4 Tips for First Time International Travelers

So you've finally decided to see the world - congrats!

Needless to say, traveling abroad isn't the same as traveling in your own country. There are a lot of things that you should be prepared for before your trip overseas. We all know that the thrill of going on a new adventure is there, but you need to make sure that you have everything you need in place before you get all excited. 

Visiting a completely new place can bring a lot of excitement, but it can also be a bit scary and confusing. With the right preparation, however, your first international travel shouldn't be all too stressful. To help make sure that your trip will go smoothly, follow these essential steps below: 

Secure and double-check your passport

Your passport is the most crucial thing you need when traveling to another country. If you don't have one yet, make sure you apply for it before your expected departure. Delays in releasing your passport might happen so leave some allowance if you can. Don't book any flights yet as some international flights will require you to enter your passport number when booking a ticket. 

If you have your passport already, it’s good practice to create both digital and paper copies of it. Keep one in your wallet and take a photo of it on your phone. Make sure that you upload the digital copy on your Google Drive or Dropbox so it’s accessible anywhere you may be. If you are issued a visa in the country you’re visiting, take a picture of that as well. 

Your passport is necessary not only for your flight. Many hotels are required to scan your passport identification page as well. If your hotel asks you about this, don't worry, it's normal. Some would even hold your passport during your stay as collateral to ensure that you will be paying for your accommodation.

In most countries, foreigners are required to have their passports with them at all times. Frankly, it isn't the most advisable thing to do as you’re increasing the risk of your passport being snatched from you. Instead, bring a paper copy of your passport, and when asked for the physical one, you can explain that it is back at your hotel, and politely offer to retrieve it if they need to see it. 

Check to See if You Need a Visa

Once you've decided where to go, you need to check whether or not you'll need a visa to travel. If you're not familiar, a visa is a document issued by the country or countries you're traveling to, giving you permission to visit for a specific number of days.

If you're an American passport holder, you either won't be needing a visa for most countries such as the U.K, most of Europe, Asia, and Latin America or will receive one on arrival. But if you visit a country that requires one, make sure that you secure it before your flight. If you fail to do so, you won’t be allowed to board the plane, which can be a huge hassle and a waste of money. 

Make sure that you can access your money overseas

Thankfully, you don't need to carry cash or traveler's cheques when traveling overseas. Because of technological advancements, you can manage and access your money while traveling all over the world.

Check with your bank and see if you need to set up a travel alert while you're abroad so your bank knows when and where you're traveling. You can also ask them about international fees and whether they have partner banks in the country you'll be visiting. This can help you save money on expensive foreign transaction fees. Even though your debit and credit card will work everywhere, it’s important to know the corresponding fees and costs so you don’t end up losing too much money on extra charges. 

Plan your clothes and pack early

Most men pack their clothes at the very last minute, and this is not very ideal. Most of the time, people tend to forget things when they pack right before a flight. Forgetting an item can be very stressful especially if you can't return to get that item anymore. Either you have to spend money to replace it or compromise your comfort to go completely without it when you leave. Planning your outfits in advance will also take the guesswork out of figuring out what to wear when traveling. If you have everything sorted out beforehand, your first trip abroad is more likely to go without unnecessary hiccups.

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