If you travel to strange places, the chances of encountering problems are greater than normal. If you are well prepared for these situations, your trip will be much more pleasurable, fun, and adventurous.
Passports and Visas
Your passport is valuable, especially in third world countries. Keep a photocopy for reference in a secured and easily accessible location in case yours is lost or stolen. Note if your passport expires in 6 months, some countries may refuse you entry. Some foreign immigration can spring a surprise on you and charge you for an entry or even an exit visa.
Consulates and local contacts
If possible, consider medical insurance coverage for overseas travel.
Maps and Phrase books
I’ve found these invaluable. Also become familiar with phrases and words such as, ‘I’m lost, I need help, food’, water, bathroom, hotel, restaurant, etc. I also travel with a compass.
Local holidays and business hours
Familiarize yourself with holidays and local customs. You might travel for miles to get to a destination, only to find the place closed. Observe local custom especially if there is religious significance involved.
Have access to ready cash, either hidden on your person or kept somewhere safe. Look into bank transfers or other local access to cash in case of emergencies.
Transportation can be unreliable in certain parts of the world. Your driver, bus, or taxi may never show up. Learn local routes and have a backup plan. I never imagined that my first horse riding experience would have been the result of a stranded trip.