle, and wallet… maybe sunglasses and deodorant. Look for a bag with an inside sealable pocket- if that’s not available, there are bagliners that have many pockets built in (I recommend this the most.)
Some of the best bags are Fjallraven backpacks- they are small, extremely durable, unisex and trendy. They can be expensive, but are well worth the buy. They travel friendly and are the perfect shapes for all kinds of bag liners. Why bag liners? I will tell you dear reader- because even if you zip up and even lock your things up in your bag, the fabric of said bag can be cut. There have been instances of backpacks being slashed and their contents stolen whilst adorning the backs of travelers. Lastly, explore with confidence. If you are confident in your travels, your trip will go smoothly. Walking like you live in an area truly helps you experience the true essence of a place. You will find locals interacting with you, good places to eat, and friendly wonderful people.
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