If there is one thing that should be on every person’s bucket list, it’s international travel. Whether you go to a bordering country or halfway around the world, there is so much to see and you definitely don’t want to miss out.
Traveling has completely changed my life. It has opened up my eyes to so many different, beautiful and amazing things that I would have never seen if I hadn’t ventured abroad.
I know that it can be scary to take your first international trip, and it requires a lot of preparation. But, don’t worry! It’s easier than you might think.
Here’s everything that you need to know about international travel!
Apply for a Passport
When you are traveling internationally, your passport is your most prized possession. Your number one goal is to keep that little blue book safe and ready to go.
If you need a new passport, plan well in advance. At the moment, most United States passport applications are processed in six weeks, but it’s better to give yourself as much time as possible. You definitely don’t want to be stalking the postman days before your trip if there are any unexpected delays.
You might also want to consider budgeting for the Global Entry program.
For $100, you can get fast-tracked through customs. You’ll be able to avoid the lines, skip the paperwork, and get to where you are going faster. It’s been my lifesaver over the past year!
Research Your Dream Destination
Not sure where to go? Get on Pinterest! Whenever I’m struck by wanderlust, I dig around Pinterest until I find my dream destination. There are so many amazing places in the world, so keep your eyes open.
Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path.
If a place catches your eye, start researching. Read about other travelers’ experiences and droll over their pics. It won’t take long for you to have a must-visit list that’s a mile long.
Check for Visas & Travel Requirements
Before you start booking tickets and accommodation, check on travel requirements. Ultimately, you can show up with no reservations and make it work but not having the right visa will stop you in your tracks.
Checking for recommended or required vaccinations is also very important. I ALWAYS check the Center for Disease Control‘s website to confirm which vaccinations I need.
Consider Your Budget
When you travel, spend your cash on what you love. Do you! Don’t feel like you have to go to all of the hyped-up tourist attractions. Save your money so that you can splurge on things that you’ll always remember.
Get one night in a fancy hotel or go out for an incredible meal rather than shelling out cash for Starbucks or other forgettable expenses. Once you have a “splurge versus save” list for your destination, you can start planning.
Plan an Itinerary
Ready to make your dream a reality? It is time to start planning your itinerary. While you definitely want to leave some wiggle room for spontaneous adventures, it’s handy to have a list of things you want to do and see.
Decide how long you can travel and which areas you want to see.
If you are planning to visit a few different places, figure out how easy it’ll be to get from one place to the next.
Normal operating hours vary from country to country and some activities are seasonal so dig around online to get all of the details. For personal experience I can’t tell you how important this is!
While in Paris for a few days, I didn’t realize that the Louvre was closed on Tuesdays, and missed my chance to go. It’s also important to know that some destinations completely shut down in certain seasons.
Book Your Flight
The person sitting next to you may very well have paid double for their airline tickets. Or worse yet, your seat mate might have paid half the price you did! Not all travel websites are created equal so do your homework before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
Book Your Accommodation
Depending on your location, you might not need reservations. I would always recommend booking at least the first night but you can leave the rest of the nights open if you’d prefer. If you’re in a city, it’s usually very easy to find the perfect spot to spend the night.
As always, do what works for you! If it stresses you out to not have your room booked, get everything set in stone. If you’d rather play it by ear, go for it, but have some knowledge about your destination first.
So many things can affect your ability to get a room, like festivals, events, local holidays, and business conferences, so make sure you know what to expect before you go.
I’ve met so many people who have their dream trip completely planned but are always waiting for a better time to go. It’s time to get moving, guys. There will always be distractions so just GO!
I promise you, you’ll never regret it.
Your adventure will be one of the greatest experiences of your life. Wherever you go and whatever you do, it’ll be one of the most liberating and exciting adventures you’ll ever have.
The more you see of the world, the less scary it is. Formerly distant, mysterious places can quickly start to feel like a second home. As long as you keep your head on straight and do a bit of research, you can safety navigate anywhere.
Get travel insurance, keep your possessions in a bag with a secure closure, always let people know where you’re going, and learn about the culture and neighborhoods before you go. A little precaution and common sense will get you everywhere you need to go.