Tag Archives: Abroad

Avoiding Hostel Horrors

Filed under: Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Since traveling to the country of Georgia, I have been learning a lot from my first abroad experience. I recently stayed in my first hostel. I was pretty excited to find such a deal on for one night. The hostel had great reviews so I didn’t expect any problems. Unfortunately, my stay in this particular hostel was a little less than enjoyable. Here are five tips I have for you just in case you’re preparing for a hostel stay since it may be a little bit of a different experience you may be used to:

1. Bring Soap

I thought it was a ‘given’ that the hostel would provide soap in the bathroom or shower like typical places you stay overnight in. Instead, I had to ask for it. Some hostels do not provide towels either so you’re better off bringing your own. Also, don’t walk around barefoot in the bathroom, no matter how clean it may appear.

Bar of Soap

Photo © Care2

2. Bring Earplugs

Whether you get your own private room, or you take a bunk bed in a dormitory, you are going to want earplugs. The lights may go off at a certain time, but that doesn’t mean the people around you will stop chattering. You may also want to consider bringing your own sleep sheet, just in case the hostel doesn’t provide sheets.

College Girl Sleeping With Earplugs And Mask

Photo © Alice Benjamin

3. Don’t Bring Anything Expensive

Before you check out your hostel, it’s a good idea to see if they provide lockers. If you have a private room, you should be fine leaving your stuff. If you stay in a dormitory, be careful. Some hostels are perfectly secure, while it would be best in others to not leave your fancy Canon camera.

Hostel Room

Photo © Table For One

4. Ask The Staff

Feel free to do some research on your own to see where the best restaurants are locally, but don’t forget about the hostel staff. Ninety percent of the time they will have great recommendations not only for restaurants, but sights to see, and things to do.

Hostel Staff Man

Photo © Sakura Hostel

5. Don’t Be Cheap

Just because you’re on a budget, that doesn’t mean you should go for the cheapest hostel around. Price your trip well in advance and plan to pay extra for whatever level of comfort you want. Saving money is not as important as your safety and comfort.

Cheap Dirty Hostel

Photo © Darren Alff

If you have never been in a hostel before, definitely be warned that it is completely different from a hotel. Be prepared to bring anything you may need and to not bring anything too valuable.

If you have any hostel-staying tips, feel free to leave them below!

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Traveling With Homesickness

Filed under: Social Life/Relationships, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

I have been in Georgia (the country, not the state) for a while now and I am finding adjusting to be a bit more of a chore than I expected. When I signed up to teach English abroad, all I pictured was living in a cool little town with interesting people, and no problems whatsoever. I could not have underestimated this journey more.

I’m in a small village only a 3 minute cab ride from the city, but the village looks like a completely different world. If I’m not wearing earplugs at night when sleeping, I wake up to the sound of chicks peeping, pigs oinking, roosters crowing, and dogs fighting. Being in this village without anyone I know immediately close by, and living with a family with an English level similar to that of an 8-year-old, has made me really homesick. However, I’ve been getting creative with how to soothe myself with this culture shock, so if you are experiencing homesickness abroad, here are my suggestions:

1. Buy Something Comforting

I’m surprised at the number of similar products Georgia has in their mini-marts. Whenever I’m in town, I make sure to stock up on treats: chocolate, Fanta orange soda or Sprite, and Pringles. Not only will you be satisfying your snack cravings, but you will be eating something familiar, which will help you relax. This applies to other products other than food too, although some may be hard to find in a different location.

Can of Pringles

Photo © Food Junk

2. Don’t “Should” Yourself

Do not think, “I should be feeling happy.” Everyone deals with situations differently. Allow yourself to wallow, cry, be sad, and be alone. It is normal to feel this way. Just don’t sit in it for long periods of time.

Sad College Student Traveling Abroad

Photo © A Sharing Connection

3. Reach Out

Email or call friends and family and tell them how you are feeling. Talk it out to whoever will listen. Advice, comforting words, and a new friend will often come of it. You will feel better just talking to someone you miss as well.

College Student Talking On The Phone To Family Friends

Photo © Confused

4. Distract Yourself

There have been plenty of times where all I want to do is curl up in bed and do nothing all day. Unfortunately, that would not only make the situation worse, it would also mean missing out on cool excursions, such as Georgian wine-tasting at local vineyards. It is actually better to make yourself busy so you forget you are homesick!

Martha's Vineyard Travel

Photo © New York Times

5. Pick Up A New Hobby

Take advantage of the time you have available and learn or brush up on a new language, or pick up that book you’ve always wanted to read, etc. The time will pass anyway, so you might as well take advantage of it by doing something fun and intriguing.

College Girl Reading Book

Photo © MindShift

The best piece of advice I have been given in regards to traveling: do whatever you have to to make yourself comfortable. I take things day by day instead of looking at the long term, and that seems to make all the difference in this experience traveling abroad.

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Staying In Touch While Abroad

Filed under: Social Life/Relationships, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Preparing for my trip to the Republic of Georgia has come with its tradeoffs. I had to leave a familiar town, a great part-time job I’ve had for three years, and most importantly, my family and friends. It was difficult saying goodbye to people who have been my support system for so long. I have gone from seeing them every day, or at least every week, to not seeing them at all. It has made me think of creative ways to keep in touch with them so that it doesn’t seem like it has been so long that I have not seen them.

