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5 Useful Tips For First-Time International Travelers

5 Useful Tips For First-Time International Travelers

Getting to travel internationally is an amazing experience for anyone, but there’s nothing quite like traveling outside of the country for the first time! Even with all of the excitement about a trip, it can be overwhelming to know how to travel as a first-time international traveler. That’s where Carefree Destinations come in.

With incredibly deep discounted vacation packages on international vacations to places like Mexico, we want to be sure you’re fully prepared for your future travels around the world with these five easy tips for first-time international travelers!

1. Decide Where To Travel

It might feel daunting to decide where your first international trip might be, but it doesn’t have to be! There’s always time to travel to multiple places, but you’ll want to be sure the first place you visit is one where you will feel comfortable.

Is there a specific place you have always wanted to visit or are you looking for a destination that is known for having international travelers? Are you traveling alone or with others? Do you want to spend your vacation exploring or relaxing? Fortunately, there are destinations all over the world that fit the bill for all types of vacationers. There is no wrong answer as long as you’re happy with your decision!

2. Spend Time Learning About Your Destination

Of course, this includes the local sites, excursions, and weather you’ll experience during your trip, but you should also take the time to learn about how you should interact with the place and people you’re visiting.

In some areas of the world, there are deeply sacred historic sites and cultures that residents want visitors to respect. In other areas, there are destinations that are known for scams or pickpocketing. There are places where they only accept cash or it is rare that the locals speak your first language. Do you need adapters for your electronics where you’re going or any other specialized items? Learning about the place you are visiting not only sets you up to feel more confident but also helps you have more meaningful interactions with others and stay safe while you explore.

3. Compile All Of Your Necessary Documents in Advance

In order to travel internationally, you’ll need to have all the necessary identification and documents to get into another country, including a passport. Did you know the routine wait time to receive a new passport is 6-9 weeks? Take away some of the stress of your travels by applying for your passport as soon as possible and don’t book your flights or accommodations until your passport arrives. If you already have a passport, make sure it’s still valid and will not expire at least six months beyond the dates of your trip.

It is often suggested to scan and make both digital and print copies of your passport photo, one to leave with a loved one in your home country and another to keep on you while you travel in case you lose your passport.

In addition to your passport, you’ll want to have any other documentation necessary specific to your destination. Depending on where you visit, they may require specific vaccinations or paperwork. Research the countries you plan on visiting and organize all your necessary documents to carry with you and ensure smooth sailing through customs and immigration.

4. Figure Out How to Best Access Your Money

Now that you have booked your vacation, learn how to best access your money while traveling abroad. The golden rule is to have a small amount of local money with you at all times, as well as access to a debit card and a credit card.

Depending on the popularity of the place you visit, you might be able to exchange in your home country at a bank or credit union- just be sure to call in advance to confirm they have the currency and amount you’re looking for available. If you are unable to exchange before traveling, you can utilize an international ATM at your destination to withdraw some local currency—just don’t forget there’s often an international exchange fee associated with this transaction.

As for your debit and credit card, it’s best to contact your bank to inform them of your travel plans to avoid having your card flagged in an unusual location. At this time, you can also ask about their international fees and if they have any affiliate banks in the country you’re visiting to minimize those transaction fees.

5. Plan For Timezone Changes and Airport Departures

Timezone changes are a doozy, even for a seasoned international traveler. Depending on how far you’re traveling, you’ll benefit from calculating exactly when you should sleep in order to avoid jetlag and make the most of your trip. Once you determine what time you will land, you can decide if it’s best for you to sleep some or most of the flight, or not at all!

Now, it’s time to head to the airport! It’s suggested for travelers arrive at the airport three hours before their international flight. Though you might get away with slimmer margins for domestic flights, there are fewer checkpoints involved for those trips. In addition to the normal security line, you will also have to go through customs and immigration. These processes can take some time and it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to making your first international flight!

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