Eight Valuable Pieces of Advice for First-Time Overseas Tourists
We're psyched that you're going to go out and see this wonderful, wide world.
First international travel is both an exciting adventure and a terrifying unknown, regardless of how often you've traveled within your own country. I've been traveling the world extensively for the past four years, visiting more than 60 countries, and I've picked up a few useful tricks along the way that I think first-time travelers would find useful.
Experiencing a place for the first time is always an adventure, but it can also be nerve-wracking and puzzling if you've never been there before. But that isn't necessarily the case Get your logistics in order by following these easy steps.
Essential advice for those venturing abroad for the first time Apply for your passport well in advance of your departure date to avoid having to rush through the process. Don't commit to anything until you have that tiny book in your hands; it will unlock doors for you all over the world. It's best to have your passport number on hand before you start booking anything, as some international flights will ask for it during booking or online check-in.
In 2019, a $100 application fee is required to apply for a U. S Price of a passport is $145 for an adult and $115 for a child under 16. You can get your passport in a hurry (the proper term is "expedited") if you pay an additional fee after you've already begun making travel arrangements and paying for your trip. The standard processing time for an expedited passport is 14 days.
When your passport finally arrives, photocopy the front and back of the identification page. Keep one for yourself and give the other to your parents as a token of your love. Take a high-resolution picture on your phone and store it in your Google Docs for safekeeping. Don't forget to photograph your visa after you've been stamped.
You'll be using your passport for a lot more than just flying. The identification page of your passport is often required by hotels as a form of check-in. Don't freak out, this is completely typical To guarantee you pay for your lodging and prevent theft, some establishments may even keep your passport during your stay as collateral. (This is much less frequent than it was before the advent of online booking, but it still occurs in some less-accessible countries. )
Even though it's the law in most countries, your passport should probably stay in your safe at all times because of pickpockets and bag snatchers. In this case, the hard copy you made will come in handy. It is common practice to show foreign authorities a photo of your passport and visa on your phone and then offer to return to your hotel to get the physical copies if they request to see them.
Passports should never be stored in a visible location. If you are traveling internationally, the safest place for your passport is in a hotel safe or a hostel locker.
You might have longed to visit Thailand's elephants or Egypt's pyramids for a very long time. You need to go somewhere, but you aren't sure where it is. When you finally get your passport and realize how many amazing places you can travel to, it can be difficult to decide where to go on your first international trip.
Consider these factors as you sift through a virtual ocean of options:
- Where do you want to go, closer to home or farther away? It's fine to take it easy on your first big trip abroad and see the sights closer to home before venturing further afield.
- Can you converse in another tongue? Alternatively, would you feel safe visiting a country where you don't have any working knowledge of the language? My first experience traveling to a country where neither the official language nor the majority of the population spoke English or Spanish was in France.
- Do you long to meet people and integrate into the community? Consider signing up for a tour if this is the case; not only will you get to know your fellow tourists, but in many cases you'll also get to know the local guides who will be leading your excursion.
- If you could pick one thing, what would it be? Are you captivated by the sight of stunning structures, the taste of exotic or traditional cuisine, the thrill of a challenging hike, the calm of a beach day, the excitement of a summit attempt, or the thrill of It could be useful to make a short list in order to narrow the appeal of your first international experience down to a manageable number.
- When it comes to visiting foreign countries that have a very different culture and way of life than your own, how open are you to experiencing new things? When confronted with poverty, pollution, and chaotic traffic, do you feel uneasy? It's perfectly acceptable to start out by traveling to familiar, secure countries.
If you've given some serious consideration to the preceding questions, you should be able to narrow your potential destinations down to one or two countries, depending on how long your first international trip will be. Those who are still undecided about where to go on their first international trip should consider Western Europe or the United Kingdom. Even if English isn't the official language, it's widely spoken, public transportation (including buses, trains, and planes) is reliable, and there are many fascinating cultures to learn about. Although both Australia and New Zealand are simple to get to, trips there require a bit more planning and daring due to the countries' size and abundance of attractions.
If you're looking for a real change of pace from the United States, try visiting a tourist hotspot like Costa Rica or Thailand. Morocco and India are two of my favorite countries, but they are also two of the most challenging for a 19-year-old me to visit for the first time.
Before finalizing your trip plans, find out if a visa is required. You need a visa to enter the country or countries you plan to visit. This document is issued by the host nation and specifies the length of time you are permitted to stay in the country.
The United States is widely seen as the region's K , and a great deal of Asia and Latin America, the U. S Passport holders can either travel visa-free or apply for a visa upon arrival. However, if you don't have your visa and try to board your flight, you'll be denied entry and out all of your hard-earned cash.
U S Visa requirements for U.S. citizens can be found by searching the State Department's website with the name of their intended country of travel.
The days of lugging around wads of cash or travelers checks (wait, what are those?) are over. foreign travel The internet has made it much simpler to store and withdraw funds from around the world.
If you plan on using any of your bank's services while you're away, you may want to contact the bank ahead of time to see if a travel alert needs to be set up. Also, find out if they have any local banking partners there to help you avoid paying excessive "foreign transaction" ATM fees while abroad. Or, you can avoid it all by signing up for a Charles Schwab or Ally Bank free checking account. Both of these banks will reimburse your ATM fees, regardless of where you are.
Your debit card will likely be accepted at most establishments on this initial trip, but you should still bring some other form of payment just in case. On your first trip abroad, it's a good idea to bring some cash (at least $100), a debit card, and a credit card. Never leave your wallet unattended; I can't tell you how many times someone has walked out of a hotel room with my wallet. You have other means of accessing funds, so losing your wallet isn't the end of the world.
