11 tips for a world-traveller (from a fellow world-traveller)

The world has become smaller and more global during the years. Sometimes people seem to change countries like socks, and I am no exception. According to my calculations, I have moved abroad nine times during my life. Once again I find myself preparing for a new stay abroad, this time a three-month internship at the Permanent Delegation of Finland to UNESCO in Paris, France. I am busy scanning documents, verifying that my insurance is valid and choosing between dresses to take with me. In other words: business as usual. But what have I learnt from my numerous stays abroad? What practical tips could I pass on to our readers, who might be going abroad in the near future? Below is a short list of practical things to consider for someone suffering of chronic wanderlust.

Experienced traveller Maaria Tirri

1. As a general rule: try to pack as light as possible. I often remove 1/3 of the things I originally planned to pack.

2. Have a separate saving’s account that cannot be accessed with a debit/credit card. In case your card gets stolen/copied, you will have some funds left.

3. Have at least two debit/credit cards and - if possible - two forms of identification (one passport and one identity card). If one goes missing or stops working, you have a back up.

4. Scan the most important documents and have them stored somewhere safe, for instance in your inbox.

5. Have a small pouch or fanny pack under your clothes where you can hide valuable things and documents; for instance some cash, one credit card and important contact information. In case all of your bags get stolen during your trip, you still have something left to get by.

6. Try to limit yourself to only luggage on your departure trip. Pack a lightweight and versatile bag into the luggage, which can then be used us hand luggage on your way back. Because you do always buy something during your stay, even if you promised yourself you wouldn’t!

7. A small digital travel scale is your best friend when traveling with low budget airlines. No ugly surprises at the airport after going on a mad shopping spree.

8. To find out where locals like to eat and spend time, simply ask. I have found some of my favourite restaurants, coffee shops and bars through stopping strangers on the street and asking them. They are usually very happy to help and tell about their favourite places.

9. To find out more about the place where you are going, utilize your acquaintances on social media, apps and Internet groups. For example Foodspotting is a good app for finding delicious dishes in your surroundings and Meetup groups enable you to find people interested in similar things, for instance food, languages, art or culture.

10. If you buy a souvenir, try to buy something you will use everyday. I bought a Parmesan grater from Italy and always when I use it, I think of my wonderful time there.

11. Be generous and helpful during your stay abroad. I have been helped on so many occasions abroad that I want to do the same for others. When I see someone struggling with their luggage, I ask if I can help them. If I see a group of people taking photos, I usually ask if they want me to take a photo of the whole group. They usually do.

And now, what are you waiting for? The world is waiting for you.

Maaria Tirri is a content provider for Europass.

Text: Maaria Tirri
Photo: Maaria Tirri

Maaria Tirri has had much experience of moving to foreign lands and relentlessly packing. In this piece, she wants to share some useful tips to our readers. You will never look at a Parmesan grater the same way.

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