5 Tips for New International Travelers


If you are planning for your first travel experience abroad, you may be quite nervous about getting everything set up and working smoothly. There are, however, some tips that will help you move efficiently through this process for the first time.

Plan Ahead

Your first step on your international travel adventure is to decide where you want to go. Depending on your schedule and budget, you may want to start small, or perhaps you want to jump right in with both feet. In any case, research your chosen destination carefully. Look at travel websites, and purchase some guide books. If a foreign language is involved, brush up on some common phrases at least.

Also, book your transportation and hotel rooms far ahead of schedule. Be aware, too, that some airlines charge penalties for canceled reservations, so if you have a change of plans, take care of cancellations immediately.

Obtain Documents

Part of your early planning must involve gathering your travel documents. You will need a passport if you don’t already have one, and you might need a visa as well. Again, start early. These documents can take a while to process. For many international trips, you will also be required to prove that you have received certain inoculations. Be aware that some of them require time to take full effect, so schedule them well ahead of your planned trip. For security, make copies of all your documents, and leave a copy with someone at home.

Pack Carefully

As your trip approaches, make a list of everything you intend to bring with you. Then, recalling that there are fees for checked bags, reexamine your list to determine what you really need. As you pack, have a list of the airline’s rules nearby, and follow them. Put anything that could spill and make a mess in a sealed bag. Tuck a change of clothing in your carry on, just in case your luggage should be lost or delayed. Use airline approved locks on your luggage, but keep any valuables, including your documents and all money, jewelry, medicines and electronics with you at all times.

Manage Your Time

As you are planning for your trip, you will want to reflect on how to best manage your time. Even if you are an experienced world traveler like entrepreneur Joseph Sarcona, you are never going to be able to see everything you want. Therefore, you will have to pick and choose your activities. Make a list of a few “must see” locations and “must do” activities for your destination and a few secondary choices if you have time. You should also give yourself some flexibility. Don’t schedule so tightly that you have no room for spontaneous enjoyment.

Record Your Memories

Finally, find creative ways to record your memories. Take plenty of pictures, of course, but also purchase postcard collections so you can enjoy the scenery without being constantly behind your camera. You may also wish to keep a travel journal to record your adventures. If you aren’t much of a writer, make audio or video recordings instead. Last but not least, don’t forget to purchase some special souvenirs.

Above all, relax, and enjoy your international travel adventures with confidence and delight.


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