Embarking on an international trip can be a great experience, offering you a chance to expand your horizons and create memories that will last a lifetime. However, with so many things to consider – from visas and vaccinations to packing and language barriers – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 33 tips for traveling internationally, covering everything from planning to safety and maximizing your time abroad. So buckle up, grab your passport, and get ready to explore the world like a pro!
Tips For People Traveling Internationally
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time traveling abroad or your twentieth time, there’s always something to learn or remember! Here are 33 of our top tips for traveling internationally to help you get off on the right foot.
Research your destination
Before you travel, make sure to research the culture, customs, and laws of your destination. This can include respecting religious customs, dress codes, and social norms. Understanding this will help you to be respectful of local customs and avoid any misunderstandings. Plus, you want to make sure you’d actually enjoy traveling there in the first place!
Get a passport
If you don’t already have one, apply for a passport several months before your trip. Make sure to check the expiration date on your passport and renew it if necessary. If you plan on an extended trip or are going to be traveling frequently, renew well in advance before you go. The last thing you want to do is be stuck abroad with an invalid passport.
Check visa requirements
Make sure to check the visa requirements for your destination and apply for one if necessary. This can typically be done online and may require supporting documents such as proof of financial stability, a travel itinerary, and more.
Check for health risks
Research any health risks associated with your destination, such as infectious diseases or food-borne illnesses, and take any necessary precautions. This can include getting vaccinated, carrying medications, and being mindful of what you eat and drink.
Make a plan
Plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your trip. This can include researching popular tourist attractions, booking accommodation, and making transportation arrangements. Having a plan in place can help you to make the most of your time and reduce stress during your trip.
Make copies of your important documents
You should make copies of your important documents before you travel and keep them in a separate location in case of loss or theft. Scan them so that you have a copy on your home computer and take a photocopy of your passport with you. You should keep it in a safe place, separate from the original. In the event that your passport is lost or stolen, having a copy can make the replacement process easier.
Be prepared for emergencies
Have emergency contact information, such as the local embassy, handy in case of an emergency. Familiarize yourself with local emergency procedures, and consider purchasing travel insurance to cover medical expenses and other unexpected costs. It’s also a good idea to carry a basic first-aid kit and know basic first-aid procedures in case of an emergency.
Purchase travel insurance
Travel insurance can protect you from a variety of unexpected events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost luggage. Make sure to read the fine print and understand the coverage offered by your policy, and consider getting additional coverage if necessary.
Make a packing list and stick to it, focusing on items that are versatile and can be worn in different ways. Consider the climate, activities you have planned, and any local customs when packing. Remember to pack lightweight and comfortable clothing and footwear, as well as any necessary medications and personal hygiene products. If your destination is cold you’ll need warm clothes and these are usually bulkier. It can be a good idea to wear bulkier clothes while you travel if you need a bit more space in your suitcase.
Travel light if you can
If you can, travel light and just pack the essentials to minimize the hassle of traveling and reduce the risk of lost or stolen luggage. This can include packing multi-use items and leaving behind unnecessary items. Most people will be guilty of taking a pair of shoes on holiday that they never use!
Some seasoned travelers can even get by with only taking carry on luggage. If you want to try this, just make sure that your bag or suitcase is within the size and weight limit for cabin bags. After all, it’s much better to hear “welcome abroad“, rather than “sorry, you can’t board because you’ve exceeded baggage restrictions”!
Pack essentials in your carry-on
Pack essential items, such as medications, important documents, and a change of clothes, in your carry-on in case your checked luggage gets lost. This can also include a travel adapter, as well as any electronics or chargers you may need.
Bring a travel plug adapter
This has already been mentioned but deserves a line of its own, some countries use different types of plugs. Without a plug adapter, you won’t be able to charge any of your electronic devices while you are abroad.
Learn some phrases in the local language
Learning a few key phrases in the local language can go a long way in making your trip more enjoyable. This can include phrases for ordering food, asking for directions, and simply saying hello and thank you. This can be useful for communicating with locals, navigating unfamiliar surroundings, and making connections with people. It’s also a sign of respect and can help to break down language barriers. You can download a language learning app or even consider hiring a language tutor to help you prepare.
Use cash and credit cards wisely
Research which type of currency is preferred in your destination. When you travel, make sure to have a mix of local cash and take any credit cards you need. Consider getting a travel-friendly credit card with low or no foreign transaction fees. Such fees can really mount up if you’re not careful.
