A vacation abroad to a tropical country or island can be life-changing. You’ll create lasting memories, explore whole new worlds and have some time to yourself to just enjoy the beauty around you.
Starting to feel like you need to trade in suburbia for sandy shores and a piña colada sooner rather than later? Same here. But before you slap on your swimsuit and pack your flip flops, there are a few things you should know. We’ve created a list to help you avoid common mistakes any tourist can make when taking a tropical vacation abroad. With these do’s and don’ts, you’ll be sure to have the time of your life.
What You Should Do
1. Do take sunglasses that will actually last
It’s incredibly easy to jump on a paddle board, slip on your $200 shades … and then watch them fall into the ocean as you get going. For any excursion, you’ll need a durable and UV-blocking, polarized pair of sunnies that you can count on. But did you know you can actually buy sunglasses that float? Get more information here.
2. Do pack a UV rash guard
Just like your sunglasses will protect your eyes from dangerously high UV rays, a rashguard will protect your skin. No one thinks to bring anything with long sleeves to the beach, but the right UV protective clothing will help you enjoy your vacation to the fullest. This way, you can go on your excursions without worry.
3. Do bring a universal power adapter
Not every country has a three prong plug. Make sure you’re packing an adapter that will work no matter where you are in the country. You won’t regret the purchase when your phone has less than 10 percent battery.
4. Do get your vaccines
More than staying healthy, it’s important to get your shots because a lot of countries will require you to have certain vaccinations. Do your research so you know which ones you’ll need. And bring copies of your records just in case.
5. Do tell your friends and family where you’re going
While you should avoid blasting your hotel information on social media (believe it or not, this can be a big tip off for thieves!), you should let your inner circle know what’s going on. Keep them posted on where you’re going, staying and what you’re doing. This way, they’ll know to keep an eye out on your apartment and how to contact you in case of an emergency.
What Not to Do
1. Don’t forget to budget realistically
Items that you’re used to getting for cheap may be significantly more expensive wherever you go. Not only that, but many travelers forget to build in the unavoidable extras for their trip. Leave some cash cushion for taxis, snacks (not just meals), souvenirs, and tips too.
2. Don’t jam-pack your itinerary
Yes, you only have a few days in paradise and want to see it all. Diving, hiking, and discovering unique eateries and views are the main reason you’re going! But when you overcrowd your schedule, you’ll only end up tired and annoyed that you didn’t stop and slow down. Take it easy, and be realistic. Planning just one or two things to do a day will give you structure while still giving you flexibility to take a nap or follow a new path.
3. Don’t thoughtlessly harm wildlife
Swimming with sharks, snapping pics of sea turtles and snorkeling along the reef are the types of activities adventures are made of — if you’re following the right guidelines. Be careful and learn about the natural environment around you. Make sure you research proper wildlife interactions.
4. Don’t assume you can buy necessities as you go
Packing light is a great way to avoid baggage fees — and a great way to add up extra costs on your credit card. Focus on packing per day and per activity so that you’re bringing all the items you need. While you don’t want to overstuff your bag, you also don’t want to waste time searching for a button down shirt to wear to that new resort restaurant.
5. Don’t rely on wifi or data
Make sure you have the information you need on hand, and not in the cloud. Maps, plane tickets, and hotel reservations should all be pulled from your email and saved directly onto your phone or printed out.
And lastly, don’t forget to book another trip!