International travel is a bit complicated right now, but it’s only a matter of time before things return to normal. When they do, you’ll want to spend more time traveling and seeing the world.
Thankfully, international travel has trended toward getting simpler over the years. The ESTA visa waiver program, and other programs meant to encourage international travel, make it easy to get the paperwork you need to travel to another country. But getting the right paperwork is just one step of the process, and you’ll want to be prepared if you want to get the most out of your trip.
Choose a Destination
One of the most important steps is choosing a destination. Where do you want to go and why?
There are many good reasons to pick a country. You may want to go somewhere because you’ve always been curious about the culture, or because there’s a specific attraction you want to see. You may want to go because an old friend or family member currently lives there and you want to see them. Or you may just choose a country randomly and head out. There are no right or wrong ways to choose a travel destination—just make sure you do a bit of preliminary research before you finalize your decision.
Understand the Requirements
The paperwork you need to travel to another country will vary depending on your home country and destination country’s requirements. For nearly all trips, you’ll need at least a passport and another form of ID, like a driver’s license. You may also need a travel visa in advance of your trip, authorizing your travel. It’s a good idea to get these things in order several weeks, if not months before your trip.
Set a Budget
Traveling internationally can get expensive, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t affordable. You can manage an international trip and keep your personal finances intact by setting a budget in advance—and keeping to it. If you want to splurge and not worry too much about money throughout the trip, you’ll probably need several thousand dollars, at minimum. However, you may be able to skate by with several hundred to a few thousand dollars for your international trip, by saving money on:
Book Your Flight and Accommodations
When you’re ready to move forward with your trip, you can book your flight and accommodations. In many cases, you can purchase these together for a discount. If you’re flexible on when you’re going to travel, you can time your bookings carefully to get the best possible price. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance; your health insurance may not cover you while you’re in another country.
Plan Some Activities
Different people have different approaches when it comes to planning a trip, but in general, it’s a good idea to balance scheduling and planning with improvisation. Research the sights and experiences you’d like to encounter on your trip, and make time for them. Set a loose schedule of activities you’d like to do and things you’d like to see—just make sure you have plenty of ample free time you can use to roam around and discover new things.
With everything else in place, the last thing to do is pack. Make sure you bring plenty of changes of clothes, an emergency kit, and all the daily essentials. If you’re going camping or adventuring, you’ll need a much more thorough checklist to work from.
Traveling internationally doesn’t have to be a headache. Follow these steps and remain as open as possible if you want to get the most out of the experience.