Travel is one of the many joys in this world. From small road-trips to cross-country treks, each one offers the potential to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Domestic travel is fairly simple in terms of the prep you need to do. Going on a tour within the country just needs you to pack right and book your tickets. What about those who chase a taste of real adventure beyond borders, though? Are our foreign travel tips significantly different from the existing base set of rules?
Table of Contents
Even if you’re a seasoned tourist within your country, traveling abroad for the first time can be quite the experience. The tourism industry considers international travel to be an umbrella term. There are very many subtopics that come under this term, each covering a different base.
Part of the reason why the topic is so vast is that there are so many countries out there. Every one of them has unique policies regarding travel to their country. No wonder, then, that we have so much info to cover in this aspect!
At first, glance, going abroad for a trip may not seem like that big a deal. People do it all the time, right? What people don’t tell you is that without proper planning, it can be full of hassles and last-minute scrapes. How do you enjoy a trip if the journey gives you migraines? It’s always better to stay doubly prepared!
In that regard, we’ve put together a go-to guide that’s chock-full of tips for travelling abroad first-time. This guide will go over everything you need to know to get the most out of your foreign trip. We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get right down to business!
20 Tips For Traveling Abroad For The First Time
The Visa Situation
Since you’re crossing borders, the chances are that you will be required to have a valid visa when you travel. Visas are travel documents that are stamped onto your passport. They are issued in your name and come with an expiration date. The tips you need to keep in mind here are:
1. Know whether you need a visa. This requires you to do a little bit of homework online. For example, as an Indian national, you do not require a visa to travel to Nepal. Yet other countries offer visa-free entry for a set number of days. Do your research accordingly.
2. Get in touch with the visa agency. Depending on the country you want to travel to, you’ll need to solicit visa services. You can either do this through a travel agency or approach the embassy/consulate yourself.
3. Keep all your documents in order. Visa applications are all about paperwork—lots of it. You may even be asked to submit documents that you never knew you had! It’s always better to stay at the ready whenever asked to present any documents to the agency.
4. Plan well in advance. Never make the mistake of booking your tickets ages before your visa gets cleared. Also, don’t schedule your visa appointments right before your trip dates. If your visa is not approved, you’ll drill a hole in your time and purse to cancel your tickets.
5. Stay in touch with the agency. Visa centers can get super busy, as many applicants walk in on any given day. It won’t hurt to check back with them periodically, to expedite the process!
These are some of the fundamental international travel tips when it comes to visa procedures. Let’s travel further down the road and cover some vital travel tips!
First Cross-Country Travel
For the sake of practicality, we’re going to consider air travel here. Getting to foreign countries through road or sea is fairly straightforward, with not much extra knowledge required. Air travel, however, is a whole different ball game, especially on international flights. The following tips are sure to be lifesavers for you.
1. Be at the airport at least 2 hours before departure. Unlike domestic flights, you need a larger window of time to complete the check-in formalities for international flights.
2. Try web check-in, if available. Some airlines (especially on long-haul flights) offer web check-in facilities 12 hours before departure. This simple step will generate your e-boarding pass and save you ample time waiting at the counter.
3. Watch what you pack. On certain international flights, restrictions are stringent over what you can and cannot carry in your baggage. This includes liquid commodities. Do some homework to avoid having to leave things behind at security.
4. Plan your luggage. Since you’re going abroad, you’ll have a fair amount of luggage. Compartmentalize the process of what goes in your cabin baggage and what goes in check-in baggage. This will make security checks at airports a breeze.
5. If you are prone to airsickness, take medication prior to travel. International flights are long-drawn affairs. To avoid any mishaps during the flight, take any medication you will need before you board.
International air travel for the first time can be an exhilarating experience. It’s essential to keep such tips for travelling abroad first-time in mind even before the trip begins.
What’s In, What’s Out
Now that we know how to get on the plane let’s go over what should be in your bags. You’ll be visiting a new territory, so you better prepare accordingly.
1. Do some reading on your destination. Whatever you pack will revolve around the nature of your destination. Don’t clutter your bags with items you won’t need! You won’t need sunscreen if you’re going to the Alps.
2. Pack appropriate clothing. If you’re heading to the tropics, then you’ll want loose shirts. Alternatively, for colder climates, stock up on those sweaters. Best to be prepared!
3. Take note of what might be prohibited in the country you’re visiting. Some countries are stringent in what they allow on their territory. Weaponry, alcohol and meditation are the most common examples. Keep them out and stay out of trouble!
4. Mark your luggage when you’re done packing. Baggage claims at international airports can be chaotic more often than not.
5. If you’re packing fragile goods, take your own precautions. Some airports are notorious for their poor handling of check-in baggage.
These tips round out the crux of foreign travel tips. Now, let’s move on to some other general tips that’ll come in handy on your international trip!
International Travel Pointers
1. Read up on the culture. This isn’t just an effort to fit in. The country you are visiting may have some cultural tenets that are very different from yours. For example, in some countries, it is considered taboo to leave leftovers on your plate. Don’t put yourself in sticky situations!
2. Learn the local lingo. It will make your life so much easier if you learn at least the basic phrases. Plus, the locals will also appreciate your efforts, even if you stumble!
3. Be wary of touts. Every country with an active tourism sector is full of them. They prey on gullible tourists, offering them scams while duping them of money. Be a smart tourist!
4. Keep photography civil. When abroad in some places, there are certain monuments and institutions that should not be photographed. Be respectful of your surroundings.
5. Safety first. This should go without saying, but it’s majorly overlooked. In a foreign country, you should always err on the side of caution.
These 20 tips for traveling abroad first-time sum up everything you’ll need to know before you set off. International travel is a mesmerizing experience. With some dedicated pre-planning, your journey to foreign lands will be smooth as butter!
Let me know your first abroad trip in the comment section.
Gulshan Bafna is one of the luxury travelers in India. He, along with his wife, has traveled to many exotic places that one could dream. With their travel journey, they bring us the best face of those places. He compiles all of his travel journeys to give the taste of traveling to his readers. In his writing, he jots down the best things to do in all those places that he has visited. Reading these would help one know better about the place. He is also a seeker who loves exploring and discovering new places and share his experiences with everyone.