How To Plan for International Travel

Traveler holding a passport

Embarking on overseas travel is often very exciting and is something that we plan for months or even years. When you arrive at your destination you want to have everything you need and not experience that last minute panic. Following these simple steps will make organizing your international trip and enjoying it a breeze.

  1. Organize your passport. Many countries will not allow you to cross their border unless you have at least 6 months validity left on your passport. Ensure your passport is up to date. Photocopy the front page of your passport; keep one copy with your luggage and pass another copy to a friend or relative in case of an emergency.
  2. Take out travel insurance. This is such an important step that many people overlook or leave until the last minute. You should take out travel insurance as soon as you start paying money for your holiday. This then means that if you happen to be in an accident before your trip you are covered for expenses lost when you can't take your trip. You are also covered for certain medical expenses whilst you are on your trip. You can purchase travel insurance from a travel agent, which is a good option as they are able to explain it all to you face to face.
  3. Plan for all seasons. Weather is something that we just can't control, so it's a good idea to pack a few different items in case there's a change in weather. If you are going to a tropical destination such as Hawaii or Fiji, pack clothes for warm weather as the majority of your case, say 90%. It's a good idea to pack a pair of jeans, a long sleeve T-shirt and jumper in the case of cooler than expected temperatures. The same goes for cooler climates.
  4. Plan for your personal hygiene. Depending on your travel locations you may want to pack such items as disposable toilet seat covers or handbasin washing detergent. The later will allow you to wash smaller items such as socks, underwear and t-shirts in hotel hand-basins. Disposable toilet seat covers will protect you from any nastiness lurking on foreign toilet seats. Both of these items can be purchased at a specialised travel or camping store. You may also want to take a small bottle of hand sanitisation gel, especially if you will be touching animals. These can be purchased from supermarkets and drug stores.
  5. Check customs laws in the countries you will be visiting. Different countries have different laws regarding the purchasing and import/export of food, animal and plant products. Also be mindful of the amounts of cash you take in and out of countries. By checking the laws you could save yourself a large amount of money in fines.
  6. Supply relatives and friends with your travel plans. Make sure relatives and friends know where you are going and have your flight and accommodation details. Always make sure you can be contacted in case of an emergency. Letting people know your exact travel plans also makes it easier to locate you should there be a natural disaster or problem with the area you are travelling in.
  7. Check you flights and accommodation before you travel. 5 days before you travel check your flights and confirm your accommodation. Some airlines offer on-line check-in where you can select your seat and then simply drop your bags at the check in counter. Confirming details 5 days in advance allows you plenty of time to re-arrange and organize should there be any problems.

This is just a small selection of the many things you need to know and do prior to an international trip. For tips on activities and attractions at your destination feel free to browse through our other articles on travel destinations.


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It is always good to leave copies of the first page of your passport, visas, insurance confirmation and a telephone number of your hotel or accomodation with your trusted relative or friend so in case of loss, they can send it to you and this will facilitate your getting another one.

By Mary Norton