How to Plan Your First International Trip

How to Plan Your First International Trip

Traveling outside of the U.S. can be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience, but planning for it can be overwhelming. Before setting things in stone, read on to see how you can plan your first international trip.

The very first thing you have to do when planning a trip is to know where you’re going. For your first trip outside of the United States borders, you may want to consider lower risk destinations to make sure your trip goes smoothly. Factors such as language barriers, climate, health conditions, and overall safety are important things to consider when choosing a destination. Picking a country that you want to visit also helps solidify plans in your head. Visiting London is a much more concrete plan than visiting somewhere in Europe. Setting a destination will also help you plan out your trip with more accuracy as you’ll have a smaller area to research.

Research and Scheduling
Once you know where you’ll be traveling, you’re going to want to do as much research and scheduling as possible. Start with a broad scope and learn about your destination’s climate, culture, and maybe even brush up on the country’s political and religious situations just to have some background knowledge before you get there.

From there, you can narrow your research to specific locations in or near the country you’ll be visiting. Know what attractions you are around and how much they cost so you can plan accordingly. Once you’ve narrowed your search, you can create an itinerary so you can get the most out of your trip and not wander aimlessly.

All the Small Things
When planning out a trip, sometimes excitement can get in the way of the small but necessary things. One thing you definitely don’t want to wait on or overlook is getting your passport. On average, you’re looking at about four to six weeks for your passport to be processed and sent to you, so plan to get this taken care of at least two months before you leave.

You should also consider looking into travel insurance as you’ll be eligible for things like medical coverage or no-hassle trip cancellation. You can find a travel insurance quote online to see what additional benefits you can receive as well as how to factor it into your budget. Travel insurance pays for itself even if it just offers you peace of mind while you’re overseas.

Another good idea while planning your trip is to register with the U.S. Embassy. The Safe Traveler Enrollment Program is a way to open up communication with the embassy to let them know when and where you’ll be traveling. They’ll also send you helpful information like names and locations of English-speaking doctors or updates on severe weather.

Budget
When planning out an international trip, setting a reasonable budget can help you wrap your head around the scope of your trip. It’ll allow you to narrow in on things like how long you’ll be traveling, housing accommodations, and how much traveling you’ll do in or around your destination country. While budgeting for your trip can be one of the most daunting aspects of traveling, there are ways to soften the financial impact. Regardless of where you’re going or for how long, you’ll definitely want to start saving money as soon as possible.

Aim to start saving at least three months prior to your trip, but the sooner you start, the better. When saving for your trip, you don’t have to worry about putting huge chunks of money into your trip fund–-lots of small transactions can lead to some pretty hefty savings. For example, rounding up to the nearest whole dollar on any purchases and putting that money in your savings account is a good way to start.

There’s a lot that goes into planning your first international trip, but with enough research and planning, you can finally travel overseas. Make sure to read through this list a couple of times while you’re planning and start organizing your trip as soon as possible.