How to Prepare for Your First International Trip!
It’s one thing to grab a few bags, book a hotel and resort, and buy first international trip tickets for a domestic plane ride to a local destination.
There’s a hint of “ordinary” in these travels – you speak the same language, you breathe the same air, you watch the same channels.
It’s like nothing much is different, and that can ruin the spirit of your travel. When you go to another country, though, now that’s something else entirely.
We may or may not be familiar with the language, we might have a hard time navigating, or we may even have to get used to the local good.
First International trips have that air of excitement, and we don’t know what’s going to happen. Ideally, this is fun – there’s a thrill in discovering something for ourselves.
Though, if we’re going to a different country for the first time, we might want to make sure we’re at least prepared for what we want to do and explore.
How exactly can we do this, though? How can we prepare for our first international trip properly and still get excited?
Sort Out Your Documentation and Other Requirements before you Plan the Rest of your Trip.
When you’re decided on where you want to go and what you want to do, you should make sure you get all the necessary documentation sorted out. These include your tickets, your itinerary, and even your Visa.
While it’s fun to have a bit of spontaneity in your trip, it’s always better to secure your lodgings, your overall tours, and your flight home before the actual trip itself.
This gives you the opportunity to plan for things you want to do and eat, and even plan on the various places you can go to in your vicinity.
- Fix your necessary documents and make legal copies of them. These include your passport, visa, booking information, international drivers license and other essentials that you have to bring with you to your country of destination.
- Leave copies of these behind with someone you trust, so they have your information on hand should you need them. If possible, leave the original copies behind and just bring the legal copies with you.
- Don’t forget your health as well! Before you go to another country, double-check your vaccinations and go to your doctor just to check if you need vaccinations on anything else, especially if there are certain conditions that you might encounter in your country of choice.
- You should also ask your medical insurance provider if your plan with them actually works overseas as well, or if you should look for an insurance provider in the destination country just to make sure your expenses are accounted for if you get into a medical emergency.
Familiarize Yourself with the Environment and the Culture.
While it’s fun to discover new things for yourself when you’re on a trip, it wouldn’t hurt to at least make sure you have a general gist of the environment and the culture of the country you’re going to.
It’s important to be familiar with the many intricacies and different elements of their environment that influence their day-to-day lives.
This is especially when it comes to visitors like yourself, if your vacation date falls on a holiday, and if you happen to be staying near a historical landmark.
Take note of the basics of the language, have a dictionary with you, and make sure you have a general idea of how some customs and traditions work in your general location.
- This is similar to how you’d want to familiarize yourself with the controls of car games first before you go full-blown with experimenting with different mechanics. In the case of travel, it’s one thing to be spontaneous, and it’s another thing to be prepared for spontaneity.
- Get to know what things you can experience when you suddenly deviate from your travel schedule, so you won’t get caught off-guard with cultural traditions, events, and other circumstances you might encounter.
- Get yourself some guidebooks and read guides online as to how others actually explored your country of choice. You might think this can “spoil” your mood, but this really wouldn’t necessarily be the case.
- Your trip will be different than others’, and you’re simply using their experience as a reference for what you should and shouldn’t do to make your trip as interesting as possible.
- In speaking of interest, make sure you research events that are happening in your country of choice so you’re aware of the potential effects of these events to traffic and which of these you can attend. These can make for an interesting experience and a memorable encounter you’d be happy to share.
Pack According to Use and the Season.
First International Trip, Unless you’re willing to spend for the luggage allowance, it helps to pack your things according to not style, but most likely use.
This makes it much easier for you to pack only the important things and clothes, and this also helps you maximize your luggage allowance.
Take note of the season and climate in your destination, and take note of particular things regarding the weather, dress codes, and your comfort when you pack your clothes for this trip.
If you need to go shopping, try to go to thrift stores to get the best deals and to maximize your budget.
Also, if you’re able to mix and match clothes, you might want to choose practical but stylish articles of clothing but this might be hard to achieve.
- Dress appropriately for the occasion. Take note of cultural customs in terms of clothes, so you won’t get unnecessary attention by wearing the wrong clothing.
- Also, make sure your clothes are comfy enough for travel, so you don’t stress yourself out when you have to sit down for a few hours or even for an entire day during a long trip. Make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re wearing so you can focus on having fun during the trip in itself.
- Always pack extra clothes in your carry-on bags, just so you have things to wear if the airport suddenly loses your clothes or if your baggage got in another plane by mistake. This also lets you be prepared in case of emergencies.
