3 tips for first time international travelers

Traveling to a foreign country for the first time is a big deal and these three tips will go a long way in successful planning.

Europe's airports struggle with staff shortages and overcrowding due to strikes
Europe's airports struggle with staff shortages and overcrowding due to strikes / Anadolu/GettyImages

International travel is a big deal. According to the Pew Research Center in 2023, 76 percent of Americans have visited at least one country, with 26 percent having visited five or more. Then there’s the 23 percent that have never traveled outside the country but would if they had the chance. With that in mind, here are three tips for individuals looking to leave that latter group and get that passport stamped for the first time.

Understand your travel documents

Many first-time travelers often misunderstand their travel documents. For example, it’s much easier to obtain a passport than some will realize. Before you begin to plan for an international trip, make it a point to take the steps to get your passport. A quick Google search will show where you can get an application in your area, along with the passport photo that will be needed for the application. You cannot purchase an international flight without your passport, so it’s important to take the steps to start the application process early to not delay your travel plans.

Find out if you need a visa

Check the rules around visa entry for your destination country. Regulations change frequently, so it’s important to understand if you’ll need one or not. If you don’t have a travel visa, there’s a strong chance your trip will be rejected, as many countries do not allow you to apply for one at your destination. A lengthy list of countries accepts US travelers without a visa, but it’s important to check in advance to make sure you meet the newest regulations for travel.

Budget accordingly

Making a travel budget is a necessary step anytime you travel. But when going to foreign soil where the currency is different, there are extra steps to take. Research the currency used in said country and its exchange rate compared to the US dollar. You’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most for your money, and there are several ways you can change money. But some locations like the airport may potentially give you less than another establishment like your local bank.

When building out your budget, make sure you cover any additional unexpected expenses that can come when overseas. Keep cash tucked away as you may not be able to use cards in the other country. Don’t go into another country without any idea of how money works because you can quickly find yourself in a dire situation.

Next. 3 tips to get the most out of your airline miles. 3 tips to get the most out of your airline miles. dark