It is a good idea to have a plan in mind prior to your arrival at your first destination- at least for the first day or two. Typically, you’ll be getting off a LONG flight, suffering from a serious case of jet-lag (If you’re anything like me, you’ll be too excited to sleep on the plane), arriving in a foreign country where you might not even speak the language, and the more you have planned out in advance concerning your arrival, the easier it will be on your travel-weary brain. Here are a few tips to make your arrival a bit easier to manage:
VISAS- It is IMPERATIVE that you have the necessary visas organized and processed PRIOR to your arrival at your destination (Read: Prior to your departure for that country). If not, you may well find yourself detained in a holding cell until the right paperwork can be processed (Or, even worse, barred from boarding the flight to begin with). Not a good way to start off your holiday...
Regardless of your arrival time, it is always a good idea to have at least that first night’s accommodation lined up already. That way, you have a destination to head towards upon your arrival, even if its just to drop your bags and freshen up a bit before heading back out. Make a note of the name, address, and contact phone number of where you’ll be spending that first night, and print out a map of the location and its surrounds. Keep them all handy- while a foreign bus/taxi driver may not speak your language, they will know how to get to a specific address and/or a spot on a map.
Look into transportation options available between the point of your arrival and your first night’s accommodation. Buses, shuttles, subways/trains, taxis, rickshaws, tuk-tuks- you’ll want to find the easiest/cheapest way to get from Point A to Point B, and a little research prior to your arrival will go a long way.
Have a bit of local currency on you when you arrive. Depending on your arrival time, money exchanges and banks at the airport may be closed, and you might need local currency to pay for transportation to your first destination. Otherwise, you may be sleeping in a chair at the airport instead of in a bed at your hotel/hostel.
If you are going to be sticking around your point of arrival for a few days of exploring, check to see if there is some sort of ‘City Tour’ or ‘Hop-on/Hop-off Bus’ system for tourists. These can be very informative and are generally a great way to get a feel for a new city, and they don’t require a lot of thought or action on your part- a good thing when trying to acclimate to a serious change in time zones. They are a great way to learn a bit about your new surroundings while giving your body and brain a chance to adjust.
Once you’ve arrived, acclimatized, and adjusted, the rest is up to you... GET AMONGST IT!!!
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