- Take note of check-in luggage policies in your airlines, and decide whether you need to pack extra sets of clothes there or not.
- These might cost you a bit, but you may need to pack more clothes for the sake of convenience. If it’s for a short trip, consider just packing for a few days’ worth of travel.
Get your Local Essentials Prepared Even before the Trip.
First International Trip, One of the most crucial elements of preparing for an international trip is to get your local essentials prepared.
When we say “local essentials,” these pertain to objects and accessories you’ll need specifically to travel properly in your first destination.
Examples of these are subway tickets, SIM cards for your phones, local currencies, and other important objects you should possess that will help make your trip much more convenient and much easier to handle.
But you don’t have to buy local SIM cards every time you travel because electronic SIM cards are now available. For instance, eSIM from Airalo allows you to connect from anywhere in the world by choosing a regional, country, or global data plan that suits you. This type of eSIM is suitable for those who would rather call their loved ones using social messaging or video call apps instead of traditional phone calls and text messaging. It’s a very convenient communication option, especially if you travel frequently.
Having these will take care of the majority of your needs in terms of specific destinations on your trip.
- Don’t forget to download the essential apps for your trip! Apps like Google Maps are very helpful for navigation but don’t forget to find local apps – such as that for food, more specific navigation, and even translation – that will be able to help you during the trip in itself.
- Make sure you get essentials such as charger adapters, SIM cards, and subway tickets so you’re all set for your travels without much of the hassle. A lot of countries offer subway tickets that you can use for an entire day, and others also offer prepaid SIM cards that allow you to communicate both locally and internationally, so take these in mind before you go to your country of choice.
- Make sure you’re aware of the monetary conversion before you conduct your trip, and see what credit cards will work with your country of choice.
- These allow you to double-check how much you need to bring in order to have enough money for your trip. If possible, go to actual local banks to convert your money. Money conversion centers tend to cost you much more than necessary.
- You can exchange money at your local bank or credit union. Generally, you can withdraw money in the local currency with one to two percent exchange rates. Find your bank’s nearest automated teller machine (ATM) when you arrive abroad. Your financial institution can buy back your foreign currency when you return home.
- If you don’t want to pay high-interest rates and fees, don’t use your credit card at ATMs. Avoid currency conversion fees when shopping abroad by paying in the local currency at the point of sale instead of US dollars to save money.
- You might want to consider getting a multi currency account if you’ll be working or living abroad, allowing you to hold, spend, and receive multiple currencies for less hassle.
- In speaking of banks, call your local bank about your trip so they’re aware of transactions taking place in your account there, if necessary!
Prepare for Your Emergencies so you Know What to do.
First International Trip, Aside from your itinerary, your clothes, and your other accessories, always remember to check on how to deal with potential emergencies while you’re out on your journey.
Remember, hospitals and healthcare won’t work in your destination in the same way it does in your home country, so it helps to research about how to handle emergencies in where you plan to go.
These include potential sources of danger (e.g. the wilderness, malicious entities, accidents), how to deal with them (e.g. first aid), and even who to call e.g., the police, the hospital).
Securing your safety will give you that sigh of relief, and will avoid unnecessary panic should you find yourself in sticky situations.
- Read the news regarding your country of choice, so you can be aware of anything that’s going on that can put your travel or journey at risk. You can then start planning courses of action to take should you find yourself in dangerous situations.
- Get in touch with your version of the Consular Information Program of your equivalent of a State Department, so you can get to know travel alerts that are happening in your country of choice. If necessary, you can also go to your embassy to get to know what you need to do to get in touch with your country in case of any danger.
- Before you book your lodgings, make sure you choose a location that’s near police stations, hospitals, and even main roads.
- This lets you become capable of calling for help when necessary, and access vehicles in case of an emergency. If possible, familiarize yourself with the region where you’re staying, so you won’t get caught off-guard in the case of emergencies.
Prepping for Your First International Flight: Do It Easy, Peasy
First International Trip, With our tips in mind, it’s important to remember that while international trips seem very similar to domestic travels, we shouldn’t neglect to keep ourselves prepared and ready to explore, mingle, and interact.
Regardless of whether this is your first time or your tenth time traveling, always treat your first international flight to a new country as your first ever trip.
It won’t harm to add that extra layer of protection and security, as advised by some of the tips above.
And if you have more tips for your fellow explorers, don’t forget to share them below. If you have more quick tips and tricks to share, then feel free to comment as well!
Important International Travel Facts: