8 Useful International Travel Tips for First-Time Travelers

It is a beautiful, vast world. We are excited that you will explore it!

No matter how many times your have been to your home country, it is exciting and terrifying to embark on your first overseas trip. Since 2004, I have been full time globetrotting to more than 60 countries. I have learned a lot along the way, including best travel tips for first-time travelers.

It is exciting to travel and experience something new. It can also be frightening and confusing. It doesn’t have to be. These tips will help organize your logistics so that you have smooth sailing.

The first thing you need to do is make sure your passport is ready

This is an important tip for international travellers. To avoid stress and unnecessary anxiety, apply for your passport before you travel. You should not book a flight or make arrangements that can’t be changed until your passport opens doors around the globe. For international flights, you will need your passport number.

For 2019, the U.S. passport application fee was $145 for adults and $115 for kids under 16. You can pay an extra fee (expedited) if you already booked and paid for your travel. Your expedited passport will be delivered to you within two weeks after your application.

Once your passport arrives, make both paper and digital copies. One for your parents, and one in your wallet. You can keep a digital copy of your photo in your Google Docs. Take a picture using your phone. Once you have your visa stamp, take a picture of it.

Not only for flights, but also during your stay in the hotel, you will need to have a scan of your passport. Many hotels require a scan of your passport page identification. This is not unusual and should not be a cause for concern. Some people may hold your passport to protect it from theft or to help you pay your accommodation bill. This is much less common than before the advent of online booking. However, it is possible to find this in other countries.

While most countries require foreigners have their passports with them at all times, it is not a good idea. Pickpockets are everywhere in the world. This is where your paper copy comes in handy. It is a good idea if you are confronted by foreign law enforcement to take a photo of your passport and visa and show it. Explain to them that you have a physical copy at your hotel.

Your passport should be kept out of reach. Keep your passport safe in a hotel or hostel locker.

Find the right place for your first international trip

Perhaps you’ve been longing for elephants in Thailand or the pyramids at Egypt. Although you may not be sure where you should go, you know you have to. If you’re overwhelmed by all the incredible places you can see now that you have your passport, it can be hard to choose where to go on your first international vacation.

You should think about these things when narrowing down your options.

  • Do you want to travel further away or closer to home? Once you are more confident in your ability to travel internationally, you can begin your first trip close to your country. Then you can move on to other countries.
  • Do you know how to speak foreign languages? Can you travel to countries where it isn’t spoken? France was the first country I had never been to. It was overwhelming to not be able to communicate with them.
  • Book a guided tour if you are looking to make new friends and meet locals. This is a great way to meet other travelers and meet local guides.
  • What are you most looking forward to? Beautiful architecture, food, traveling, parties, or just relaxing at the beach? To help you identify the top 1-2 attractions on your first overseas trip, it might be a good idea to create a list.
  • What level of comfort do you have with traveling to other cultures and lifestyles? Do you feel comfortable with traffic, poverty and pollution? It is okay to visit first countries that you are comfortable with.

These questions will allow you to narrow down your choices to just one or two countries, depending on how much time you have for your first international trip. It is a good idea for you to visit Western Europe or the United Kingdom if you are still unsure. Although English is not everyone’s native language, many people can still speak it. There are many options for transportation, including trains, buses, and planes. There are also unique cultures. While New Zealand and Australia can be just as easy as the United States of America, they are much more difficult destinations. Because they are so large and offer so many activities, they require more planning and longer-haul flights.

If you are looking for something new, you don’t necessarily have to travel to another country. It is always a surprise for me to meet young travelers who are going abroad for the first time in India or Morocco. These two countries are my favorites, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it as a novice traveler.

Find out if you require a visa to enter the country.

Before you make your booking, verify if you need a visa. A visa is a document that you receive from the country where you are traveling. This allows you to travel for a specific number of days.

U.S. U.S. passport holders can travel without visas to most countries in Europe, the U.K., and other countries in Asia or Latin America. You can also get one on arrival. If you do not have a visa, you will not be allowed to board the plane.

U.S. U.S. citizens can find visa regulations at the U.S. Department of State site. You can search to find your destination.

Make sure your money can be accessed from overseas

You no longer need cash or travelers cheques. Travel internationally with cash or travelers cheques. It is much easier to manage and access money online while traveling around the world.

