Travel is a fun, adventurous, and crazy thing. But travel takes lots and lots of planning. This is especially true if you are taking a trip to another country.
Leaving the country for the first time, or taking a solo trip can be intimidating. I have comprised basic information on traveling out of the country that I think every wanderer should know. For some simple tips on planning your next stop abroad, look no further.
Passports and Visas
Passports are a must for traveling to any country other than your own (where you hold citizenship).
Obtaining a passport in the US is a pretty easy process.
- Make an appointment with your local post office or other government office.
- Download and fill out the paperwork.
- Have a passport photo taken wherever you choose.
- Go to your appointment, hand in the paperwork, photo id, and passport photo.
- Wait to receive your passport in the mail!
Visas are only needed for a lengthy stay in a foreign country. If you are studying or working in a foreign country you will need to apply for a visa. If you are just planning to visit for a short period of time, a visa is not necessary. There are tons of different kinds of visas and they all vary with each country. Make sure to research the specific country’s visa requirements.
We all know and love money, but in order to spend it in other countries you have to do your research.
If you are planning to use your credit/debit card abroad, then follow these steps.
- Call your bank and let them know when and where you will be traveling to. This is very important. Because, if the bank sees you spending money in Italy when you live in the United States they will freeze your account. Letting them know at least 2 weeks in advance lets them know to not be alarmed when you spend money in another country.
- Try to order a card with a chip in it, if you don’t already have one. Chips are becoming more and more popular in other countries. It’s always a good idea to have a card that you can either swipe or insert with a chip.
- Be aware that there might be international transaction fees. Research each country you are visiting to be sure, or check with your bank.
It’s always a good idea to keep cash on you, especially if you are traveling. Currencies differ depending on each country so make sure you do your research ahead of time.
I recommend getting about $200 worth in cash for whatever country you are visiting. (For example: England = Pounds, China = Yen.) This can be done by visiting your local bank. Some banks have the currency on hand while others have to be ordered. This is why it’s important to complete this step early.
You can also exchange currency once you arrive at your destination. Most international airports have currency exchange counters. A cheaper option is to find a currency exchange location in the city. (In Europe, these are very common.) Personally, I think getting some of the correct currency before you leave is the best option.
Customs varies depending on the country and their regulations. Typically, you will exit the plane and immediately go through customs. This is where you will have your passport stamped, and fill out any paperwork (for visas or items you are claiming).
Some countries I have traveled to do not fully enforce customs. You might just exit the plane and go straight to baggage claim. There will always be signs indicating where you are to go depending on the country.
We all can’t deny that our cell phones are our favorite accessory. But using them abroad can be tricky.
There are a few different options for cell phone use.
- Contact your cell phone provider and add an international plan (this can be an expensive option).
- Purchase a SIM card when you arrive and have it inserted in your phone (this option only works if you have an unlocked cell phone that can work with international plans).
- Keep your phone on airplane mode and just use it when Wi-Fi is available (this is the cheapest option).
- Buy a pre-paid phone in the foreign country.
There you have it, a short list of tips for traveling to another country. I hope these travel tips will assist you on your next trip abroad!