Cappadocia, Turkey Creative Commons/Trudi90

Travelling to different countries can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but it can also lead to unpleasant encounters and memories if you start your holiday off on the wrong foot or land yourself in unwelcomed trouble.

Here are four tips to ensure all your holidays go as smoothly as possible:


A printable map of Paris Wikimedia Commons

DO Have a plan

There are many of us who like to wake up in a new city and spend our day ‘winging it’ - wandering around with no real plan in mind - but having an idea of the places you would like to visit and things you would like to do before the trip could make your holiday more enjoyable. We’re not talking about a minute-by-minute schedule, but a loose itinerary may mean you don’t get lost or spend too much time trying to figure out what there is to do.

A good tip is to mark out the landmarks you want to see and figure out how far they are from each other, and from where you are staying. This will show you whether you can make any side trips when you’re on your way to the landmarks.

DON'T Expect to know what a city has to offer if you’ve never been before

Although venturing off the beaten path may provide new unplanned experiences which may enhance your trip, do not just expect to arrive in a foreign country and know exactly where everything is and where all the interesting events are.

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Make a list of essentials you'll need for your travels, and check if you've packed them before leaving home Creative Commons/Jaymantri

DO Check your bags before leaving home

Make sure you have your passport (with more than six months to go before it expires) and visa before you head to the airport, otherwise you probably won’t even be able to check in your luggage.

Victoria Simpson, a ground staff member at Jetstar, states that you should get to the airport at least one to two hours before your flight to check in, depending on whether you are flying domestically or internationally.

DON'T Be late

Avoid being late to check-in or arrive at the gate past boarding time. And do not be rude to the airport staff as they are just doing their job and usually don’t want to disrupt your travel plans. General etiquette usually goes a long way.


Women of all cultures praying at the Western Wall Creative Commons/Meaghan O'Neill

DO Assimilate

Be aware of the local customs and laws of whichever country you are in, as they may be vastly different from Australian ones. For example, eating on the train in Singapore could see you leave with a hefty fine, while not wearing suitable threads may bar you from entering sacred grounds such as temples in many countries. If you ever encounter any major difficulties, the local police station should be your first stop, as they will be able to help direct you to your local embassy.

DON'T Think you know it all

Don’t ignore all of the local information centres, even the ones at the airport. These information centres may be able to inform you about new and different things which you may not have considered doing.


Relax and have fun Creative Commons/Splitshire

DO Have fun and enjoy your trip!

You’ve worked hard to save both money and annual leave, and your holiday is the perfect opportunity for you to cast your daily cares aside, kick back and relax. Oh, and try not to check your emails so much.

DON'T Lose track of where you are and what image you are portraying to locals.

This includes how you dress and act. Some countries such as the United Arab Emirates can be very stringent on how much skin you may show. Usually, modest clothing is best when you are unsure of the local dress customs. When in doubt, ask a local or do your research beforehand.

As a general rule of thumb, no one likes being subjected to excessive public displays of affection, although in some places like Dubai, even kissing may be frowned upon. Save your displays of affection for the right place and time.