First trip outside the US? Start with these organizing essentials

Never left the US? Planning your first trip to another country? Whether you’re going to Canada or to Italy, you might be feeling a little scared about your first go at international travel. Even though you’re excited, it’s still a lot to face. You’ll have to get through the actual journey first and then there are various things to deal with, from traveling within the country to foreign languages. Try not to worry too much. If you plan well and make sure you know what you’re doing, you’re sure to have a great time. Follow the steps below, and you’ll soon have a passion for international travel.

Do You Need a Passport?

This is one of the most important questions that many people have before traveling for the first time. And the answer is: almost definitely yes. To simplify it even further, most passport info resources recommend having one for all international travel. Even if you’re traveling to Mexico or Canada, proof of your identity and citizenship is essential when flying. Entering on the ground could mean you can get away with not showing your passport, but it’s really best to have it with you. You can also have a NEXUS card to get into Canada. Don’t forget to check visa requirements too. You won’t get far without the correct paperwork.

Make Your Planning Simple

If it’s your first international trip, you might be tempted to try and arrange as much as you can. Maybe you’re going to Europe, so you want to fit in as many countries as you can because you probably won’t be back anytime soon. If you’re a seasoned traveler within the US, you might feel comfortable planning every aspect yourself. But if you don’t feel so confident, make it easier on yourself. Book a tour, even if it’s a self-driving tour, or perhaps an all-inclusive resort if you’re staying in one place. Then almost everything will be taken care of for you.

Managing Your Money

International travel can be expensive, which is why a lot of people don’t do it. But if you can afford to travel, you want to be careful with your money. Here’s the first thing to check: can you spend US dollars at your destination? If you’re visiting Ecuador, where they have adopted the dollar, you’ll be fine. You can also spend your dollar in the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Vietnam, and several other destinations. Handy for saving money on exchange rates. But don’t expect to visit France and hand over US dollars. In most places, you’ll need the local currency, which means making sure you get a good exchange rate before you go.

Be a Considerate Traveler

Remember that you’re a guest in another country. You should do your best to follow local customs and especially follow the law. It’s a good idea to look up some rules to follow, such as social customs. For example, should you tip when you eat at a restaurant? Do you kiss someone on the cheek when you greet them? Is it acceptable to talk about politics over dinner or ask someone what their job is?

Go on your first international trip with an open mind. You have the opportunity to experience new things and expand your worldview.

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Founder of Turn It To Trvl. After being made redundant from my digital marketing job, in the UK, I decided I no longer wanted to work the traditional 9-5. I found a volunteer opportunity in Malawi in 2015 and am now freelancing from the warm heart of Africa. Curently building a portfolio of clients and trying to inspire more people to live a life of travel.
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