Traveling internationally is very different from domestic traveling, so even if a person travels domestically frequently they will not be prepared for everything they need to know for international travel.
If a person has never traveled internationally before, they will probably have a long list of places that they want to visit. For that reason, they will have a hard time deciding where they want to go first. There are a few questions that people should ask themselves before they make a final decision.
• How far away do they want to travel?
• Do they want to travel to a country where they do not speak the language?
• Are they comfortable traveling to a country that is not as safe as other countries are?
Once those questions are answered and a person knows where they want to go, the fun really begins. They can book their flight and accommodations plus begin to find attractions that they want to visit.
Here are 13 tips that will make a first international trip a wonderful experience:
1 Get Your Passports Early
Everyone needs a passport when they travel internationally and they can take a couple of months to receive. If a person does not have a passport, they will need to plan their trip for dates far enough in the future to allow themselves time to receive a passport. Travelers who already have a passport will need to make sure that it will not expire for at least six months after their return from the trip.
2 Health Concerns
A person may need certain vaccinations depending on where they are traveling to. The CDC offers vaccine and health recommendations for international travelers. It is important for a person to visit their doctor for a check-up and to renew any prescriptions that will be needed. Every traveler will want to have enough medication for the duration of the trip and this medication should always be packed in their carry-on bag.
3 Get Insurance
Insurance companies’ medical policies vary and people should check to make sure that their policy will provide coverage when they are overseas. Temporary international medical insurance is recommended if your plan doesn’t cover you outside the country. You should also consider travel insurance; if circumstances prevent you from traveling, you don’t want to lose all your deposits and prepaids. Be sure to read the fine print, though, to make sure you understand what is and is not covered.
4 Register with the Embassy
People who travel overseas should always register with their embassy in case there is ever an emergency and they need to be reached or they need assistance. Your embassy or consulate is ready to help travelers navigate foreign emergencies.
5 Understand Local Currency
Currency is different in every country and travelers need to be aware of the conversion rates for the country they are visiting to make sure they don’t get ripped off. You can check the current rate on Google or on a currency converter site such as Oanda or Xe.
You may need a small amount of cash on arrival for cabs and other immediate expenses. Every person should have some cash in the local currency for the trip. You can order most currencies from your bank before the trip, but you will often get the best exchange rate by pulling cash as needed from ATMs once you get to your destination. Just be sure to check which ATM networks in your destinations work with your bank.
6 What You Need to Know About Credit Cards
Most people like to use their credit cards while they are on vacation. This is a great idea, as you won’t have to worry about the risk of carrying a lot of cash and the exchange rate is better than changing your money in a bank or exchange. However, it’s important that you check how commonly accepted credit cards are in the country you are visiting. Many small businesses may not take cards or may charge a fee to do so. You also need to check and see if your card will work in the country you are visiting. It is also a good idea to let the credit card company know about the trip, so that they do not deny any charges because they think that they are fraudulent.
7 Do Some Research
Guidebooks are available for everywhere in the world and they give travelers a wealth of knowledge. Apps are available for many destinations as well, but people should download them before the trip to save on data charges. You should have some idea of what attractions you absolutely want to see and plan on doing them toward the beginning of your stay. That way, if something disrupts your plans, you still have time to work them in.
8 Buy Tickets in Advance
If there are attractions that a person definitely wants to see, it is wise to purchase tickets in advance. This allows you to avoid long lines and possibly find a special deal. Many large cities offer a card that gives you entry to a lot of the most popular sites for a discounted price.
9 Don’t Overschedule
Many people like to plan the entire trip before they leave, but sometimes it is better to leave some time for local events like festivals. These may not be listed too far in advance and people can miss out on a lot of fun and traditional experiences if they are too busy to attend. This free time can also let you spend more time than planned at a scheduled attraction if you want or give you a chance to just relax.
10 Don’t Blow a Fuse
Electronics are peoples’ lifelines, but every country has a different size plug and voltage. To avoid losing the use of electronics on this journey, people should make sure that they take a charger adapter.
11 Avoid Crazy Roaming Charges
Travelers who spend time at amazing attractions will get so excited that they will want to share it with theworld. However, the roaming charges for their phone would be atrocious. It is best to set up the phone’s global capabilities even if there is a small fee to do this. Most major carriers offer international calling plans to fit your needs while traveling. You can also purchase a disposable phone after you get to your destination or try a wifi phone app like WhatsApp or Vonage.
12 Plan for Lost Luggage
No one knows if or when their luggage is going to get lost, so it is recommended that everyone pack an extra set of clothes in their carry-on bag. No one wants to spend their first couple of days in the same outfit. Most airlines offer limited reimbursement for lost luggage; make sure you have read your carrier’s terms.
13 Pack a Snack
Snacks are very important items to pack. They will not only help during the long flight, but also in case a person cannot find anything that they like to eat right away when they arrive at their destination.
First time travelers should also try to trust the locals of the country that they are visiting, because these people are a wealth of information. They are the ones that can turn a good trip into a fabulous one. Plus, those locals could actually turn into lifelong friends and a person can never have too many friends.