Are your bags packed and you’re ready to go? Hold on a minute. Whether you’re attending an IBS Program or planning a trip of your own, it’s important to plan ahead and prepare. Here are 13 tips for traveling to Southeast Asia:
1. Get the right visa for the country you’re visiting
Some countries require a travel visa in addition to a passport. You can check online to find out which countries require a visa. If you are attending the IBS Southeast Asia Program, your program leader will inform you if you need a visa and will walk you through the process.
2. Make copies of important documents
Before traveling to Southeast Asia, you should make two copies of your important documents, such as your passport, driver’s license, visas, ISIC card, and your travel itinerary. Consider leaving a copy with your family members as well as bringing a copy to keep in your hotel room safe.
3. Exchange money once you arrive to your destination
US airports and banks often charge hefty fees to exchange money. You can typically get a better exchange rate if you wait to change your money in your destination country at a local bank, ATM, or spots that advertise “Money Exchange.” Make sure to change cash as most street vendors, taxi drivers, and smaller restaurants won’t take credit cards.
4. Familiarize yourself with the foreign currency
Understanding the foreign currency will make it easier to track your spending. For example, 22732.44 Vietnamese Dong is approximately 1 US Dollar.
5. Protect your health
Check for vaccine requirements and recommendations for the countries you’ll be visiting. If you’re not up to date on your shots, take the time before your trip to get them.
6. Get travel insurance
If you are traveling on an IBS program, travel insurance will be provided for you. However, if you plan to continue your travel afterwards or plan to take a trip of your own, you should consider getting travel insurance. Insurance can help save you time and money as accidents, cancelled flights, or property damage can be extremely costly.
7. Plan before you go
Research what will be near your hotels and plan what you’d like to see and do during your free time. It will be helpful for you to know what you want to do before you go as there is plenty to do such as yoga classes, temples, elephant tourism, and more!
8. Bring bug repellent
Some times of the year are worse than others for mosquitoes. Bringing a strong mosquito repellent can help protect you from dengue fever and malaria. We recommend a DEET-based mosquito repellent.
9. Carry toilet paper and/or wet naps with you
Toilet paper and wet naps will come in handy at restaurants that don’t supply napkins and bathrooms that don’t have toilet paper.
10. Don’t underestimate the time change
Without a doubt you will feel some jet lag once you arrive to your destination. To help you adjust with the time change, try sleeping on the flight during the same time people in your destination country are sleeping.
11. Bring a pillow
It’s going to be a long flight and it might be difficult to rest without a pillow. Neck pillows are more convenient as they are smaller and can snap onto your carry-on while traveling through an airport.
12. Be aware of your surroundings
Safety is always important whether you are crossing the street or walking home from a restaurant at night, always pay attention to your surroundings and your personal items.
13. Try new things
You aren’t traveling half-way around the world to do the same things you can do at home, right? Don’t be afraid to try new foods, bargain with vendors, and have an experience of a lifetime!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips for traveling to Southeast Asia and that they will help you prepare for your trip. If you have any other tips for traveling to Southeast Asia, please share them in the comment section below!