If you have never traveled internationally, it can be intimidating to think about traveling to another country. Trying to think about what you’ll need to get out of, and back into, the United States; researching where you would like to travel and where you should stay; and just figuring out how to get from here to there can all be overwhelming. To try and help make your international travel easier, here are 6 tips to help make your trip a success.
1. Get Your Passport Early – In general, it takes 6-8 weeks to get your passport, or 2-3 weeks with expedited service. But those are rules of thumb provided by the Department of State and are, by no means, a guarantee. Instead, try to order your passport at least 3 months in advance, just in case there is a delay in processing. Also be careful if you have a passport that is going to expire soon. Some countries will not let you enter if your passport is set to expire in less than 6 months. So if your passport is expiring shortly after your trip, you may want to renew it before you go, rather than after.
2. Bring Copies of Reservations – Having a copy of a reservation for hotels, airfare, and events can save you time, money, and ensure you have a place to stay. Do not assume that the hotel or airline will have your confirmation information, as there are many cases of glitches. And unlike being at home where you can make a phone call or pull up an email to get your information, you may find yourself in a situation where you can’t access the information you need. Keeping a detailed list of confirmation numbers and details can save your trip.
3. Bring Cash – In the local currency. You’ll also want to find out from your bank if you can use ATMs where you are going, and what the cost will be to convert currency when there. You don’t want to walk around with huge sums of cash, but in the event your credit cards don’t work, or you need to buy something where credit isn’t accepted, that local currency cash will be important.
4. Travel Credit Card – Call your credit card companies to see if any offer no foreign transaction fees. For most credit cards, you will pay 2-5% in fees when you use your card internationally. If you are traveling for a few weeks, those fees can really add up.
5. Leave Your Itinerary with a Friend – Make sure someone at home knows where you will be at all times. In the case of an emergency, it will be easier to get help, and in the event of an emergency at home, they can get in touch with you.
6. Call your Cell Phone Provider – Every provider has different policies for international travel, so make sure you understand what you can and cannot do, and what it will cost. For most, sticking with WiFi works well, but make sure nothing unexpected will happen from that. And if you absolutely need to be able to make calls, make sure your phone can make calls internationally.
By following these tips, you will find planning your international trip will be much easier, and your trip will be much less stressful. Good luck, and enjoy the travels.