Travel Tips: When You Return Home

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Charlotte Seewald, UNHS Assistant Director

Your trip is now over, but don’t be too sad! Now you have fond memories to look back on, and I bet it also feels good to be home. Here are some things to keep in mind as you readjust to your home country.

Remember how you had jet lag when you traveled there? Coming home may be worse! While I hope you land and feel great, it is understandable if you feel tired, irritable, distracted as your brain and body readjust to the time zone.

Be gentle with yourself—most people need a day for every hour difference to be back to their normal energy level. So if you were in a country that was 10 hours different than your home it may take 10 days for you to adjust. It is a good idea to not have big projects or stressful agendas to work on the first week of your return. Also, let your family and friends know you need some time to “get back to normal”.

After a long trip home from Malaysia, I found myself crying over a TV commercial! My friend’s husband came home from a long trip and was a grouch for 2 days. Fair warning!

Now that you’re home, here are some things to do:

  1. Store your passport in designated and secure spot for the next trip.
  2. Review credit card charges to note any errors. Contact credit card companies to inform them you have returned.
  3. Store electrical adapter where you can find them again.
  4. Download photos, edit and share!
  5. Sort through gifts and mementos you brought home to share now or later.
  6. Reflect on your travel experiences and consider where you would like to go next!

Whether you are reading these tips before you travel to prepare yourself or are using the advice now, I hope you have a wonderful experience before, during and after you travel!

Travel Tips: While You Travel

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Charlotte Seewald, UNHS Assistant Director

Congratulations! Now that you’ve arrive at your destination, here are a few tips to help get your trip off to a good start.

  • Cash is always accepted! When you arrive in a new country, it is always good to have U.S. dollars on you. Get local money at an ATM or currency exchange location, and avoid getting it exchanged at the airport—they have the worst rates. It can be helpful to use a calculator or app on your phone to figure out the price of something in a specific currency.
  • If you’ve landed in a time zone that is five or more hours different than home, you may have jet lag. There are different theories on how to deal with jet lag, but it helps to try and jump into the local time and plan a not so strenuous first day. Eat and sleep on the local schedule. Here’s hoping you get a great night’s rest!
  • Remember you are always an ambassador of your country. Be courteous and respect the local culture. It may be tremendously exciting to visit a place, but may not be appropriate to do certain things. For instance taking photos, selfies, funny poses and gawking at new sights can sometimes make others feel awkward and less than respected.
  • It’s always a good idea to keep passport, money, credit cards, phone, camera, etc. close to you. Some people like money belts or a zippered pouch on a lanyard. Prevent potential problems by having items in a safe, locked pocket or bag. Also because of potential jet lag you may be more forgetful, so it’s good to have a designated place to find these items.

One more big things to remember: Just because you are in a world famous place doesn’t mean you have to do the “expected” tour. Often the most meaningful experiences are more personal. For instance, in Venice, you may find that the expensive gondola ride is eclipsed by rich gelato eaten in the beautiful sunshine.

Ask locals for advice and be genuinely open to new and different people, places, and cultures. You will make new friends and learn lots!

Travel Tips: Before You Go

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Charlotte Seewald, UNHS Assistant Director

Traveling is always very exciting, and I feel so lucky to be able to travel around the world each year to see old friends and make new friends on behalf of the University of Nebraska High School.

Having been in my role with UNHS for ten years, I’ve traveled abroad more than 50 times!

Here is what I’ve learned to help you prepare for your next trip overseas.

  • Make at least 2 photocopies of passport ID pages—one copy to stay at home and the other(s) to keep in your carry-on luggage or checked baggage. If your passport is lost or stolen, you will have the necessary information needed to get a replacement quicker.
  • Make 2 photocopies of your flight and lodging itinerary—one copy to leave with family or friend and the other to keep in carry-on luggage. If things get delayed or interrupted, you can be contacted.
  • Visit state.gov/travel/ to see updates about the countries you are visiting with:
    • Travel alerts
    • Visa requirements
    • Currency limits
    • Lots of other helpful information
  • Sign up here https://step.state.gov/step for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to be registered with nearest US Embassy and to receive alerts and contacts in an emergency
  • Add an app on your phone that allows you to text or call via Wi-Fi overseas. This saves money on international costs! Try the WhatsApp.
  • Check with your phone carrier about availability and cost of calling out of country. Don’t just rely on free Wi-Fi to communicate with friends and family.
    • It may be more economical to buy a sim card or even not have the phone and enjoy time “off the grid”! One of my friends came home from a one week trip to $800 phone charges—he didn’t realize the costs of overseas phone service.

There are also a few things to keep in mind when it comes to luggage and packing.

Carry-on Luggage:

  • Keep one outfit in carry-on luggage in case your luggage doesn’t arrive with you.
  • Chargers and electrical adapters.
  • Important things such as contacts, glasses, inhalers and other products that you do not want to risk losing.
  • Small hygiene products, cosmetics, and snacks can mean a world of difference when things don’t go as planned!

Checked Luggage:

  • Contact airline to learn baggage fees and limits.
  • Narrow down clothing to essentials—you’ll appreciate having extra room for purchases you wish to bring home!
  • Bring only comfortable shoes – most likely you will be doing lots of walking.

These tips can help ensure that you’re informed and prepared for just about anything while you’re abroad.

 So….ready, set, travel overseas!