If you are preparing for your own adventure abroad or doing some traveling, here are some suggestions for staying in touch with those you love:

1. Skype

This is an obvious option for anyone using a computer. Free calls with anyone anywhere and you can see each other face to face! Another bonus, Skype is the perfect way to still have meals together – you can eat breakfast while they are eating dinner!

Skype Video Call Chat

Photo © Stefan Erschwendner

2. Postcards

Postcards are inexpensive enough that you can stock up on them in craft stores, airports, trinket shops in your visiting country, or you can even make them yourself! Print your photo at 4×6, turn it over and write your message, then stick on a stamp and write your friend’s address where they would normally go on a postcard and pop it in the mail!

Homemade Photo Travel Postcard

Photo © Ellen Jo Roberts

3. Email

Since you probably won’t have phone access (unless you pay the extra fee for international service), email is the next best thing. However, if you do have coins, try the payphone at a nearby cafe. Depending on where you stay, there will most likely be a phone available.

Email Communication

Photo © Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Video

A lot of people like to keep a video diary which they update weekly or even monthly. This is a fun way to bring life (and reassurance) to what you’re experiencing, instead of just writing words. It will also be something great to look back on when you arrive back home and to share with your friends and family.

Travel Video Vlogging Diary

Photo © Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping a journal and/or online blog of your travels will also help when you don’t have time to write each individual person. Just send one email out announcing the blog link and let everyone know it’s the best way to stay updated because of your unpredictable schedule. They will be able to leave you comments and follow your day to day adventures.

 

Happy travels!

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Thank You Gifts For Abroad

Filed under: Money/Budget, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Whether you are planning to stay with a host family, in a hostel, or with friends, it is a good idea to always have some small trinkets to give as gifts to whomever shows you a little hospitality while you are abroad. Not only will you be presenting yourself in the best light, you will also be presenting your country positively, which is something a lot of travelers don’t think about.

Rest assured buying thank you gifts doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many inexpensive things you can pick up that will be sure to satisfy and are easy to travel with!

1. Magnets

Magnets make great gifts because they add life to a kitchen! Plus, anyone who comes over to their house for a meal will most likely ask about them and that makes it a gateway to a great conversation about how a wonderful traveling student gave it to them as a little thank you.

Cute Refrigerator Magnets

Photo © Sarah Benning

2. Postcards

I have pen pals from Africa, Spain, and even just a few states in the U.S. and postcards are one of my favorite little gifts to get. I love having something to pin up on the refrigerator, around my room, or on my bureau mirror, and your kind friends, hostel works, or host family will too!

Costa Rica Postcard

Photo © Katrina Communications

3. Homemade Goods

Anything home-made or handmade from your state is always a great gift. People love supporting local businesses and areas. Some ideas could be: jewelry, candles, jams, or chocolate. If there is a local market in your town on weekends, chances are it is a jackpot for inexpensive goodies like these.

Handmade Earrings Jewelry

Photo © Fashion Diva Design

4. Keychains

Add a little flair to your someone’s key ring with a unique keychain with their name or a cool design on it. Each time they reach for their keys, they will think of you.

Don't Worry I Got Your Back Funny Keychain

Photo © Zazzle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still in doubt? Think about what you would like to get as a gift from someone and go with that. As long as you put some thought into it, you can’t go wrong. Mostly it’s the idea of being appreciative to those who welcome you into their space for your extended travels. Show them they have made a difference!

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Preparing To Travel Abroad

Filed under: College Life, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

After graduating college, a lot of us students don’t know what to do with our lives. We may have been so caught up in making sure we passed our last few classes that we needed to graduate that we didn’t really prepare for what would happen after. Or, for those of us who applied for a job that we didn’t successfully land, we now wonder – now what?

For me, it was clear I wanted to travel. Because I was on a budget, I looked for programs that would chip in for the cost of flights to and from the country. When I found The Republic of Georgia looking for English teachers and willing to pay the full cost for flights, I applied immediately and was contacted for an interview just three days later.

College Girl Traveling to Paris France

Photo © Travelhoo

We don’t realize until it’s actually happening that we have to take care of some things before leaving the country:

1. Money

Make sure you have the money to travel comfortably. If not, there are always programs that offer work trades in exchange for food and board. It’s just a matter of searching! Also, be sure to give two weeks notice if you do have a job.

2. Storage

Renting a storage unit and making sure you have enough money to pay for it while you’re away is important. There are just some things you cannot travel with and especially if you are giving up your apartment, you need to find a place to store your belongings.

3. International Calls

Check with your cell phone provider to see if you have an international calling plan. If not, you have to figure out how to get one. And if you can’t afford to get one, download apps like Viber and Whatsapp, which allow you to make free international calls and texts to anyone else you know with that app.

4. Pets

If you have a pet, you have to figure out who will watch it while you are gone. And make sure it has an identification collar just in case.

5. Shots and Identification

Make sure to get the required and recommended shots. Then making sure you have a supply of whatever prescriptions you take for the time you are gone. Also, make copies of passports, identification, and immunization cards.

Tailor this list to you and your trip. I recommend starting early. I hope you’ll follow along with me as I write about teaching in The Republic of Georgia!

Girl Traveling to the Republic of Georgia

Photo © Q8 All In One

Happy travels!

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