Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Travel Abroad
Tips to make your trip abroad unique and unforgettable.
I value my experiences through international travel above anything in life. I have visited 16 countries and over three continents. Wanderlust has taken over, and I can’t get enough. I am sure that once you have savored the same sweet taste of adventure, challenge and joy brought by reaching beyond our own borders, you too will become captivated. Here's how to make the most of your trip.
Whether you are planning to study abroad, looking for summer plans, or thinking ahead to graduation, there is no better time to plan an international trip. The initial phase of planning and research is the biggest barrier between you and the world. The best way to prepare? Head to your local bookstore and purchase a book about the region you are looking to explore.
I suggest using Fodor’s or Lonely Planet because they are simplistic and informative. These books help you pick lodging, attractions and food choices, all while providing history and common practices among locals. Develop a tentative plan that allows you some flexibility. Try to avoid forecasting every minute of every day. Uncertainty may feel uncomfortable, but leave room in your schedule for unseen circumstances. You won’t be as stressed if you need to change plans.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
In many countries, the locals are usually receptive to American travelers and are often just as intrigued by you as you are by them. And when you are picking a place to stay, try something new and unique. I once stayed in a tent camp located in Interlaken, Switzerland, and it turned out to be the highlight of my entire trip.
When you’re heading to a museum, try public transit, not a cab. If you are deciding on a place to eat, ask a local without checking the guide book. Imagine yourself as a native and blend with the culture. I respected and admired my environment the most when I truly adapted to my surroundings. Step outside of your comfort zone. Eat something you normally couldn’t, ask a question you normally wouldn’t, and experience things that make you think, “I shouldn’t ...”
The powerful thing about travel is not only the experiences you have during the trip, but also the change within yourself afterward. When I return home, I feel more confident. I prevailed. You might realize that you are much more capable than you thought.
Have you ever imagined yourself walking between the legs of the Eiffel Tower in Paris? Trouncing about the Coliseum in Rome as a gladiator? Reaching the skies atop the Swiss Alps? Making these fantasy-like dreams come true is one of the most satisfying feelings I have come to know. After traveling, I find more appreciation for things we usually take for granted, like Wi-Fi connectivity, or even fresh produce. I have more respect for people and their perspectives after taking a few steps in their shoes. And now, I have enough stories to fill a lifetime of dinner parties.
So, get out there! The only thing holding you back from a lifetime of memories is a little courage to spread your wings and fly. Already planning a trip? Let us know where you’re headed below or tag us on social media @AuburnCampusRec.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Cat S. and Abby C.