The Ins and Outs of Travel in a New Country
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The Ins and Outs of Travel in a New Country
Regardless of where you are in the world, getting from one place to another can pose some challenges. When you’re exploring a foreign country, this is especially true. In an unfamiliar environment, you may feel like you’re groping in the dark.
Language and cultural barriers only serve to complicate the task of getting from point A to point B. Fortunately, before you leave to travel or work abroad, you can explore what transit options are available to you and how to best navigate them.
In this article, we’ll do just that, breaking down public and private transportation options and detailing how to select transport that fits your lifestyle.
When traveling, you may encounter forms of public transit with which you’re unfamiliar. For travelers from small towns, for instance, the bustle of Tokyo, Japan, and its massive subway system may be overwhelming. Japanese transit authorities estimate that upwards of 6.84 million people ride the metro daily, which is more than the population of any U.S. city besides New York City.
However, it’s not just sheer numbers you’ll encounter. The U.S. is notorious for its lack of public transportation, and in many cities, cars are the only practical means of transport. But other countries tell quite a different story; many European nations boast a widespread network of subway, rail lines, buses, and trams, which reduce the environmental impact of cars and encourage more tight-knit walking communities.
When you’re thrust into a system you have no idea how to navigate, it’s time to seek help. In some countries, you may be able to find a local English speaker to assist you. If no one in your general vicinity speaks English, you can rely on a paper guidebook or a digital translator to help you communicate. Most transportation systems also offer online maps, although the availability of these resources in English will vary depending on where you are.
Driving & Other Private Transport Options
You may be asking yourself if you’re even licensed to drive in a foreign country. The answer is usually yes, thanks to an International Driving Permit (IDP). To obtain and use an IDP, you’ll need to apply in your home country before traveling. The IDP essentially serves as a foreign copy of your driver’s license, allowing you to rent and drive cars in the country of your choice.
Having the legal right to drive in foreign nations means many travelers can fully relax, free to follow their own schedules and routes, independent of public transport. One of the best aspects of driving is the freedom a car gives you to see things off the beaten path, whether these are natural wonders or small villages inaccessible through other means.
Considering a Move Abroad?
Some people aren’t content with just visiting a country. They’ve found a foreign nation they want to make their home. For those looking to relocate abroad, there are additional factors to consider when it comes to driving in a foreign country.
Before you can even get out on the roads, you’ll need to ensure your visa status and income levels are in the clear. When applying for jobs in foreign countries, you may have to learn a new language, adopt new skills, and consider the business and cultural customs of the country. After you’ve surpassed the hurdle of getting an international job, you can then turn your attention toward driving in your new home country.
In many countries, an IDP will only get you so far. It doesn’t function as a long-term solution, which is why your new country may ask you to sit their own national driving test. This can pose many challenges for foreigners, especially those not well-versed in the local language. Fortunately, with the help of foreign driver courses, you can get your road rule knowledge up to par to pass the test.
Commercial Private Transport
If you’re wary about driving on foreign roads, some alternatives offer both privacy and peace of mind. It’s also a good idea to have a backup in case public lines of transport are down or you need to reach an out-of-the-way location.
Airport shuttles are a good example of commercial private transportation. Taxi cabs and ride-sharing services are also widespread worldwide; just be sure to educate yourself on safety, reliability, and regulations when it comes to these services.
Begin Exploring the World
Driving in a foreign country may be intimidating, but it allows you the freedom and flexibility to travel on your own terms. Likewise, public transportation can be an extremely cost-effective way to explore all a new area has to offer, as long as you can follow the local maps and guidelines.
When visiting a new country, it’s important to choose the transport options that work best for you. Now that you have a better understanding of how to navigate public and private transit abroad, you can make the most of your adventures!