Is it your first time travelling abroad? Are you both excited and nervous? It’s common to have mixed emotion but travelling abroad will expand your life’s perspective. If you think travelling internationally is difficult, think again.
Before the exact day of your trip, you must prepare for it. Here are the things you should be doing before heading to the airport:
Research about your chosen country
It’s always a good idea to be prepared. Armed with knowledge about the country and its culture, it will lessen the possible culture shock you might get. Going abroad and exploring it with the help of your research can make the whole trip happy and enjoyable.
Research the various places you want to visit, events you want to experience, the food you want to tastes, and more. You should also educate yourself about the culture. If the country is more traditional, mind your clothing. Study the do’s and don’ts of each country so you will not get in trouble.
Get your passport and visa
If you have your passport already, check the expiration date. You can still use it if it’s more than 6 (six) months. If you’re in need of passport, apply right away. It should not take long before you receive it. For visa, check if the destination country needs one or not, but it also depends on your nationality. Depending on the country and your nationality, research about the requirement and apply. It would take a month or so before you get approved and get it.
Buy travel insurance
If you already have medical insurance, find out if your policy will cover you once you’re away. If your insurance coverage is limited, it’s advisable to buy travel medical insurance policy. Travel insurance is also an option that covers trip delay and cancellation.
Create other copies of your travel document
Aside from your original copy of passport and visa, you should have at least one colored copy of them. Keep them somewhere safe. Other travel documents that need another copy are plane ticket, hotel reservations, and more. For digital copy, make sure these documents are saved to your device locally so you can access them anytime and anywhere even without internet connection. Also, make sure you have stronger passwords for your phone and email.
Book your accommodation in advance
After purchasing your plane ticket, it’s time to book your accommodation. If you’re going to popular destination countries such as Japan, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, U.S., France, and more, your choices are too many. Even budget travellers have so many options.
From hotel room to guest house to dormitory, name it and you will definitely in awe because of the choices. You just need to search online and pick the best for you and your budget. Airbnb is also a popular choice aside from Agoda and Booking.com.
Organize the budget
As soon as you have booked your flight and accommodation, you should find out how much money you need. It involves research. The things you need to include in your budget are:
• Entrance fee
• Guide/tour (if you need one)
• Transportation fees
• Other accommodation
How to know the costs of these things?
• You can start with updated guidebook; you can get it from bookstores
• Check travel guide section of various blogs pertaining to your destination
• Check out forums and ask the community.
• Facebook groups are also helpful
• Visit Lonely Planet website
• Use Google for checking current prices of specific things you want to do
Knowing all of these will help you to estimate how much money you need for the whole trip.
Create your itinerary
Planning your daily activities for the duration of your travel will help you enjoy the whole trip. You should outline major activities and the duration. If you need last-minute changes in your itinerary, do so and research more. In this way, you can be organized and be able to see the things you want to visit and experience the activities you’re eyeing. Find out if you need to reserve a tour or guide or you can do-it-yourself. Your itinerary will be your foundation for your whole trip.
Save and be ready financially
You should be able to save money for your upcoming travel. The money should cover everything – from insurance to souvenirs. Allotting money for travel is not an easy feat especially if you’re on a budget. So it’s wise to save several months from the actual day of your trip.
This one also involves research. Check if the destination country has enough number of automated teller machine (ATM) where you can withdraw money and if credit cards are just working fine. However, aside from credit card, it’s wise to have some cash on your wallet. Why? Two things:
• Not everywhere you go are credit-card friendly.
• Sometimes, you won’t find an ATM the moment you need to withdraw.
Familiarize yourself with exchange rates and bring some currency from your destination country. One or two credit cards are enough as well as debit card. Don’t bother to bring traveller’s checks as they are no longer universally accepted.
Register yourself with your embassy
It’s a wise move to register yourself in your embassy in a foreign country. It would be easier for your government to get in touch with you if there are issues and problems in the country you’re visiting and get you home safely.
Get an International Driving Permit
If you plan to drive in your chosen destination country, you need to obtain International Driving Permit. A lot of countries recognize this document. Aside from the permit, familiarize yourself with the local driving laws so you can avoid problems. You can inquire at foreign embassies for the official driving rules and regulations.
Learn the local language of the country
Knowing the basic phrases such as “Thank you” and “Where is the bathroom” in the country you’re visiting goes a long way. Non-English speaking countries have beautiful language and learning a bit of it will help you especially with health and safety. If you have food allergies or conditions, you can inform others about your problem using their local language. To make it easier, you can download a language app like DuoLingo or go for classic dictionary.
Gather your medicine and get vaccinated
Depending on your destination country, you may need to get special medications or vaccines as a precaution against different diseases. To know more about this, check the website of Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, it list down health advisories by country.
Moreover, if you’re taking any prescription medication, ensure that you bring enough to cover the duration of your travel. It’s also recommended to non-prescription medicines such as aspirin.
Ready some plug adapters
In your advance research of your destination country, determine if you need power converter or plug adapter. If you’re using 220-volt in your country the place you’re visiting has only 110-volt, then you need to buy an adapter so you can use your gadget. You should read the fine print of your chargers and other devices, so you would know which of them need to covert the power.
Pack light but appropriately
When having an out of the country travel, one of the valuables you need to bring is gadget. Always pack them in your carry-on and keep them locked-up in the hotel safe. It also pays to do your research in advance to know the essential things you must bring and the things you can buy there cheaply.
Moreover, it’s recommended that you invest in a practical luggage. A sturdy backpack is also a good choice; you can carry it around with ease. You can use on walking streets or doing some sort of hike. If you want to buy some souvenirs to bring home, make sure to leave extra space in your luggage.