Traveling is not on everyone’s priority list—that’s a fact. But, if after sometime you find it being listed in yours, you’d want to make sure you prepare for it the best way you can. You wouldn’t want to find yourself in a destination you don’t enjoy—or finding the best action camerasfor you and your friends yet you can’t maximize their use. Careful planning can make or break your travel. Below are some essential pointers to guide you through your preparations for your next (or probably, first) getaway

Master your camera, don’t let it master you.

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What’s a trip without pictures to remind you of your experience? Invest in a camera that fits your needs on the go. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Some point-and-shoot camerasfeature quick shutter speeds and super zoom lenses, which are enough to produce good image quality.

Once you’ve chosen your camera, make sure to read the user’s manual and test if all the buttons and settings work properly. Practice taking the kind of shots you want to do and research what time and weather is best to capture that photo.So that when the chance to take the photo you want arrives, you’ll know exactly what settings to adjust and which buttons to press. Remember, some moments during travels are fleeting—just like getting a shot with Mt. Fuji in all its glory. So make sure you don’t let any technical difficulties hinder you.

Consider your personality when choosing a travel destination.

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You would usually base your choice of car or clothing on your personality, so why not do the same for travel? Remember, just because one person enjoyed a certain place doesn’t mean you would, too. To help with your choosing your travel destination, travel blogger Mindful Gypsy suggests that you ask yourself the following questions:

●   How much time do you have?

●   What kind of travel do you enjoy?

●   What’s your preference: travel fast or slow?

●   What culture are you drawn to?

●   Are you flexible on dates?

●   Are you flexible with locations?

●   Which season do you prefer?

●   What can you afford/what are you willing to spend?

●   Who are you traveling with?

●   What does your heart tell you?

If you’re a picky eater, consider the cuisine as well. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in a country where you’ll have nothing to eat. Make sure that the place you choose can provide you with at least a couple of food options so that you can focus on exploring and not on your rumbling tummy. Once you’ve got it all sorted out, you can narrow down your travel options into countries or places that you’ll enjoy to the fullest.

Read up on the country, town, or city and its people.

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Each country, city, or state has its unique laws and cultures. What might be considered normal from where you are might be perceived differently in another place. In early 2016, an American student was detained in North Koreafor allegedly conspiring to perform a hostile act to bring down the North Korean government. While there are no clear details yet about what really happened, his case serves as an example of the things that can go wrong when visiting other countries with an entirely different culture and government.

Being informed is the best defense against these kinds of trouble. Know the temperament of the majority of a country’s citizens. Read up a bit on their history, too, so you can avoid unintentionally offending others through insensitive jokes and statements. Know which things they hold up as sacred and the proper decorum you should observe in visiting sites and artifacts that they consider as such. You wouldn’t want to be declared persona non grata and be banned from visiting a certain place, would you?

When shooting photos of a local, remember to ask permission first to avoid invading one’s privacy. Different countries and cities have different laws and statutes regarding this, so it pays to be informed. Also, some people may be uncomfortable with having their photos taken, so know how your subject feels first. Respect begets respect, so if you want to gain your subject’s trust, be a decent human being first and ask.

Set a budget for your possible expenses.

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It’s easy to be trigger happy with swiping your credit card for all the things you want to include in your itinerary. Just be sure you do not end up shocked at how much you have to pay when your bill arrives. You want to be swimming in good memories, not in debt.

So what should you do? Make a list of the fees you’ll have to pay like visa fees, accommodation fees, departure taxes, and accommodation fees. Also set aside budget for interesting tours and activities that can come up during the trip.

When going abroad, make sure you have enough foreign currency with you because not all establishments will accept credit cards, and there is no telling when you will need to pay with cash.

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It’s impossible to be prepared for everything that can happen during travels, but adequate planning gives you peace of mind that at least a big portion of it will be smooth sailing. Being in a different place is more enjoyable when you can savor each experience as it comes. Remember, your time in a certain location is limited when you travel. Some moments may never come again, so make everything count. Devote a certain time out of your days to plan.