Traveling internationally is an experience that every person should have if they can. It’s an opportunity to broaden your horizons, to delve into other cultures, and to meet new people. Of course, what many forget is that planning a vacation abroad does require some legwork ahead of time. If you’re thinking about setting out on your first journey across international borders, here are a few tips to help make your planning and travel experience a little bit less stressful and more enjoyable.
Opt for All-Inclusive
First and foremost, all-inclusive doesn’t have to mean staying at a resort (hint: Discover Corps). You want to be a responsible, sustainable traveler, but a common misconception is that this means you have to be a backpacker. Finding an all-inclusive option that stays at local eco-lodges and offers meals made by locals are out there, and it can help make traveling abroad much easier. After you book, all you have to worry about is bringing your bathing suit.
Travel Purposefully (and Don’t Choose Randomly)
If you don’t already have a country in mind that you’d like to see, don’t choose randomly. Consider something you’ve always wanted to do, like going bungee jumping or trying a certain type of cuisine in its home country, then look for tours in advance, so that you can create a set itinerary for your trip to avoid chaos when you get there. You will also likely save some cash on tickets to museums or other tourist destinations if you purchase them a few weeks or months out from your anticipated arrival through a tour – it is a common myth that everything is less expensive when you get to the country you’re visiting!
Get Your Documentation in Order
It’s essential that you get all of your paperwork lined up before you leave the country — a tedious but undeniably necessary task. Most importantly, make sure your passport hasn’t expired, won’t expire within the next six months, and that there are no extra fees. Some countries won’t allow entry if your passport is set to expire within six months of travel. Also, check with your insurance provider and make sure you’re covered, should something happen on your trip. Many companies, like Discover Corps, will offer you insurance as a part of your trip fee and will also help with any visas needed to enter a country, so be on the lookout for this when booking.
Check Your Credit Card’s Fine Print
While some credit cards companies are happy for customers to charge things abroad, others will impose excessive fees that could put a real damper on your travels. Make sure you choose a credit card without foreign transaction fees to save a significant amount of money abroad while also gaining rewards.
Travel in a Group
If this is your first time traveling internationally, you may not want to foray off on your own. While many jetsetters really enjoy seeing the sights solo, heading off to another country for the first time can be overwhelming. When you’re part of a group, you have some support both before and during travel. That means you’ll have more folks to help you snap a photo with iconic pieces of art and a crew to have dinner with at the city’s best restaurants.
Perhaps most importantly, you should always prioritize your safety when you travel internationally. This includes selecting your destination carefully. Beyond just picking a destination, you also need to be careful once you actually arrive. Even in a reasonably safe international country, you should be aware that pickpockets will target obvious tourists, especially at the well-known sites. You may want to invest in a fanny pack that actually rests underneath your clothing to stow your cash. At the very least, keep an eye on your bag at all times and opt for something with zippered pockets. Never get into an unmarked cab and always lock your door.
From renewing your passport to checking your phone carrier’s international plan, there’s a lot to do before you can board a plane to a far-off locale. But as long as you heed these trips when you plan a getaway abroad, you should be able to fully enjoy the experience. So book your airplane tickets, pack your suitcase full of everything you’ll need and leave the U.S. behind to dive headfirst into another country’s unique culture, cuisine and customs. You won’t regret making the journey!
Questions about group travel or traveling abroad? Let us know in the comments below, or request Discover Corps’ free catalog to learn more!
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!