Even though flying is the only practical option for most out-of-country vacations, local transportation options like buses and trains shouldn't be discounted. Use Rio2Rome to find the quickest and cheapest ways to get from A to B, regardless of where you are in the world.
Taking a bus is often the most financially and ecologically sound option, as well as providing an excellent opportunity to people-watch and engage with the local community. Ride-sharing apps are becoming increasingly popular, with services like BlaBlaCar being widely used in countries like Spain and Germany.
Examine your lodging alternatives before making a reservation. If you're looking to meet other travelers and locals during your trip, hotels are great, but don't forget to check out the hostel, guesthouse, and Airbnb options in the area. More and more people are staying in boutique hostels, which typically have much nicer amenities than cheap hotels.
In general, hostels are a more economical option. Hostelz.com allows me to easily and freely compare the prices listed on Hostelworld, Booking, Gomio, and other hostel and hotel reservation websites. Hostelz com compares prices from multiple booking sites and lets users book directly through the site offering the best deal. Although there are many ways to book a hotel room online, I find that Booking.com is my go-to because there is no booking fee and most reservations can be modified without penalty up until the day of arrival.
When is the earliest that you should begin making travel arrangements? Regrettably, this is still uncertain as Covid is still active. Contrary to common belief, recent research has shown that the closer you book to your departure date, the better the deals you'll find as airlines try to fill their planes. Another finding from the survey was that 180 days before a trip to Europe was the best time to find good deals on plane tickets.
Traveling on the cheap is a perk of being young (and under 26) in the United States. For student discounts, use a flight search engine like StudentUniverse. It doesn't matter when you start saving for your first overseas vacation; the best time to book is whenever you're ready to commit to making it happen. Many airlines won't let you on the plane with a one-way ticket, so plan your exit flights out of each country ahead of time.
My partner and I have been traveling for quite some time, but we still always book our lodgings in advance. Not knowing where I'll be sleeping after a long day of travel makes me nervous, but I know that for other people this is an exciting prospect. Get a hotel room reserved at the very least for the night of your arrival. In most cases, you'll need to specify your place of lodging on a customs form. If your phone dies and you get lost while you're out, the business card from your hotel will come in handy.
If this is going to be your first trip abroad, you might as well see as much as possible. To what extent are multiple visits to different cities possible during a single vacation? The question is, how much can you see in a day? My recommendation is to take it easy for the first day or two to combat jet lag, the bane of every traveler's existence.
Even without a time change, recouping from a transoceanic flight is difficult. It can take a week to adjust to a new time zone, and that number can quickly add up if you travel across more than eight time zones. If you fly from Los Angeles to London, for example, you'll experience jet lag for a few days as your body and mind readjust to GMT+0.
To lessen the effects of jet lag, try staying up a little later than usual in the days leading up to your trip and sleeping in on the days of your arrival. Treat mealtimes in the same way. Keep hydrated before, during, and after the flight.
As much as your body may be begging for a nap, you should resist the urge once you've arrived. Get out for a stroll around the neighborhood and wind down at a cafe -- a cup of coffee will do you good. Always think about whether or not you'll need an extra day or two in your schedule to accommodate changes. Every time I take a flight from Asia to the United States, I break every single one of these rules. S ...and around we go
Fear of an international trip usually originates more in the traveler's mind than in reality. The following are some basic precautions to take when traveling abroad:
- To protect yourself from pickpockets and other forms of petty theft, keep a close eye on your belongings and keep your bag close to you at all times. You can greatly reduce your risk of being a victim of pickpocketing by carrying a crossbody bag or a fanny pack. Do not leave your bag unattended, even temporarily, on the floor or the back of a chair. Don't stuff your wallet or phone in your back pocket. Undercover money belts and theft-proof wallets are additional options for the paranoid.
- Keep in touch by signing up for U.S. S The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a service provided by the U.S. Department of State. Therefore, the neighborhood U S In case of a natural disaster, political unrest, or other emergency, the Embassy will know how to contact you. Don't forget to inform loved ones back home of your homestay or landlord's contact information in case of an unexpected problem while you're away.
- Insurance for your trip is a must, as any seasoned traveler can tell you. Obtain a policy that protects you financially in case something happens to you or your property. You increase your risk for illness and injury when you travel. You'll hear terrible tales from people who traveled somewhere and got sick from malaria, staph, parasites, and more. In the event that something terrible does happen to you while you are away from home, travel insurance can help you avoid financial hardship by covering costs ranging from medical care to lost luggage.
- Always use common sense, whether it's asking locals which parts of town or city neighborhoods to avoid, traveling at night with a friend, not drinking excessively if you're by yourself or in an unfamiliar group, or meeting new potential friends in public places. To begin with, at least Dates arranged via dating apps should always be open to the public. To top it all off, trust your instincts whenever they tell you to avoid a person or an encounter.
While it's important not to dwell on the negative, it's also important to be mindful of your surroundings and take reasonable precautions to ensure your safety so you can fully appreciate your new experience.
You're probably feeling a mixture of anxiety and excitement as your departure date approaches, given that this is your first time leaving the safety and familiarity of your home country. That's unsettling, but rest assured it will pass. The excitement of going somewhere new and meeting locals, as well as the many other benefits of travel, more than make up for the difficulty of organizing one's first trip.
When you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself that even the most seasoned travelers have to learn how to navigate a new place through trial and error. Don't let any hiccups throw you off; instead, view them as opportunities to learn and grow as a passenger. I hope you have a fantastic journey.
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