Check with your bank to make sure your bank knows about your travel plans. Ask about international fees, and if there is a partner bank in your destination. This will help you save money on ATM fees for foreign transactions. Ally or Charles Schwab offer a free checking account. These banks do not charge foreign transaction fees and reimburse ATM fees even when you travel.

Your debit card should be able to work in all countries, but it is still important to have a back-up plan. You should always bring $100, a, and a debit or credit card on your first international trip. Keep one card in your room, just in case your wallet is lost. This has happened to my many times. Your wallet can still be accessed through another route. You can still access your money via another route.

Save Money by Comparing Transportation & Accommodation Options

International travel does not require you to fly. However, there are many other options. Rio2Rome allows you to search for all routes between points and to determine the fastest and most cost-effective transportation options.

Buses are often the most economical and environmentally-friendly means of transport. You can also enjoy the scenic views and chat with the locals. BlaBlaCar is a ride-sharing service that is very popular in Germany and Spain. It can be much more direct than a bus route.

Take a look at all the options before you make a booking for your accommodation. While hotels are always a great choice, it is important to look into the options for guesthouses, Airbnb, and hostels in the region. These options allow you to meet locals and travelers. These hostels have more amenities than hotels and are increasingly popular.

Hostels tend to be more affordable. makes it easy to compare prices between Booking and Booking, Gomio, and other accommodation websites. allows you to compare the prices of each site and lets you book through the one with the lowest price. is my preferred booking method, because there is no booking fee and it’s possible to cancel your reservation at any time prior to arrival.

All Things in Advance

When is the best time to start booking your trip? Covid is still in its final days so it is hard to say. Contrary to what was previously believed, booking close to your departure date can help you get last-minute deals. Because airlines are having difficulty filling planes, this is why last-minute deals can be found. According to survey results, the best time for booking cheap flights from Europe was 180 days before departure.

If you’re under 26 years old, you can get flight discounts. You can get a discount for students by using StudentUniverse and other flight search engines. No matter what reason you may have, bookings should be made only if you have the funds and can take off for your first international trip. As some airlines don’t allow single-way flights, you should make exit flights from each country.

Even though I’ve been traveling for years, I make sure I book my accommodation in advance. After a long day of traveling, it can be scary to arrive at a new location and not know where my bed is. Some people find it thrilling. At the very least, you should have a place reserved for your arrival. For customs forms, you must provide a list of the places where you are staying. Keep a business card with the accommodation in case your phone gets lost. If you are lost, this will help you to find your way back.

Take some time to get over jetlag

When you travel internationally for the first time, you may want to bring everything. How many cities can you pack in one trip? How many cities can you see in one day? To get rid of jet lag, you can slow down for the first two days.

Long-haul flights are difficult enough. Jetlag occurs when there is a time difference. Your body can take up to a week to adjust to eight different time zones. Expect to be awake several days while your brain adjusts to the new time zone when you fly from Los Angeles or London.

To combat jet lag, get enough sleep before you travel. Same goes for meals. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight.

You should avoid taking naps once you arrive. Take a stroll around the area and then stop by a cafe to get a better feel. It really is a great way to get to know the area. No matter what your situation is, allow yourself some extra time to adjust. These rules are broken every time I fly from Asia to the U.S. and back.

Protect Yourself

It may seem overwhelming, but your first international trip will be much more manageable once you get started. These are safety tips to remember when you travel abroad.

  • Pickpocketing and petty theft: You can avoid becoming a victim by being vigilant about your belongings. A crossbody bag or fannypack is the best way to prevent pickpockets. Your backpack should not be carried on your shoulder. You should not carry your wallet or cellphone on your shoulder. Consider money belts, which you can place under your clothes, or theft-proof wallets.
  • Stay in touch with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This will enable the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency such as a natural catastrophe or political unrest. If you are staying at a homestay or with a landlord, please share these details with them.
  • Every seasoned traveler knows that you must have travel insurance. You should have both health and property coverage. Traveling can increase your vulnerability to injury and illness. There are many horror stories of travelers falling ill with parasites and staph infections. You can save a lot of cash by purchasing travel insurance if you are abroad.
  • Be sensible. Ask locals for advice on the best places to avoid. At night, travel with a friend. Meet new people in public places. If you’re using a dating app, keep the date public. Do not feel sorry for someone or a situation. Follow your gut instincts.

There are no reasons to be worried about what might go wrong. It is important to be aware and take small steps toward safety in order to enjoy your adventure.

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