When you first head off to places in the world that are a lot different from where you live, there are some things you will learn about. You have to learn to adapt. Here is the list of 10 things (plus 1) you should ask yourself before heading to the next destination.
1. Culture and customs, religion
How to say ‘Hello’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Yes’, and ‘No’.
Where can I engage culturally aware (local culture), stimulating people? This may be at a school, a cafe, a business setting, a neighborhood, or even the central square. It may be everywhere, or nowhere. Is this trip more likely to be a fun adventure or a chore?
Is tipping a thing here? What’s the general rule?
What is considered good public conduct (e.g. table manners, body language etc.)?
Is there anything offensive here that wouldn’t be offensive back home?
Can I get by with just English and some simple gestures?
2. Eating and drinking
Is this city famous for any particular food? Where can I find a great place to sample?
What are the local dishes I should try?
What are the best restaurants around the city?
What are the areas where the local people usually go for food/drinks/fun?
Can I drink the water?
3. Geography and environment
What is the climate in the city and what clothes should I be wearing?
When is the best time to visit?
Where is the closest wilderness?
Are there any parks, mountains or beaches there?
4. History and government
Is this city set up for tourism?
What is the history behind the place? How did the country came to be?
What is the political situation there? Conservative, liberal?
5. Popular things to do and see
Which are the famous places to visit in and around the city?
If I do not like the city, are there any other attractive destinations close-by?
Are there any places off the beaten paths?
Where are the most interesting neighbouring towns?
What is the one place that would be unforgivable not to visit?
What sort of plant or factory tours are available in this place?
Which is the most significant museum and what are its attractions and hours?
How expensive it is there?
What are the best places to shop?
Where can I find the local markets?
Where can I access my cash – are ATMs readily available? Do they accept credit cards?
7. Festivals and events
Are there cultural events, theatre, opera or concerts taking place in this city while I am here?
8. Safety and health
How safe is the city and what time do the shops close?
What are the common scams and how to avoid them?
What are the areas to avoid for security reasons?
Are there any hazards I need to know about?
How is the hygiene level of the food on the streets?
How to get around – is there a mass transit system? How does it work? Is there something I should avoid?
How are the taxis there? Do they run by meter or by haggling?
Is the city bike-friendly? Can I rent a bike easily?
10. Accommodation and accessories
Where the best hotels, hostels or Airbnb house suited for my budget?
Where can I get a decent shower? (For a budget traveler, that’s sometimes a more difficult than it sounds)
11. How reliable is the information I have about this place?
Once you get those answers through researching prior to your trip, your next journey will be perfect.