There is a fair amount of planning involved when you travel internationally. This is true for business trips or sightseeing. Depending on your vacation objectives it is important to take control of the planning process right away. You can do this by finding creative ways to tailor the entire experience for your wants and needs, making the trip extra exciting. According to World Atlas, the U.S. is among the top four countries with citizens traveling internationally each year — many global travelers originate from areas like the DMV. So here are five international travel tips to ensure a fun, smooth ride.
There are no limitations to what part of the world one can visit, personalizing and designing a unique travel experience will make your first hop across the pond more memorable. Before you even board a plane towards a destination, set guidelines for the trip. Making decisions in advance ensures you get the most out of your trip. Travelers have more fun when the itinerary details are worked out ahead of time.
Set Your Budget
It is possible to plan an international trip on a budget and still have loads of fun. Before setting an arbitrary budget, conduct some research. The places you choose to visit will impact your expenses, this is why setting a budget is so important.
When doing your research, consider the type of experience that best fits your budget — economy, mid-range or luxury. This may be the difference between a European vacation of $1,200 or $2,500. Be sure the length of your trip accommodates things like hotels, food, and excursions. This will help you to not overspend the set budget. Budget Your Trip is a fantastic app resource to use when planning. It even allows you to focus on individual countries.
Choose a Destination
Most seasoned travelers know where they want to go. Choosing a destination is easy for them, but this may not be the case for the first time international traveler. This is where international travel tips can make things easier. Again, consider your budget and do some research. Some travelers pick a region to visit, while others are drawn to a special event.
If the Mediterranean region is on your list, Italy and Greece are two popular destinations. It is possible to find budget-friendly things to do throughout these countries — check out the waterways of Venice, climb Mount Olympus to visit the site of the first Olympic games or hit the Greek isles for some amazing beaches! Other folks travel the globe seeking exciting events and one of a kind experiences. That traveler may opt for Paris over London because of a specific event. Lollapalooza and the annual Grape Festival are two examples of fun activities one can experience in Paris.
As you plan your trip, tailor your travel arrangements to meet your vacation expectations. Maximize your schedule to include activities that will make your trip special. The internet offers blogs like Speed of Life and popular trip podcast resources for good and helpful travel inspiration.
Prepare Your Travel Documents
Americans traveling internationally can utilize the U.S. State Department website to prepare. One of the most important steps involves having relevant travel documents ready-to-go. Get your passport — NOW! Having your passport well in advance of the trip’s date will bring you peace of mind.
It is also recommended that your passport be valid for six months to a year after your return date. Of our international travel tips, this one is not insignificant. Taking care of renewals is a necessary step to a great trip — you do not want to get stuck outside of the country due to a passport nearing its expiration. Some countries, like Australia, require that you have a visa. If this is the case, fill out your application in a timely manner and pay associated fees to avoid hindrances later. This and more information about country-related travel is available on the State Department website.
Plan Your Own Trip or Seek an Advisor
This type of travel can be thrilling when you plan the details yourself. Taking responsibility for everything from airfare to transportation allows you more control than a guided tour. Frommers.com provides tourists with great affordable airline information. Veteran travelers regularly use online tools for booking hotels, attractions, and dining.
Other travelers feel working with a travel agency, travel advisor or industry concierge is a better option. Companies, such as TAD Travel Services in Foothills Ranch, CA or Antietam Travel Service in Frederick, provide expertise while conveniently planning global travel adventures for clients.
Regardless of who plans your trip, you should always learn about country currencies and conversion rates. This allows you to better manage your money throughout your trip.
Tour Any City
Leaving for your destination with an organized itinerary doesn’t remove spontaneity. With limited time and short-term schedules it is important to find easy ways to see a destination. Major cities like Copenhagen, St. Petersburg and Sydney have Big Bus Tours. These are wonderful options to tour any city in one or two days. With the purchase of a ticket, you have the chance to hop-on and hop-off these buses at your leisure.
Many of these buses have radio stations dedicated to different languages allowing tourists to better experience the history, architecture and culture of the city. Smaller cities sometimes offer complimentary shuttles for travelers, especially cruise passengers. As you see the world, look for exploration options that save you time and money. The sights and sounds of each area will add to your experience and create lasting memories of your first international vacation. Bon Voyage!