Take Home: 6 Tips for International Travel

Travel can be exciting, transformative, exhausting and even disappointing. Being prepared makes all the difference.

Finbar Hefferon and Liang Chen have both traveled for work and pleasure. Hefferon is UTSC’s International Development Studies coordinator, who studied in Ireland and worked in East Africa. Liang Chen is a senior lecturer in the Department of Management and has traveled extensively around the world. Here are a few of their tips.

1. Arrive at the airport early.
You’ve heard it before. Chen suggests taking the advice to heart when traveling internationally. Getting there early is worth it if it means you don’t miss your flight.

2. Try to relax.
Travel is stressful. Consider forgetting about work and just watching the movies on the plane.

3. Learn the language.
Take an introductory course. Finbar learned Swahili for his work. Even a few phrases are helpful, as Chen found on a vacation to Thailand. Knowing even a bit of the language shows you’ve made an effort and opens doors.

4. Think about clothes.
Don’t take anything too nice, says Hefferon. It will just get ruined. Don’t forget to pack some nice clothes, says Chen. You never know when you’ll be invited to a party. (Take your pick).

5. Take care of yourself.
Sleep whenever you can—on the plane, at the hotel as soon as you arrive, on the train. And don’t forget to exercise while you’re traveling. You’ll feel better.

6. Say yes.
Take advantage of the opportunities travel provides. If someone invites you somewhere, go. Learn the culture. Explore the country. Explore nearby countries. You’ll be glad you did.