Arrival

Communication

Cell Phones
In many countries it is entirely possible t purchase a cell phone with pre paid minutes if you are going to be traveling within the country or around it for an extended period of time. Each country has different cell phone companies and the prices can range from $40 US to $150 US. Cell phones are usually pre-paid and therefore must be “re-charged” when you run out of minutes. Make sure you understand exactly which class will cost the most money and which calls may be free. Incoming calls may be free, but calling another cell phone in a certain country could be very expensive.

Skype
If you have access to a computer and an Internet connection, it is very easy to get in touch with your friend through Skype, a website that allows you to call land phones, cell phones, or other Skype customers. The program must be downloaded to your computer. Calls to customers who are not using Skype do cost money, but it is very cheap compared to other methods of communication. It is recommended that you buy a headset with a microphone because not every computer is equipped with one.

Pre-Paid Calling Cards
Calling cards are different in every country, but are easy to find and convenient to use. Most countries have calling cards available at local kiosks and grocery stores. You can use the calling card to call from any phone to any other phone, though certain rates apply for cell phone versus landline calls. Be sure to understand what you are buying when you purchase a calling card so you can get the most out of it.

Food
Food is different in every part of the world, and many dishes are not even available in the United States. Research what type of food is available in your host country or countries so will you have an idea what will be available once you arrive. It is important that you learn the names of any allergies to food that you have in the language of your host country. This way, you will be able to ask if there is anything you are allergic to in any food you order. Click here to translate individual words. Be sure to write them down so you do not forget!

Transportation
Depending on how much you decide to travel, you may have to take any number of transportation. Depending on the country, one or the other may be cheaper. For example, in Chile air fare is very cheap, and because it is such a long country it is more time efficient to fly. On the other hand, in Europe you can get a good deal on a train pass, called a Euro rail pass that can take you to as many countries as you like with a fixed price. Other countries, like the United States, are easier to drive through. Again, it is important you research your individual country and talk to others who have traveled there to get the best advice.

Accommodation
Hotel vs. hostel
Generally, the difference between hotel and hostel is predictability. Hostels can be very unpredictable, whereas hotels are more predictable. With hotels, you will have a private room and probably a private bathroom. Beds are made for you, and breakfast may be included. Hotels are generally more expensive than hostels. The best place to find the most reliable hotels and hostels is through a guidebook, which will list accommodations in virtually every city in a country, from hostels all the way up to luxury hotels.

Hostels may be more dorm room style- with many beds in one room and a shared bathroom. But private and semi-private rooms could also be available at a hostel. Most hostels have a shared kitchen you can use. Young people generally stay at hostels because of the cheaper cost. Many people also enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere of a hostel- usually there is a living room or gathering area where you can meet other travelers. Some hostels include breakfast in the price of the stay. Search for hostels at the sites below:
Hostel World
Hostel Times
The Backpacker
Hostelling International

Couch Surfing
For the very adventurous and who want to really get to know people from the country or city you are exploring, try couch surfing. In this website, you can sign up to host people from other countries, or sleep on someone’s couch for a night or two in a different country. Couch Surfing is available in the U.S. and nearly all other countries, but especially in Europe. Couch Surfers are certified and verified by other people by a social networking site to ensure the utmost safety of all parties. Click here to go to the website: Couch Surfing

Money
Tipping
Tipping may not be as common in the country you are visiting as the one you came from. Be sure to ask a local how much is customary to tip and when to tip. If you are unsure, leaving 10% is always a good idea.

Budget
Especially important for those who are spending a lot of time traveling or in a host country, a budget can help you keep yourself in check. It’s important not only to plan ahead of time, but also to write down what you are actually spending in the host country so you are able to refine your spending habits if needed. Click here for a budget checklist you can use.

Useful Info
Check the time zone before you travel
Check how much your money is worth in any country
Conversions: clothing, length, temperature, etc.
Translate your words and phrases

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