Five Tips for First-time Travel Abroad

Lexa Pennington's picture

If you've never traveled outside the U.S., it's natural to feel overwhelmed at the prospect. But if you're well prepared, you can make this one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life. Every traveler has their own interests and travel preferences, but keeping some basics in mind can help take the worry out of the impending travel overseas. 

If you're considering an overseas relocation, you will need to come up with solutions to move your valuables, including your car. In the latter case, you will need to choose from the best auto transport companies available in your region. When you've finally sorted this out, it's finally time to plan that overseas trip. 

Here are five tips to keep in mind while traveling abroad:

Five Tips for First-time Travel Abroad

1. Try Planning Your Travel During the Offseason:

Since this is going to be your first trip abroad, it makes sense to go when the tourist season is just ending. This way, you will have more time to spend in popular places without worrying about crowds. As an added bonus, airline tickets and hotel accommodations are somewhat lower during the offseason, so you may end up saving some money. 

Despite the obvious benefits of traveling during the offseason, travelers will also have to be wary about the weather, as the offseason generally translates to unfavorable weather conditions. So you have to carefully assess the purpose of your trip and ascertain if offseason travel works for you. 

Five Tips for First-time Travel Abroad

2. Let Your Bank Know About the Trip

Almost everybody who travels overseas will carry a credit or debit card to cover the expenses of the trip. However, the bank may flag your account and even freeze it if your bank doesn't know about the travel and you continue using cards overseas. 

The last thing you want when you're in a different country is to lose access to your bank account. But if the bank knows about your whereabouts, they are not going to consider overseas spending on your account to be suspicious.

It is also wise to approach your bank for information on foreign transaction fees. Using your American card overseas usually involves hefty fees. Additionally, consider getting a travel card with enough money in it to cover your expenses. 

Five Tips for First-time Travel Abroad

3. Purchase Travel Insurance

If you're going on a short-term vacation abroad, it is absolutely necessary to get travel insurance. As per a study, only 4 in 10 U.S. residents purchase travel insurance when they go abroad. While the expectation is that your overseas trip goes smoothly and without incident, things don't always work out that way. This is why travel insurance is absolutely crucial as it can help cover financial expenses in the event of missed flights, lost baggage, medical emergencies, or other unforeseen events.  

There are several travel insurance policies available depending on the duration of your trip. Narrow down your options for travel insurance companies to three or four and compare the rates to know which works best for you.

Five Tips for First-time Travel Abroad

4. Conduct Research on the Country You're Visiting

Traveling abroad for the first time can induce a lot of anxiety. The best way to remedy this is by conducting detailed research on the country you're visiting. Familiarizing yourself with the place can help you prepare for any surprises. For example, knowing what the weather is like when you're visiting lets you pack the necessary clothes for the travel. It also helps to know if there are hospitals near your hotel for emergency situations. Doing your due diligence before you visit a country for the first time can save a lot of trouble, and even money.

Five Tips for First-time Travel Abroad

5. Carry Your Essential Documents

Americans can travel to most countries without a prior visa, but everybody needs a passport to travel overseas. The only exemptions available are for travel to Canada, Mexico, or any of the U.S. territories. So if you're taking a flight to a country in Europe, you will require a passport to show on arrival.

If you don't have a passport yet, there's no need to fret. Make sure you apply for a passport at least a couple of months before the departure date as it can usually take up to six weeks to arrive. If you already have a passport, ensure the dates are still valid. Some countries require a visa, so check with your travel agent or booking partner to learn if the region you're visiting requires a visa.

Five Tips for First-time Travel Abroad

Going abroad for the first time brings up a lot of questions. Make sure you have all the answers before you get on that flight, not after. If you're unfamiliar with the culture or habits of a particular country, conduct a simple search on Google to gain valuable knowledge of the local population. If you're only visiting for a short duration, pack fewer clothes. 

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, enjoy your trip. If you've charted out the course of your trip down well in advance, you will have more time to destress, relax, and make the most of your trip.

Five Tips for First-time Travel Abroad