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Travel Tips

Nelso Bricker Travel Tips

Have an “Inside Man”
Whenever possible when traveling, it is best to have someone you know when you get there. Unless you are fluent in the language and have time to research all the best areas to go, how to get around, and where to stay ahead of time, it is way easier to find someone you can communicate with there. These contacts are a great lifeline for your trip, and often give you a better sense of the culture, and what is happening, and what you should do during your visit. Don’t be too demanding of them, since they are likely helping you out by the goodness of their heart, so make sure you show your appreciation as well.

Hello, Good-bye, Please, Thank you, Yes, No.
You don’t need to be fluent in the local language, but a few key words can help. Other cultures really appreciate an effort, no matter how small. It is amazing how much more willing locals will be to help you if you are polite, speak in a calm tone, and show sincerity. A few other things that might not hurt are: “How do I get to;” “Where is;” “Bathroom;” and the names of the places you are staying in local terms (this may be different than the official address you have been given in you itinerary).

Most of us know that various food and drinks are not safe for general travel. Eating cooked (HOT) food, peeled fruit and bottled drinks without straws or ice is really the safest way to go. However, this does not mean everything is dangerous if it doesn’t come in a package. Don’t choose somewhere if you won’t be open to eating the local dishes. This means looking at what the local dishes are in these places first and see if you can handle them for as long as you will be there.

“I’m from Canada.....”
People have told me for years, “Don’t say you’re American!” when you’re out of the country. This is not a good rule for us. We have several things going for us: 1)We are students, and the World appreciates that; 2) We are polite; 3) We are interested; 4) We are likely helping out. If all of the polite, interested, helpful Americans tell the locals they are Canadian, or Australian, or British, there is no hope for America to remove the stigmas that we are loud, violent, rude tourists, with no interest in the countries themselves. You may get asked a few questions about how many guns Americans own or how your government could do certain things, but most people are interested, because they haven’t met too many Americans, if any, and this is where they will actually draw new judgments about our country. Represent the USA well, be proud, and ask questions back, most people are proud of their country too.



Lyndsy and Kelly Castano Travel Tips

  1. Review a travel guide for your country before you pack. You don't necessarily have to buy the travel guide. You can just go to Barnes and Noble and sit at the cafe while you peruse the book. Many libraries even have copies that you can borrow. Informs you of many concerns that you may not even think of before traveling: ie. electrical currencies (you may need a converter for your electrical equipment), tipping practices, and currency. "Lonely Planet" has a good series. It may also make you aware of certain customs pertaining to such things as greetings, transportation or tipping.
  2. Know the exchange rate prior to going and try to keep this in mind whenever you are exchanging currency. Do not ask for change and assume that the person returning the change will give you the correct amount. Know how much you should get back before you ask. (never had a problem with this before, but it is good practice)
  3. I recommend that you plan for extra days at the end of your trip so that you can see more of the country. I always regret not having more days at the end of a trip to see more.
  4. Make sure that you do not need a visa to travel to the country. Ask other classmates who may have traveled there or google <"your travel country" embassy> and read under the visa requirements. 
  5. Check with your bank to ensure that your ATM card will work overseas. If you don't have an ATM card, get one. An ATM card is much safer to travel with than a credit card. 
  6. Email a copy of your passport to yourself. This way you have it in easy access if you lose your passport. 
  7. Learn some important words and phrases of the language before you travel to a country. Don't assume that everyone knows English. I have found that in the majority of countries that I have visited, it is often hard to find someone who speaks English.
  8. Get to know people in the country. I highly recommend becoming a member of <couchsurfing.com>. This is a great internet site that puts you in touch with people around the world who are eager to share their culture with you. Many of my most memorable experiences have come from couchsurfing events and the people I have met through this website!
  9. Use Skype to call home. It's free to download and free to talk computer-to-computer. Calls to phones are reasonable too.

