Barbados Caribbean Island Beach Lounge ChairsThere’s no question that one of the most difficult yet rewarding portion of any trip is the planning process.

That’s when you’re asking yourself “Where should I go” and “What should I do?  Will I be staying in a hostel or roughing it in a tent?  What kind of vaccinations do I need and what countries do I need a visa for?”

All of these are legitimate questions that I ask myself every time before I step outside the door for my next adventure.  Luckily, we have our good friends, the internet and many other sources to assist us with virtually any question we may have regarding a trip overseas.  

The question being: What do you need to know?  

Take a look at the several sections below to get a grasp on exactly what you need to do to be prepared for an amazing trip abroad.  You know what they say, knowledge is power! 😉  

What You Need to Know: Travel, Safety & Health

If you’ve never been abroad, meaning if you’ve never traveled outside of your home country, there is most likely a flood of questions overwhelming you at the moment.  My goal for this article is to help you prepare yourself, step by step, to get you out the door and onto the next flight!  

So what’s the first step?

Passports & Visas

Bellroy Travel Wallet CocoaThat’s right, everyone has to fill out paperwork.  

But the two things you must focus on is your Passport & any required Visas.  There is no need to go through a 3rd party organization/company to pick one up; they’ll end up charging you more.  

And if you’re anything like us modern day nomads, you’re going to want to save as much money as possible.

You can easily pick up a Passport or Visa at your nearest courthouse.  There is also a very convenient option online where the requirements for documentations are listed and constantly updated:  U.S. Passports & International Travel Website.

Be sure to do your research regarding what country you are traveling to as some countries require US Citizens to carry a Visa while others do not.  This information will be listed on your foreseen destinations government website.

Should you prefer an easier way, you can even check out travel authorization websites that can make your life easier because you won’t have to go through the process yourself, which makes it more convenient especially when you have so much to do or may have conflicts with schedule.

For example, if you are based in Europe, you can always count on to a good ESTA Travel Authorization website that can inform you about the immigration rules to the US, at the same time, you can also get the chance to speak with reliable customer service representatives to address your concerns.

Immunizations, Shots & Health Insurance

Certificate of VaccinationWhat do most people consider the scariest part of international travel: health risks.  

Rest assured, as long as you go prepared, you have NOTHING to worry about!  I’ve traveled to many countries throughout Asia, Central America and various other parts of the world but have had minimal scares.  

Guess what?  So can You!

So where does one start researching proper information for immunizations, shots & health insurance?  You guessed it: The web!

Between the plethora of worldly travel blogs like mine, travel related forums, social media sites and government websites (for the country you’ll be visiting) you can find any information you will ever need; plus some.  Personally, however, when it comes to researching the proper vaccinations I’ll be needing before I visit a country, I always visit my destinations government website.  

They will tell you what is most at risk and what you will need before entering their home-country prior to your departure to ensure a healthy & safe vacation.

Study the Language & Customs!

Anyone can simply fly into a country, but it creates a totally different experience when you know at least a little of what you’re getting into.

That being said, for your upcoming trip abroad be sure to study the language, customs & ways of life for the people that you’re going to be visiting.  Remember, you’re introducing yourself into a totally different environment that you’ve most likely never seen before.  What’s acceptable in your home country may be absolutely compelling in another.  

Ask yourself:

  • Can I speak their basic language?  
  • What are the most common local dishes?  
  • Where should I go that other travelers don’t typically go?  
  • Is the wardrobe in my home country acceptable in theirs?  
  • What about transportation?  
  • Can I home-stay with a local to get the real experience like I home-stayed in Vietnam?  

These questions and MANY more will cross your mind as you continue to do your research.  Alway remember, a good traveler is an educated traveler!

Book Your Flight!

Plane Asia ChinaNow that you’ve done your research, it’s time to take the leap and book your flight!  It’s a big step, but trust me when I say it’s totally worth it!

There are an overwhelming amount of resources to find flights, all of which are claiming to be “the cheapest around” but which ones do I actually recommend?

I’m going to have to say to visit my Plan Your Trip page.  Here you can find the same sources of information I use to book cheap flights, accommodation and anything else you need to travel on a budget.  I’m constantly updating it as my resources change from season to season and there is always an up-and-coming business to compete with.  

Of course, if you have any questions you’re always welcome to send me an email or use my Contact Me page. 🙂

Pack Smart!

My personal backpacking gearHaving worked in the tourism industry for many years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people take their entire house, in suitcases, to the other side of the world.

Of course, each and every time I see this I’m stuck asking myself “Do they really need all that extra baggage?”.

Truth be told, you don’t!

When you’re traveling to an international country and plan on doing a short or long term trip, pack wisely and pack light.  Only take the bare essentials and nothing else.  If you really need something that you don’t have, odds are you can purchase it at a portion of the price where you’re going compared to that of the market back home.

If you would like a guide, I wrote an entire article on exactly what I take with me just in case you would like to take a look: What’s in my Backpack – My Recommended Packing List.

Have Fun!

Tibet Road Trip to Huzhu Beishan Park ChinaLast but not least, remember to have fun!

You’re not only taking this adventure for a more worldly experience, you’re taking it to broaden your horizons.  You want to see what life is like outside your little bubble back home.

Remember to try new things and meet new people.  Taste new & exotic  cuisines that you wouldn’t normally pass on.  And, above all, place yourself in certain situations that you would otherwise be uncomfortable doing.

You will find that the more you travel, the happier and more content you’ll be with life.  It’s a once in a lifetime experience that few get to experience.  I’m just happy I get to to help you in getting started on the right foot! 🙂

What do you do to prepare for a trip abroad?