International travel is quite different from domestic travel. There are more things to consider and prepare for such a trip. You need to be emotionally, mentally and physically ready for your journey. Spend time to plan for your trip for a worry-free vacation.
First off, do some Internet browsing to have some background knowledge about the country you are visiting. It will help a lot if you know the customs, traditions, language, laws, holidays and local cuisine.
There is still quite a list of important things you need to accomplish prior to leaving home.
Select a good travel agency. For a first time traveler to an international destination, it will save you a lot of worry if you allow a good travel agency to assist you in your travel airfare, accommodation, tour itinerary and travel documentation. Inquire about tour packages, too.
Passport. If this is your first time to travel overseas, you need to apply for a passport. Check with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website to locate where you can apply for a passport in your area. First time passport applicants should apply in person with the following requirements:
- Passport application form
- Certified birth certificate
- Valid identification card with your picture
- Photocopy of your valid ID showing the front and the back
- Pay the require passport processing fees
- Submit 2 passport photos (subject to passport requirements and restrictions)
Normal processing times for passports is 4 to 6 weeks. You need to consider this when you plan for your international travel. If you want it expedited, there is an extra fee for door to door or overnight delivery.
If you already have a passport check that it is still valid for at least 6 months prior to your travel to safeguard you against deportation.
Visas. You have to check if you need a visa to enter the country you want to visit. Apply for a visa through the embassy or consulate of your destination. Allow processing time as this varies from country to country. Take note that most visa application fees are not refundable.
Immunization. Travel health is of utmost importance when traveling. Ask your travel agent, your doctor or an International Health Clinic branch in your area about the immunization and vaccination requirements particularly if you want to travel to a tropical country. These certificates should be kept with your passport. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers’ Health page. Extra precaution is needed particularly against the H1N1 virus.
Travel Insurance. Check with your travel agent if you need to get travel insurance. This is extremely useful during emergencies. Overseas medical treatment can be quite expensive.
Photocopy travel documents. Have at least 2 sets of photocopies of all your travel documents for your safety and leave a copy at home. Do the same for your itinerary so your friends and relatives can get in touch with you in case of emergency.
Mobile roaming. Check that your mobile phone has roaming capabilities and that it will work in the country you will be visiting. It is advisable that you also carry an international call card with you whenever you travel.
Planning ahead is a good practice to observe. This makes your international travel stress-free. Now you can get ready to enjoy the pleasures that await you in your travel destination. Do not forget to pack a good camera with you to record all those fantastic sights.