Medical Preparation:

  • Contact the Purdue University Student Health (PUSH) Center as early as possible to set an appointment for vaccines. They will provide you with all the information and health concerns you need to be aware of before traveling to your respective country. Immunization Clinic (765) 494-1818
  • Don't be overwhelmed about the travel requirements. They will give you a large list of diseases you need to be concerned about. Don't stress over it.
  • Also don't stress about dangers and crime in the country where you travel. Traveling with a companion has a lot of advantages. But, you meet so many more people when you travel solo because it forces you to branch out. Don't be afraid to travel alone. Use same precautions you would take in a US city.

The day of travel:

Have a copy of your flight information and passport on your person or within easy reach while you are traveling. You are going to need it often throughout the course of your day and reduces the risk of being completely lost of your luggage gets lost or stolen. Also make sure you have the contact information of the person who may be meeting you in the airport or your destination information on you. This is common sense though.

First arrival/stay:

  • Give your digestive tract time to adjust to the new bacteria. Avoid food sold by street vendors, especially if pre-prepared. In certain countries you may want to peel fruit yourself and avoid salads, undercooked meat, and unpasteurized milk and cheese.
  • Give yourself time to adjust. Don't get disillusioned that the experience may not be going as you had envisioned. Try to experience the culture from the inside as much as you can by watching and speaking with different people.
  • Avoid excessive talking about your life and luxuries back home unless the person you are talking asks questions that show they are really interested. Show an interest in understanding the country you are in.
  • If you encounter something that you do not agree with, avoid pointing it out. Instead, ask questions to try to understand why something is done a certain way. Sometimes, an answer such as "...that’s the way it’s always been done” may have to suffice".
  • Always show your gratitude for anyone who helps you out (this includes doorman, cashier, direction giver, etc). A simple "Thank you" paired with a smile can often be forgotten when you are in such a novel environment.
  • If you are staying with a family, try not to take more than you are given. Take what is offered but not more, and be sure to provide a "Thank you" and smile. A welcome gift that represents your culture is nice to open your stay with someone.
  • Do not get too comfortable in their home. Make sure that you leave everything as you found it. This includes always cleaning up after yourself including dishes, laundry, and your bedroom. Remember that you are their guest!
  • Be safe! Have fun! Be adaptable! Make the most of the opportunity!



Rachel Cumberbatch Travel Tips: 

General guidelines: 

  • If you can't carry it, don't pack it.
  • Carry different forms of money (i.e. cash, credit/ debt card). Keep them in different locations in your bags.
  • Leave a copy of your passport in your bags. It is also a good idea to leave a copy of your passport and credit cards with your parents or someone at home in case you need to get them replaced.
  • Have a list of emergency numbers
  • Pack pictures to show your new friends/ hosts. Photos should be of things they relate to i.e. family, friends, sports, pets, etc.
  • Use cable ties to lock bags 
  • Insect spray - wipes work better than aerosol. Pyrethrin on your clothes can last up to 3 wk.
  • Bring a journal and use it!
  • Bring your camera and your camera cord so that you can upload/share photos while abroad
  • Thin sheet to put on top of bed if you are staying at hostels
  • Bring your own towel, wash cloth
  • Always have a change of clothes/necessities in your carryon bag


  • When traveling to developing countries, bring tampons with cardboard applicators rather than plastic
  • Bring the toiletries that you need. Don't expect to be able to buy your normal products in other countries.

First Aid / Medication:

  • Anti-diarrheal medication, antiemetic
  • Anti-histamines
  • Call your doctors to get a prescription for an antibiotic
  • Know the drug names of any prescription that you need
  • Clothing
  • Have a few sets of quickly drying clothes
  • When in doubt - don't wear anything above the knee or that shows your shoulders
  • Wear comfortable shoes!
  • Bring a pair of flip-flop for showers
  • Even when you are going to work/serve, always have a change of nice clothes to go to church, go out to eat or go out dancing.
  • Research the weather before you travel. Remember deserts don't hold heat and high elevations are cold even if they are located on the equator.