Just about everyone has wanted to travel at some point, but taking off on a grand adventure can be intimidating. This is especially true for novice or first time travelers. Whether you are a veteran globetrotter or a student taking their first international trip, you will definitely need to do your research on your destination before leaving. What you need to pack and what you need to know will vary by location, but there are some rules about travel that do not change regardless of where you are headed. Here are the top eight traveling do’s and don’ts you need to know before setting out.

DO try the local cuisine.

Even the most adventurous traveler can balk at the idea of consuming some of the things they find on the menu in their destination. They might opt for options that they feel are safer either in that they are familiar options or that they seem less questionable on the nutritional and edibility scales. Food, however, is a huge part of culture. If you have taken the time to visit a new place, you need to try the food. Depending on the location, you might end up pointing blindly to something on a menu written in Hebrew and watching as the wait staff snickers ominously. You might also be able to have a lengthy conversation with your waitress about whether or not you will actually like fried crawdads. Even if you have no idea what is actually on your plate, try it. You might be baffled to find out later that the translucent strips you adored in Japan were jellyfish or that thing from Berlin you thought was nasty was actually wienerschnitzel.

If you have severe food allergies, you obviously need to take care to avoid eating those items. As such, learn the local words for such foods so you can convey “no peanuts, I am allergic” without needing to resort to interpretive dance. Otherwise, try everything. This does not just apply to foreign countries either. Plenty of tourists from New England have taken one look at creole cooking in Louisiana and fled. Put your adventurous hat on and try the food. If it makes you feel better, do not ask what you are eating until you decide if you like it or not.

DON’T dress like a tourist.

Sneakers with white socks, a fanny pack, a map and a t-shirt with the most recognizable landmark in the nation emblazoned on it — put together, these all scream “tourist.” They also tell savvy or unscrupulous locals that you are an easy target for scams, theft or overcharging. Your sneakers are probably your most reliable traveling shoes, but do your best to limit how overtly the rest of your outfit looks like that of a stereotypical tourist. Wear normal clothing and ditch the fanny pack. If you feel the need to keep your valuables more secure than simply in your pocket, opt for a small lanyard-style holder or neck wallet that you can tuck under your shirt. Keep only the most important things with you, such as your passport and phone, and lock the rest of your valuables in a safe in the hotel.

DO photocopy your passport.

Every international traveler’s worst nightmare is their passport being either stolen or lost. A photocopy of your passport might be enough to get you out of a sticky situation if your passport has been stolen or gone missing. If possible, memorize your passport number in addition to having a photocopy. Do not, however, count on your photocopy being enough to act as a normal passport. If your passport has been irreparably damaged, lost or stolen, call your nation’s nearest embassy to find out what you need to do to ensure your safety. You will most likely have to make a trip to the embassy in person. If for some reason you cannot reach your own nation’s embassy safely, be aware of which nation’s embassy is the next best bet for you. For Americans, the next best options are usually the British or Canadian embassies, but your own nation’s embassy or consulate is by far the best option.

DON’T take a nap as soon as you arrive.

If you are flying west to east, the odds are that you caught a red-eye. The theory of red-eye flights, of course, is that you spend the flight sleeping so you can function when you land. Anyone who has ever had an overnight flight knows that the idea of sleeping soundly on a plane is laughable. As such, almost everyone who has flown a red-eye, whether internationally or simply from one coast to the other, knows the feeling of landing in the airport exhausted, uncomfortable, irritable and willing to do just about anything in order to get some sleep.

You may not want to hear it, but that two hour nap you have been dreaming about since the plane took off is a very bad idea. When you land in a new time zone, your best bet is to get on the new schedule as quickly as possible. This means limiting yourself to a 30 or 60 minute nap when you were up all night traveling so you can go to bed at a reasonable local time or forcing yourself to go to bed at what your body clock says is an obscenely early time when you have flown east to west. It may make for an unpleasant afternoon, but getting on local time as soon as possible will help limit your jet lag and make your vacation far more enjoyable.