On Tuesday 6 January my 14 year son left for a school trip to Japan. I was a bundle of mixed emotions. So I sent an email out to all the wonderful people on the ‘JoMuirhead.com’ list and asked for their top travel tips. Many people took the time to offer words of advice to Mr A, and also to reassure my mother’s heart. I am incredibly touched by the responses and the care that people showed me.

There is so much great stuff in the tips that I have shared them all with you here so that you can enjoy your own travel adventures

Travel Tips for 14 year old Mr A

  • For internet usage overseas. Buy a Telstra data pack in Aus first. It lasts a month. Use for internet etc. Turn off roaming and 3G/4g unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use ‘viber’ for internet phone calls through wireless or data plan.
  • Take power board for chargers etc.
  • Take one overseas adaptor and all chargers for phone, iPad, camera etc.
  • Locks for suitcases and bags.
  • Take photos of documents/passport on phone and print another copy just in case of theft.
  • Have pen and paper on you.
  • Love Google Translate, helps out with different languages.
  • I use ‘world mate’ app to save all details of my itinerary as it gives reminders of flights etc
  • and it’s one location of all trip details.
  • Have paper copy of itinerary just in case phone is flat?!
  • Stash cash in a few spots. A little in each bag? I left a bag on a train last trip with my wife’s purse etc… My BAD but easily done. We finally got it back but this doesn’t always work out.
  • Japan… Mmm , cold. Take thermals, obvious tip but I would be loving the skiing this time of year.
  • Any medication including pain killers, if possible get a letter from the doctor saying its for a condition etc. Too many neurofens may be suss, even if it’s to keep the pain from too much skiing away.
  • Try and learn as much language as possible. It goes a long way when making new friends and when out and about its polite to make a good effort. (most countries honour this)
  • Pocket handbook of Japanese?
  • All Visa cards overseas need pin no. Now.
  • Ugg boots 🙂
  • Drink heaps of water.
  • Remember: ‘Everyone you meet loves you!’
  • The Japanese are trustworthy and courteous and highly motivated to ensure your visit to their nation is enjoyable. They really like to serve you and expect nothing in return. They have no hidden agenda.
  • Nothing can go wrong!
  • Be curious and respectful and watch unexpected doors open to you.
  • Japan is one of the safest countries to travel in the world (I’ve been 4 times)
  • Smile and return small bows.
  • Have fun
  • Take your passport with you wherever you go! Even if it seems stupid!
  • Only drink bottled water and use it to brush your teeth (not tap water)
  • Enjoy the scenery with your eyes before taking photos
  • Look at the people around you and watch the world go by
  • Even when you are lost or scared, look confident and hold your power
  • Always pack your Angels… There massive, but still squish them in one was or another… Carefully fold their wings… always smile and engage rather than judge…
  • Have FUN!!!!! Take in as much of the culture as you can and stay safe! You’re going to have a BLAST!!!
  • Hi Jo and Mr A I haven’t had much travel experience but I have had some amazing experiences in my life and so the one tip I would give is BE IN THE MOMENT! Put down the camera, take the earphones out … take a breath and just look around and appreciate the moment (or probably moments) you are having. They pass too quickly but if captured in the brain – last much longer. Then pick up the camera – take a picture and each time you look at it you can remember how you felt in that moment.
  • To buy and eat a cheeseburger from one of Japan’s Vending Machines. (yep, comes out hot)
  • To Try the Awesome Japanese Mos Burger (the bun is made out of rice instead of bread)
  • To go to an Onsen – they aren’t creepy or scary – they are a cultural must in Japan.
  • Think of all the wonderful things he will share with you on his return.
  • Take less clothing than you think you need.
  • Take fast drying and wrinkle free
  • Always smile and be friendly to airport staff no matter what.
  • If travelling at a busy time of year take a small jar of pickle or like with you so that you can avoid the long queues and go through the customs quarantine line. It is always shorter and you are processed very quickly. Everyone else will still be in line while you have left the airport.
  • Google the destinations you are travelling to and get a quick history run down of the area, and find the hidden gems of places that are slightly off the tourist paths…
  • Ohhhh my favourite – not really advice – but in retrospect advice..
  • Don’t go to the Irish Pub or the English restaurant in every country you go to. I have eaten bad bad bad chinese food in France… WTF. Go local, immerse yourself in the culture and make sure you try to learn at least hello, good bye and how are you in the language
  • Always leave extra time for transport. This allows for getting lost/traffic/ and a whole myriad of other complications that can come up when travelling in a foreign country.Enjoy the trip!!
  • Travel tip from Debora in St. Louis, Mo, USA: Strive to accept everything as it comes, and to be totally open to people and their ways. Be a good guest, always respectful and polite. Look for things to compliment and enjoy the surprises along the way!
  • Follow your instincts. Your mother raised you well about the basics of right and wrong. These still apply everywhere in the world. But the precious moments happen when you least expect them. So follow your instincts and have fun!!
  • The only tip I can think of is be greatful and enjoy the moment. learn as much as you can about the culture and the place. Don’t rush from place to place embrace each place you visit and see. More importantly send your mum a message everyday letting her know what you have enjoyed and learnt.
  • I know I am late and I know Anthony is already over in Japan BUT having done the same thing when I was in Year 11… my best bit of advice is to just go and have fun and enjoy every second!

    The other thing (assuming he has been learning Japanese) is to just try and speak as much broken Japanese as he possibly can… He will be amazed at how much the locals will make an effort to understand him and teach him and his Japanese will come along so quickly in such a short period of time that even he will be amazed! And assuming they get time to explore the villages themselves etc, he will see the most amazing local non touristy things which I have no doubt, will remain a highlight of his trip.

Tips for Jo ( aka Mumma bear):

  • There is absolutely nothing to be concerned about – I would not say this for many other countries in the world, but definitely for Japan. My oldest grand daughter is 13 next week and I would have no hesitation about putting her on a plane to Japan for a couple of weeks.
  • Good luck mumma bear… You’ll be fine. Gods got this boy in the palm of his hand x To you Jo: Trust that your son is in good hands! He is going to have the time of his life and I know will want to share so many stories and great memories with you when he comes home!
  • Hi Jo, Sorry I don’t have any travel tips to share, but I am sure this will be something your son will never forget. He will be safe and sound and in good care where he will live and hope you can manage to keep it together while he is gone.

Jo – chill out for the above reasons. He will have the best time.

This is so great! Thank you again – if this has stimulated some more ideas and tips, please pop them in the comments section below. You people are just wonderful xxx

Here’s to your success.





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