Traveling to Asia has become a popular destination due to its affordable prices and immensely diverse cultural, culinary, and visual experiences.
With more than 17 million miles to explore, and 4+ billion people to meet, a trip to an Asian country is perfect for those wanting something unconventional in their travels.
Likewise, Asia is a perfect destination for those seeking retirement, surgery, and business opportunities. Whatever your intentions — let’s dig into how you can prepare, staying safe, and how to enjoy your time to its fullest.
Your Trip to Asia: 3 Big Items to Check-off
Every travel experience is different but there are some things you can do prior to get the most out of the journey. And, protect yourself from the one-off troubles you could run into along the way.
Here are a few tips for your travels to Asia:
- Pack Light: Country hopping is especially easy in Asia with cheap public transportation and flights. You’ll want to pack light so you’re not bogged down by luggage. Second-hand stores and currency arbitrage are your friends if you need something temporarily.
- Get the Visas: Many Asian countries require visas upon arrival but a few — like the ever-popular Thailand — are free to enter. It’s smart to plan your trip around visa requirements so you’re not left paying hefty fines or facing legal issues.
- Understand the Culture: It’ll be a culture shock upon arrival, no doubt, which you may curb by learning the culture before the trip. Take time to read the country’s history, current politics, and laws. Watch travel shows, trip blogs, YouTube creators, and forums so you’re not disrespectful.
Just these three will allow you incredible flexibility and freedom to get off the grid. You’ll find yourself more attuned to the cultural experience vs hotel hopping and tourist traps — it’s just you and the world.
Expect the Unexpected: 3 More Checklist Items
Once the hype mulls over, after exiting the airport, the realities begin setting in. You’re now free to explore the country and follow your itinerary (or not, your choice).
Rather than telling you what to do — here are things to keep in mind so whatever you choose to do doesn’t come back to cause trouble:
- Finances: Convert your money away from the currency exchanges (use banks, instead) since these businesses have hefty rates. Likewise, have a backup account and plan to handle things like scams, lost/stolen money, or unexpected expenses. Transfer moneyusing online-to-location services when you’re in a pinch as you may not have access to banks out of the bigger cities.
- Language Barriers: Language barriers are kind of fun as it’s a back-and-forth game trying to convey ideas, cultures, and stories. But, sometimes it can land you in hot water. It’s best to study a handful of basic words and phrases (like “sorry” and “where is…”) so you don’t fuel issues with the locals.
- Get a Phone: Land, and immediately go to a local shop to buy a phone or compatible SIM card. This burner will help you tremendously throughout your travels whether it’s for basic navigation or emergencies. Use the phone for translation, GPS, transactions, and having a way to stay-in-touch with some of the cool people you meet along the way.
Physical, mental, and financial safety should be your priority. Remember, you’ll find yourself in uncontrollable situations — you may not safety nets without these items.
Have Fun How You Want To
One last thing…
Don’t travel with your head in the clouds at all times — come back down to reality.
- Learning to say “no”to experiences
- Getting away from uncomfortable/dangerous situations
Everyone wants to push themselves and ride the travel hype. Sometimes this leads to bad decisions from social and peers influence. Don’t become that person getting locked up abroad. Have fun how you want the trip to go — be in control of the experience.