International travel can be daunting. So many things run through a person's mind, from who and when to book plane tickets to finding accommodations within their budget in another country. Those details aside, the thought of stepping off a plane and into an entirely new world where English might be a second language, or navigating might be an issue, is overwhelming.

With that being said, the good news is this: Everyone who has traveled internationally has had those first-time butterflies at least once. It's exciting but it also entails much to think about from start to finish, and picking just one place to start is tough.


Nail Down The Details

The first step to any travel is to nail down the details. This includes: how to get there, where to stay, and what to do once a traveler has arrived. Everything else should (and will) fall into place. Part of the logistics of the 'getting there' part of this equation includes how one is crossing international borders - thus, the passport.

Get A Passport

There are no ands, ifs, or buts about it - a passport is absolutely necessary in order to cross borders. In some cases, a travel visa is even required. It's all dependent on the country and to add insult to injury, a traveler may even need various forms of identification when returning than they did when entering another country. Those wondering if they'll need a visa can check based on the country using CIBT Visa check. Regardless of the country, a passport is a good idea to have for a number of reasons:

  • It's a good form of secondary identification
  • It remains valid for years
  • Once a person has a passport, another one can't be made until it expires; therefore, it makes it harder for another person to copy someone's identity

Determine Where To Go

This is the fun part of international trip-planning and it should be done with a sense of wanderlust and adventure. If a budget is involved, no problem - simply adjust the research process to reflect the numbers that work within that budget. Nowadays, there are so many deals regarding flights, travel itineraries, all-inclusives, and even tours, that it's fairly easy to find something that's affordable. The biggest 'gotcha' is usually the cost of the flight, but there are definitely hacks out there that will save travelers some bucks.

Accommodations are another thing that might trip up an international traveler, which is where rental sites such as Airbnb and VRBO might come into place to save the day. These are great ways to save money while finding a rental that's in the center of all of the action. In some cases, travelers can save hundreds by opting for an apartment or room rental over a luxe hotel or resort.

Plan Some Activities

Some people might find that personal preference interferes with booking everything in advance which is totally fine! Depending on the traveler, it might be more appealing to arrive at a destination, and then start booking things. Travelers should be aware, though, that post-pandemic times have made this increasingly difficult. So, if there's definitely something that's on the bucket list, it's best to book it well in advance rather than waiting.

The best method for planning international activities is to book half and then simply live in the moment for the other half of the vacation. Whether it includes one day devoted to a historic tour, and then the next devoted to simply walking around, shopping, enjoying the local cuisine, and so on, it's a great way to balance touristy things vs. spur-of-the-moment activities. Speaking of this, be sure to check the times of museums, restaurants, theaters, and any other major places on the itinerary beforehand.

Related: Packing For Any Trip Is Overwhelming, So Here's Where To Start With The Essentials

Let's Talk Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is something that not every traveler believes in but it's one thing that every traveler should consider. In the event that something happens abroad, there's a lot to think about: medical or emergency costs in a foreign country, money exchanges, and bills that will continue to come in long after travelers have returned back home. Travel insurance covers many things that might happen and while one usually doesn't expect them, there's peace of mind in knowing they'll be taken care of. World Nomads is a great place to start for travel insurance plans.

Invest In Good Luggage And Plane Clothing

It might sound superficial but travelers will be thrilled to know that their travel luggage hasn't been damaged or lost. It happens more often than one might think and in the event that a suitcase is cheap, old, or poorly made, that's just even more reason for it to come back in tatters. It's an investment, for sure, but this should all be part of the budget that goes into international trip planning.

Additionally, packing a comfortable, breathable outfit for the plane is something that's too often underestimated. There's nothing worse than being uncomfortable on a long plane right knowing that one's clothes are stored away, and with nowhere to go to stretch out or adjust something. Opt for comfort over anything else, always.

Next: Let's Talk Travelers Checks: Still Useful, Or A Thing Of The Past? Here's When They Come In Handy