What You Need to Know If You're Traveling Out of the Country

We know you love to travel. Who doesn’t, right?

That’s the reason we created the SHOLDIT Clutch Wrap purse to make it easy to say, “Have scarf, will travel.” We pride ourselves on having a secure way—via our lovely infinity scarf with a pocket—to carry a passport, wallet, phone and everything else.

For every savvy sister who is out there adventure seeking the world, there are a few who are making some serious mistakes while they're abroad.

Before you do the proverbial eye roll, at least hear us out. Here are a few things that may help.

1. Don’t assume everything will be the same.
That’s the beauty of traveling, right? To learn new things, meet new people and have new experiences. That means you might not be able to eat American food and locals will likely have different customs and that should be great. (I.e. Italians like to eat dinner late, as in not before 10 p.m.) So go with the flow and be open to new experience. 

Our tip: Put your mind at ease and check out the U.S. Department of State’s Traveler’s Checklist, which includes a great tips sheet of what you should do before traveling abroad and links to a list of travel warnings.

2. Don’t assume everyone will speak English.
This goes back to tip No. 1, if you want to really experience a country, try and learn a few humble phrases, please, thank you, where is …. A small attempt to show respect for another person’s country can go a long way. Many times locals will speak English (if they know it) and see you struggling or be able to get your gist, thanks to a few words.

Our tip: If you’re struggling with the language, use the Google Translate app, which can help just by pointing your phone camera at the text (even on sign) to translate it.

3. Personal space means something very different depending on the country.
Just because people are informal in the U.S. doesn’t make it okay to get really close and casual with a local. Being more formal is usually a sign of respect depending on the country. That said, personal space, which many Americans are used to, isn’t always as common in other countries where multigenerational families live together and there are plenty of crowded streets.

Our tip: Listen (or read) this NPR story about “How Different Cultures Handle Personal Space.”

4. Chill on the “U.S. is best.”
We all love this great country. But it’s not exactly the best approach to go to someone else’s home and brag about how everything is being done better elsewhere. It’s kind of like going to a backyard barbecue and one-upping the host by mentioning how you served higher-quality food or just purchased new patio furniture, etc…

Our tip: Before you take your next trip, read the book, “An Innocent Abroad: Life-changing Trips from 35 Great Writers.”

 

5. Be aware of local customs and be respectful.
As your mother always told you, treat other people the way you want to be treated. Sometimes, it’s just better to blend in then stand out. (We know this can be tough or next to impossible, especially if you’re a foot taller than all of the locals.) But wearing flashy shoes, short skirts and plunging necklines can be really upsetting to locals if that is considered obscene. Take it down a notch and find out before you go so you are respectful. Shorts and tank tops or bare shoulders of any kind aren’t allowed in many locations. You don’t want to get all the way to the Vatican or an amazing temple in Cambodia and be held up by security for not meeting the dress code.
 
Our tip: If you do get stuck, MacGyver it and use your SHOLDIT Clutch Wrap purse to cover up the girls and shoulders if you need some extra coverage.

Just remember, giving the peace sign is like the giving the middle finger in many countries such as the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia.

For other tips check out this infographic!

Where are you headed this year? 

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