Top ten tips for international travel

by Bert Maxwell /
Bert Maxwell's picture
Oct 19, 2012 / 0 comments

You’re planning an international trip! That’s SO exciting! But as with any trip, you can get bogged down in the details and forget about the joy, good food, and meeting cool people to come. Whether you’re jetting off to Paris for a weekend, or planning a year-long RTW trip, you still need to plan. How do you streamline your international travels? By following these top ten tips:


  1. Make sure you have a valid passport, that won’t expire when you’re overseas. Make sure that your kids’ passports are valid, too – they expire every 5 years, if you’re a US citizen.
  2. Get your visas! Check the US Department of State, and the resources of the countries to which you’re going. Heading to Europe? Be aware of the Schengen Zones. Learn about renewable visas, where you can travel safely, and more. This is a critical part of travel planning.
  3. Flights. If you’re heading RTW, don’t buy a RTW ticket. Check local airlines, wherever you’re going – it’ll be cheaper, and there won’t be penalties if you want to stay in one place longer. Just heading somewhere for a weekend? Sign up for travel deals emails, both with the airlines directly and with websites like travelzoo. You’ll be surprised at the deals that come up!
  4. Accommodations. While we prefer to rent homes or apartments when we travel (try homeaway), sometimes there just isn’t enough time in one location for a home rental. When this happens, look for short-term accommodations at places like tripping, airbnb, etc. You’ll get the benefits of a home or apartment, and the advice of the owners! If you prefer hotels, be sure to sign up for each hotel brand’s loyalty program. Even on full weekends, this might get you in.
  5. Plan ahead. As with accommodations and flights, the sooner you do your planning, the more options you will have. Know which season you’ll be there, and plan accordingly. For instance, you probably won’t choose to go to Australia in the winter there, if you’re looking for all kinds of summer activities. It’s just not the same.
  6. Packing. Know the weather where you’ll be going, and pack accordingly. If you can fit it all into a carryon bag, the more the better. Airlines charge large fees for baggage – if you don’t have to bring it, don’t. Pack your bags, then take half away and pack them again. See what you can live without. You might be surprised!
  7. Medicine. Be sure to bring prescriptions, along with your prescription medicine. Anything that you’ll need to take, bring in your carryon bag. No question.

  8. Language.
    Learn the basics of the language - it’s polite! Saying please and thank you in any language will bring a smile. If you learn more than that, even better. If you have a while for traveling, sign up for a language class the first week you’ll be in one spot. It will not only introduce you to the language, but other cool travelers – and locals.
  9. Transportation. Don’t be surprised by this – plan ahead. If you don’t like riding on motorbikes, probably stay away from Vietnam. If you prefer to take public transportation, find countries where it runs well (as opposed to barely running). If you’re renting a car, be sure your insurance is up to date, follow the rules and regulations of the country you’ll be driving in, and know the informal rules of the road. It’s not that fun merging onto traffic circles if you don’t know how.
  10. Have fun! Travel is all about expanding your mind. Head into your international travels with an open mind, an open heart, and a willingness to learn about where you’re traveling. You’ll make new friends, learn new music, try new foods, and open the world to yourself.






Dan Ripoll is the founder of, a nationwide passport expedite service specializing in same day passports.