As much as I love trip planning of any kind, there is nothing quite like the excitement of planning a vacation overseas. The thought of immersing yourself in a new culture, stepping away from the virtual world, and disconnecting from your immediate world may have you packing your bags without thinking twice. Spending extra time up front considering how to plan your trip accordingly can make your entire vacation run smoothly from start to finish. Here are some things you should consider once you have decided on your destination
Check Visa and Passport Requirements
It seems like a no brainer, but doing your homework when it comes to visas and passports can save you time and trouble in the long run. If you’re applying for a passport for the first time, make sure to give yourself at least four to six weeks to receive it. Many countries have stricter regulations than you might expect and may require more than a valid passport and plane ticket only. Before traveling, always check the State Department’s Country Information page to determine what kind of passport and visa requirements your destination requires. This page also includes details on where U.S. embassies in each country are located (very handy in the event of an emergency). Though visas are less common for most popular tourist destinations, it’s still important to do your homework in order to avoid. Here is a tip: Leave an extra copy or your passport, visa, and driver's license with a friend or family member at home. This can be a lifesaver if you lose your passport while overseas.
Map Out Important Locations
When you arrive in a new country after a long plane ride spending extra time figuring out where your hotel is a waste of energy. Prep before you leave home! And luckily, we live in the age of the iPhone, which has made traveling so much easier. There are several apps you can use to map out important sights on your trip before you depart. Apps like City Maps 2Go and Maps.Me allow you to input addresses located in your destination city and access them while on your trip without using WI-FI. Spending a few hours before your trip to input the addresses of hotels, museums, shops, and restaurants you’re planning to visit will save you hours upon hours once you arrive at your destination. Also, this will allow you to understand the layout of the city before arriving. You’ll know which sites are grouped near each other, and be able to plan your days accordingly.
Review Travel Warnings and Alerts
This may seem obvious to some but checking official travel alerts and warnings prior to your trip is incredibly important when traveling internationally. There can be major warnings related to serious issues like political unrest or more common and minor alerts for things like transportation strikes or peaceful demonstrations. While these alerts relate to things that won't typically derail your trip, they can often save you time and frustration while abroad. Make sure to check the travel alerts and warnings before booking and again a week or two before your trip to cover all of your bases.
Create a Daily Budget
Your trip will run much more smoothly if you determine a daily budget for yourself (and stick to it!). First, figure out what your total trip budget is, divide that amount by the number of days you're traveling for an estimate of how much you have to spend per day. Next, determine the amount you have to spend on lodging, food, activities, and shopping. A daily budget takes much of the guesswork out of a trip, but be sure to factor in wiggle room for unexpected expenses. Don’t forget extra costs like foreign transaction fees and the exit and entry fees that some countries require.
Learn Key Phrases
There’s a good chance when traveling internationally that English may not be the native language. Learning a few key phrases in the given language of the country you’re visiting can make a huge difference. Simple phrases like “How are you? How much is this?” and “Thank you” will help you immensely. Locals should be more receptive with tips or assistance, and it’s a wonderful way to pay respect to the country and culture that you are a guest of.
Flights, train schedules, taxi locations, museum tickets, and hotel bookings can be hard to wrangle in one spot. Avoid the mess and agony by organizing all of your travel details and confirmations in one place with Tripit (and change your travel game forever). Tripit compiles all of your travel confirmations and bookings to create one master itinerary that can be accessed at any time, even without WI-FI. Say goodbye to lost flight numbers or confusion about scheduling logistics. Tripit erases the guesswork and helps organize your trip from start to finish.
Now all you have left to do is enjoy your trip!
What are some of the things you do to get ready for a overseas trip?