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Joyce Chen

Joyce Chen

Hey there! My name is Joyce, and I’m a Taiwanese American student studying Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University. In Taiwan, I work as an English tutor to 2 adorable preschoolers. When I’m not studying or working, I love to travel throughout Asia! Throughout the incredible journey life has taken me on, I never fail to take a step back and thank God for the opportunities I have been given and to reflect on my faith. I hope you enjoy this little piece of my life, and thanks for visiting!


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Let's Take a Trip


When you’re getting ready to go on vacation, or any trip for that matter, it’s important to do your due diligence in making sure that you’re prepared! I’ve compiled a list of some things to remember based on some of my own experiences so when you’re actually traveling, you don’t have to sweat the small stuff.

Searching for Flights
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to purchasing flight tickets. I personally like using Google Flights to first compare prices, since it’s extremely user friendly and it’s easy to relate prices with flight times and airlines. You can also track the prices for a specific flight that you’re planning on taking! As for trying to find the cheapest flights, it’s difficult to say if there’s a certain time flights are cheaper, but one thing’s for sure: purchasing your flights earlier will give you more ease of mind. Some people like to wait until the last minute, hoping prices will drop, but this is a huge risk since the flight can fill up or the prices may even go up.

Planning your Itinerary
While it may be tempting to fill your schedules to be jam packed with every single activity you want to do from morning to night, you have to be realistic. Will you actually have the endurance to do a full day’s activities for multiple days in a row? Will you have jetlag? Give yourself some wiggle room, and don’t be too concerned about sticking to a strict schedule. Instead of worrying about time running out, just focus on what you’re doing in the moment! If you have the option of having a looser itinerary, I suggest planning themes for each day, and then deciding which theme you feel like doing when you wake up in the morning.

Where to Stay
With Airbnb’s becoming more and more popular, remember that they’re not always cheaper than hotels. Look into all your lodging options, including hotels, resorts, hostels, and Airbnb, and consider your needs. If you’re genuinely just looking for a bed to sleep in at night, and don’t plan on spending much time in there, a hostel is a great cost-efficient option. (If you’re worried about safety, always check reviews before booking!) On the other hand, for the traveler who prefers to stay on the hotel grounds throughout the trip, go for a resort and have everything you would need for a relaxing vacation at your fingertips.

Cultural Differences
Research the country you’re going to, and many blogs and travel sites will probably offer helpful tips on how to be respectful of a country’s culture and certain things to look out for. For example, when traveling to some more conservative, religious countries, make sure you’re dressed appropriately as a sign of respect (no one likes being the obnoxious tourist). The locals will probably appreciate it too if it’s obvious you’ve studied their culture and are making a strong effort to learn.

Visas
You’d be surprised how many people forget about needing a visa to travel to certain countries. Although the United States passport is a powerful one, it’s still important to check to make sure whether or not you need to apply for a visa in advance, and how long that processing time will be. You don’t want to have paid for your flight and hotel just to arrive at the airport and find out that you cannot enter the country. (Side note: Check your passport’s expiration date too!)

Tipping
Tipping is very different around the world. In some countries, like the United States, it’s pretty much an unspoken rule, since many service workers’ incomes are mostly comprised of the tips they receive. However, in others, it’s not always expected. Again, do your research and look into what the tipping culture is in the country you’re visiting. If all else fails, ask! Most people will be very straightforward with you and let you know if it’s necessary. And even if it’s not expected, if you had great service, show your gratitude and tip anyways.

Plug Adapters
This one might be one of the most commonly forgotten aspects of travel, but no, outlets are not the same in every country. Make sure you know whether or not your chargers will be compatible with the outlets there, and if not, bring an adapter! Many adapters are super versatile and can fit any plug and outlet, so you don’t end up having to buy a new adapter for every single type of outlet in existence. Remember that you’ll likely have more than one thing to charge at a time (i.e. a phone and a camera), so look for one that can accommodate multiple at once.

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