Traveling Abroad

the view from my hotel room when I spent an unexpected night in Abidjan due to canceled flights
view from my hotel room when I got stuck Abidjan due to canceled flights

I recently went on a work related trip by myself to a country I had never traveled to before.  In the past four years, since having children, travel has been mostly a family event.  So I was excited to have the opportunity for a little adventure alone.  An adventure that didn’t involve toddler tantrums, excessive kid accouterments, or having to be the in-transit entertainment.  It was fun.  I had a great time.

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And as often happens when traveling I ran into a few unexpected bumps: lost luggage, canceled flights, missing bookings, being stranded in route, and illness.  So it turned out to be even more of an adventure than anticipated.  But I had fun and met some really amazing people along the way.  Encountering the bumps reminded of a few travel standbys:

  • Pack some necessities into your carry-on: This is the golden rule of travel…but easily neglected when carry-on allowances are shrinking and your carry-on is already full of electronics.  But trust me squeeze in a pair of underwear, a toothbrush and a comb.
  • Be prepared:  Have money in a few places, get a bit of money in the currency of the place you are traveling to ahead of time, have a contact for someone where you are going, etc.  Little preparations make a big difference when things go awry.
  • Let your inner confidence show—or fake it: Looking confident can dissuade unwanted attention.  Also, studies have shown that standing confidently, even if you don’t feel confident, will help you feel more confident be perceived by others as more confident.  Think posture and alertness. Click here for more on this topic.
  • Follow the crowd: Sometimes following the crowd is a good thing.  Not sure what’s going on or where to proceed to….follow the crowd.
  • Be friendly: Truly there are wonderful people everywhere, so don’t be afraid to be friendly and welcome someone’s help. Trust your instincts though if something doesn’t feel right; if you feel uncomfortable say so in firm clear language.  Be wary of situations not people.
  • Enjoy the ride: Adventures inevitably encountered along the way make for great memories and stories.

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