Have you ever wanted to travel abroad? Explore a new location or travel and live it up at your favorite festival? My advice: do it. Before I go on about adventures I had in Mexico City, one of my new favorite travel destinations, there are some things everyone needs to know about traveling (especially to another country.)

Number one: checklists, checklists, checklists! The importance of checklists will not only ensure you have absolutely everything thousands of miles away from home, but you can take comfort knowing you wouldn’t have to go back. Me, for example, I am a type 1 diabetic. I have an insulin pump that has multiple supplies that are attached to it. These supplies can’t be found at any CVS or drugstore, they have to be shipped separately from a special company. So first on my list would, of course, be medication and supplies. You only have one body to take care of, so make sure you do it right! Double check your outfits and backup outfits as well, you never know what could happen, like a spill or unexpected weather, and it’s important to stay dry and comfortable throughout your stay wherever you may end up, and that includes comfy shoes! Trust me, I am still suffering from a nasty blister from stupid shoes I thought looked cute. Ponchos, warm clothes, and anything you probably wouldn’t mind trashing later on. I always bring a small backpack for clothes to change in to and insulin supplies when I’m attending a festival and it’s gotten me through a few rough patches.

Another key thing about traveling out of the country is luggage! I traveled with my boyfriend to Mexico and we could fit everything we needed from his clothes, and mine, to makeup and all of my necessities in one bag. Our stay was four days long and we could fit it all into one luggage bag that was under 50lbs and we used it as our carry on. That eliminated the possibility of our luggage getting lost, or stolen, and having to wait for it at baggage claim. We had two personal items, our cameras and I had a very tiny purse as well.

A huge thing to consider about traveling abroad is flight delays! And yes, we had quite a few before reaching our destination. I highly suggest planning a day or two ahead, especially if you’re reaching to be on time for an event. My significant other and I planned two days ahead and it benefitted us beyond time delays. We had enough time to explore the city a little, trying the Mexican street food, and although the language barrier was tough, we figured out how the city worked and met a few locals. I also recommend reading up on social norms of your travel destination. It might surprise you how things are Americanized…like queso. I ordered a bowl of queso at a restaurant and they had to get their manager to come to speak to us because they thought we were crazy. The manager came out, spoke with us to make sure that’s what we wanted and brought back a bowl of….melted cheese. A block of melted cheese that kept hardening. I had to use a fork to separate it and even then was that challenging, it wasn’t creamy and didn’t taste anything like how it does back home. I was shook.

Before traveling to any destination you should always make sure you have a buddy you trust. Every city has spots you should never enter and definitely never enter by yourself. Again, that’s everywhere you’ll go, even in the comfort of your own city should you be aware of your surroundings and take care of yourself. Traveling to Mexico City, I definitely took some time to oversee the Travel Warning, although I was going with a large group of people and my rather buff boyfriend. For those of you who don’t know what a Travel Warning is, it’s a warning that may be issued in response to a civil unrest. There can be dangerous conditions, terrorist activities, and/or because the United States has no diplomatic relations with the country and cannot assist a U.S. citizen in distress. Travel.State.Gov website gives you information on where you’re traveling, why or why not this place is safe, alerts and a lot of other helpful info to guide you in the right direction!

Last and certainly not least, you should always make sure you have enough funds. Money for food, hotels, and if things go awry another flight back home. I had an incident and missed my flight by 5 minutes on the way back home to Virginia; the lady that worked at the airport was kind enough to give us a free ride back home without having to pay for another flight. If the tables were turned, yes, we would have had enough to get back home but we would have had to financially suffer in the long run had we not been so fortunate. Being in another country and missing your flight doesn’t always mean you ’ll have someone helping you out. Again, I was fortunate.

To wrap things up short and simple, you can go anywhere you want to go in the world. Life shouldn’t have limitations, but you should always remind yourself you only have one body and you need to be cautious when traveling. Have fun and explore what the globe has to offer, but whatever you do prepare yourself for the best and worst of any situation because anything can happen. Above all live it up…you never know what you’ll stumble upon.