Be aware of currency exchange rates
Keep track of currency exchange rates and only exchange money at reputable exchange bureaus. This can help you to avoid overpaying or being scammed.
Familiarize yourself with local safety precautions and take steps to protect yourself and your belongings. This can include avoiding walking alone at night, keeping your valuables in a safe place, and avoiding dangerous areas.
Avoid scam artists
Be aware of common scams in your destination and take steps to protect yourself. This can include being cautious of individuals offering unsolicited services, avoiding ATMs that appear to be tampered with, and being mindful of overcharging in taxis or other modes of transportation.
Keep important documents safe
Keep your passport, visa, and other important documents in a secure place at all times. Putting them in a hotel safe is a good option, and if you need to take them out with you a money belt can come in handy.
Use a money belt or neck pouch
Keep your money, passport, and other valuable items in a money belt or neck pouch when out and about to minimize the risk of theft. This can help you have peace of mind while exploring.
Stay connected: Using your phone abroad
Consider getting a local SIM card or using a travel-friendly phone plan to stay connected with family and friends while traveling. This can also be useful for accessing maps, making reservations, and researching attractions.
If you want to use your phone contract from home you can activate international roaming. Just make sure that the charges aren’t too high for using your phone abroad as sometimes these can shock you.
Get a local map
Get a local map to help you find your way around. You’ll often find them in the hotel or hostel where you are staying and they are usually given out for free. Such maps can also be useful for highlighting local attractions, and restaurants, and can help you to plan your itinerary.
Use public transportation
Take advantage of local public transportation options, such as buses, trains and taxis, to save money and get a glimpse into local life. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the routes and schedules, and be mindful of pickpocketing and other safety concerns.
If you’re traveling as part of a larger group, you may want to consider charter buses. That way you’ll have the advantage of having a local, experienced driver, but also know everyone you are traveling with. This can help things feel safer and more convenient, if that is a concern.
Be mindful of local customs
Be respectful of others and their beliefs and try to adhere to local customs, such as taking off your shoes when entering a home or covering your head in a mosque. Do your best to understand local traditions and avoid doing anything that may be considered offensive. You may even learn from your interactions with local people.
Respect your destination
Be respectful of local people and their communities and be mindful of noise levels and littering. This can help to create positive relationships and memories, and ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for everyone.
Respect local wildlife
Observe wildlife from a safe distance and do not disturb their natural habitat. Make sure to follow any rules and regulations in place to protect wildlife and their environment, and never participate in activities that exploit or harm animals.
Keep an open mind
Be open-minded and flexible during your trip, and be willing to embrace new experiences and perspectives.
Get to know the local culture
Immerse yourself in local culture by attending cultural events, trying new foods, and meeting local people. This can help you to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the place you are visiting.
Take advantage of free activities
Free activities and attractions, such as local festivals, museums, and parks, can be a great way to experience the local culture while staying within your budget.
Try local food
Immerse yourself in local cuisine by trying new foods and drinks. This can include sampling street food, visiting local markets, and dining at family-run restaurants. Be open-minded and adventurous, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Practice good hygiene and be mindful of what you eat and drink to avoid getting sick. This can include washing your hands frequently and avoiding local tap water or any unhygienic-looking street food. However, you can get great street food in some countries, so it’s often down to judgment and where you go. You should also drink plenty of water, especially in hot or humid climates. This can help you to avoid dehydration and maintain your energy levels.
Take time to relax
Make sure to take time to rest and recharge during your trip. This can include taking a stroll through a park, reading a book, or simply relaxing at your hotel. Taking breaks from the hustle and bustle of travel can help you to stay refreshed and enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Make a note of your return date and any key transport times in your calendar. The last thing you want to do is miss your transfer to the airport or miss your flight after an enjoyable holiday.
Take time to reflect
After your trip, take some time to reflect on your experiences and what you learned. This can include writing in a journal, sharing stories with friends and family, or even creating a photo album. The memories and insights you gain from traveling can enrich your life and broaden your perspectives.
Conclusion: Just Travel!
As your international adventure approaches, it’s normal to feel a mix of excitement and nerves. The idea of stepping outside of your comfort zone and into a new and unfamiliar place can be daunting, but the rewards of travel should far outweigh any stress or anxiety. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first trip abroad, remember that every destination comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. So, embrace the adventure and use any setbacks as an opportunity to learn and grow. These tips for traveling internationally should help you on your way.
With a little preparation, an open mind, and a sense of adventure, you’re sure to have an incredible time exploring the world and making memories that will last a lifetime. Safe travels!