One of the best investments you can make in life is to travel to new countries. Seeing how other people live and getting to know their culture and history will teach you new things about yourself and the world.
Traveling abroad is about creating new experiences, so being a little spontaneous doesn’t hurt. However, planning ahead will save you a lot of headaches before and during the trip, especially if you’re going somewhere for the first time.
Now, all that’s left is packing your bags, booking your tickets and getting ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
Read on below to discover 8 essential international travel tips that’ll help you stress less and enjoy your trips more.
1. Plan Ahead
The number one rule when traveling internationally? Plan your trip weeks or months ahead. If you need days off work, don’t wait until the last minute to ask your boss. Find someone to take care of your pets, children, or parents while you’re away.
Make sure all your documents are up to date and your hotel and flight are booked. Research the airports, download maps, and read the airline guidelines about what’s permitted in your hand luggage.
Double-check your passport expiration date and check your visa expiration date if applicable. Note that you can’t get a long-term visa for any country if your passport is close to expiring. For renewing and reissuing, you’ll have to pay a certain passport fee, which is an expense you should plan for.
The next step is buying everything you’ll for the trip: clothes, shoes, medicine, toiletries, and other essentials. Check the weather at the destination to avoid overpacking. Efficient travel planning can save you time, money, and your sanity.
2. Arrive Early
Do yourself a favor and arrive at the airport or station 2-3 hours before departure. It’s better to be early than to rush across the airport only to be delayed at the security check and risk missing the flight.
Once you get past security, you’ll have plenty of free time to relax, read a book, do some work, or eat before you leave. Airports and bigger train stations are packed with interesting stores, coffee shops, and lounge areas where you can sit back and relax before your trip.
3. Dress Comfortably
If you have a long international flight, it’s essential to wear comfortable clothes. Stretchy jeans or a good pair of leggings are a great choice for flights, combined with a flowy top and a lightweight jacket (it’s cold inside planes).
Choose shoes you can wear for a long time, but also remove quickly at security check. Ballet flats, slip-on sneakers, and espadrilles are the best choice for flights. Leave the heels, slippers, sandals, and complicated shoes for when you land.
4. Don’t Overpack
The biggest mistake beginner travelers make (and some experienced ones) is overpacking. Most people do it because they can’t predict what they’ll need at the destination, so they bring everything. This will not only make the trip more difficult, but you may also pay overweight luggage fees.
If you’re not sure what to bring, go online and do some research. See what the weather is like there and what other travelers like you packed. If you end up needing something you didn’t pack, you can always buy it at the airport or at your destination.
5. Research the Destination
Whether you’re going to a faraway tropical vacation or a road trip across a different continent, research your destination in detail. What are the customs and culture of the country/region? What currency do they use? What is acceptable behavior? What is the crime rate? Is there easy access to transportation, food, water, and other necessities?
Being prepared will help you stay composed in all kinds of situations and blend in with the locals instead of looking like a lost tourist. Explore the area you’ll be staying in on Google Maps and stay away from dangerous neighborhoods when you’re booking accommodation. They might be cheaper but come with a risk.
6. Bring A Book
Reading on flights is one of the most underrated travel tips and tricks, but it can save you from boredom and help expand your mind.
Bring a book to stay busy when you’re done watching movies or working on your laptop. Reading is a great way to relax your mind and spend some time away from computer screens.
E-readers are a great option if you’re an avid reader but don’t want to drag several books in your hand luggage. You can read something related to the country you’re visiting or learn the most common phrases in their language.
7. Eat Before You Travel
You can buy food at airports and airlines serve meals during the flight but try to eat a full meal before your trip. Make sure it’s packed with nutrients to keep you full longer.
Pack some energy bars and healthy snacks for the trip as well. You never know what plane food tastes like and whether it’s fresh, so it’s best to bring your own.
8. Prepare Mentally
Now that you’ve packed the essentials and booked your tickets, you should prepare mentally for the trip. The goal is to relax your mind and stay hopeful that everything will be fine. You should also be prepared for unexpected situations at airports or at the destination and not let them shake you.
To relax before an international trip, make sure to get quality sleep before the flight. Print your itinerary, make copies of all your documents, and keep important contacts at hand. Meditation is another way to calm your mind and prepare for a long trip.
Make Your Trip Memorable With These International Travel Tips!
Whether you’re flying abroad for the first time of you’re bitten by the travel bug, these international travel tips will help you plan your trips better.
If you plan everything ahead, learn to pack like a pro, and leave little to chance, all you have to do is enjoy your time away and have fun.
Thinking of traveling with a group instead of solo? In this article, we discuss the advantages of group travel and why you should explore the world with other like-minded travelers.