Traveling abroad for the first time is always an exciting prospect, but it’s also something you need to prepare extensively for.
Planning well in advance will keep you from getting overwhelmed.
Taking your first trip abroad?
The prospect can be as exciting as it is intimidating.
A new country means a new culture, unique cuisine, and sometimes even a new language!
What’s there not to like?
With so much excitement, however, it’s easy to miss a few key details that can complicate your trip.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered, and we’ve compiled a list of tips to help this trip start and finish as successfully as possible.
Let’s get started!
Don’t leave your passport for last!
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many leave acquiring their passports to the very last moment!
If you’re planning to go abroad, no matter where you go, this should be the very first thing you acquire. Yes, even before your plane tickets or making reservations in a hotel.
As of 2019, once you’ve finished all the steps necessary, you can get a passport in a little over two weeks.
Once it’s in your hands, then you can start planning.
Find out whether you need a visa.
Not so fast!
Some countries out there require you to get a visa, so once again, before you start making any serious plans, do a little research on this subject.
Sometimes you can get the visa in advance; sometimes you need to go to your consulate and sometimes the country you want to go to will let you acquire a visa at the airport.
The process can be very different from country to country, so it pays to do your research well in advance.
Choose your destination wisely.
Now that you have your passport and visa, the world is your oyster. All you need to do is choose your destination.
First-time travelers tend to want to stick close to home, so they choose countries they can get to in just a couple of hours; Others are a bit more adventurous and cross entire oceans to get somewhere else.
Regardless of where you want to go, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know the local language?
- Do I know anyone in the country I’m visiting?
- Do I know anything about the local culture?
- Do I have a way to communicate with my friends and family?
- Do I have access to an interpreter?
Answering no to these questions shouldn’t stop you from traveling abroad, but the more of these questions you can reply with a yes, the easier traveling will be.
Get familiar with the currency.
Before you leave your country, make sure you understand how the currency of the country you’re traveling with works.
You don’t want to depend on the kindness and honesty of strangers.
Get familiar with the bills, the coins, the value of each, and the average costs of basic things; If possible, exchange your money before you get to the new country and practice with it to really get the hang of it.
While you’re at it, you should also find out whether you can use your credit or debit card there and whether you can use the local ATM’s.
The more knowledgeable you are about this subject, the easier it will be to move around.
As airplane seats get smaller and airplanes get more crowded, it may seem impossible to be comfortable during a flight. However, the following items prove you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for convenience.
We’ve previously talked about the best ways to fall asleep on a plane. The trick was to get as comfortable as possible with a combination of simple hacks and some must-have objects. We want to dig a little deeper on the subject by offering you a list of items that will make any flight a lot more comfortable.
Whether your things are in the overhead compartment or under your seat, having to get up or move around to retrieve something is always a pain. To avoid these, use a portable seat pouch to store your necessities right in front of you — no need to move or disturb your fellow passengers.
If you’re thinking about what constitutes as an essential, a travel wallet is definitely that. Store your passport, plane tickets, cash, ID, and anything else you might need in one and avoid having to search for your documents before, during, or after your flight.
Why mess with the classics? Travel pillows are popular because they work and can help even the longest flights be more bearable. If you’re worried about the bulk, don’t be. There are inflatable travel pillows out there.
The easiest way to be comfortable in a plane is to create a private space for yourself. There’s not a lot one can do about being the company, but an eye mask is an excellent way of enjoying some privacy.
On the subject of blocking out your fellow travelers, one can’t simply overlook the power of earplugs. Turn on the noise-canceling function and enjoy your favorite playlist. You’ll forget you’re in a crowded airplane in no time. (Just make sure not to sing out loud or headbang!)
A shawl, scarf, or light hoodie.
Whether you’re traveling to a tropical paradise or a winter getaway, you can be sure the airplane is going to be uncomfortably cold. Keep easy to fold, yet warm clothing article in your carry-on and take it out before you board.
It doesn’t matter if your flight is long or short, chances are you’ll be using some gadget to entertain yourself until you reach your destination. If that’s the case, you’ll want to pack a power bank in your carry on, as no one likes to run out of juice mid-flight. Make sure to check with your airline before boarding, though, as some power banks may not be allowed outside of your luggage.
While we’re on the subject of failing gadgets, remember to pre-download all your in-flight entertainment; a lot of airplanes nowadays are offering wifi in their plains, but you don’t want to rely on that.
Books or magazines.
Yes, we mean paperbacks. Ebooks are good and all, but they still depend on power, which means they’re not infallible. Keeping a small book or magazine in your carry-on will provide you with flight entertainment just in case your gadgets fail for any reason.
And if you’re an avid paperback reader?
Then more power to you.
Passports are a lot more useful than most people realize and in a country like the USA, where less than half of the population have one, it can open many, many doors.
It’s estimated that less than half of Americans have an active passport and even less have ever been outside the USA.
It makes sense, of course. With a country as vast and varied as America, there’s plenty of traveling you can do around the country without going through the legal process needed to get a passport.
However, we’re of the idea that having one is always a good thing, and today we’ll tell you exactly why.
Passports Make Great Identifications
There’s plenty of debate around what constitutes a valid ID and what doesn’t, but passports tend to fall on the positive side of the discussion more often than not.
Sure, a bartender might not know what to do if presented with one for the first time,but as a federally recognized form of identification, there’s an excellent chance it will be accepted nonetheless.
Think about it, your driver’s license may or may not be valid outside of your state, but a passport? A passport can work worldwide!
Passports are Empowering
No, really. Think of it this way, you may not be planning to travel abroad anytime soon, but having a valid passport turns this into a “want” situation as opposed to a “can” one. Now, you can say you don’t want to travel to Europe, instead of saying you can’t travel, because having a passport gives you the gift of choice.
Speaking of gifts…
Passports Can Help You In Good and Bad Situations
Wouldn’t it suck if you won an all-expenses-paid trip to Bali that you have to skip be-cause you don’t have a passport?