10 HELPFUL TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST TIME TRAVELLING INTERNATIONALLY
“I’m sorry, sir, but the gates are closed.” These are words every international traveller hates to hear. Once the gates close, there is no way you’ll be allowed to join your flight. And it will cost some money to get on the next flight. That’s an unpleasant way to begin your international travel. This and many other reasons are why you need to pay extra attention when going on an international trip for the first time. The following are a few things to consider when travelling abroad.
Decide Where to Go
If you are going abroad on a work-related trip, then it is most likely that your future destination has already been decided. However, if you are travelling for other reasons such as going to study, or going on a vacation, then you must find out which countries are most suited for you. Countries with the best schools in the world include the United States, The United Kingdom, and Canada. While countries with some of the best vacation spots in the world include Greece, Italy, and the UAE, among others. If you are travelling on a budget then choose countries within your budget. However, if you can splurge, then feel free to visit the finest international locations in the world.
Get Your Passport and Visa Ready
If you already have an international passport, please check that you have at least six months validity left on it. If you do not have an international passport, or if you have less than six months’ validity on your passport, then apply for one as soon as possible. The immigration office would sometimes promise to have your passport out less than a week, but do not count on this. After you apply, it may take you as long as one month to have your passport.
Once you have your passport, then it is time to apply for a visa. It is important to find out how long it takes to get a visa to the place you want to visit. In some cases, after you send in your passports to the embassy, you may have to wait several months before you get a visa. Visas can also sometimes be denied, so do not book a flight for your trip, until you have been issued a visa.
Book in Advance
Once you get a visa, then it’s time to book your flight and accommodation. Try to hunt down for the cheapest flights by booking well ahead of time. Also, use the internet to find nice hotels or Air BnBs in the place you are travelling to. Try not to pay for more than a week of accommodation in advance, unless otherwise stated in the immigration rules of the country you are travelling to. Paying for a week or less, allows you to change your accommodation when you have reason to.
Make Sure You Can Use Your Bank Account Online
Before you leave the country, please visit your bank and find out whether your bank card can make banking transactions outside the country. Also, make sure that you can make transactions online. There are only a few things worse than being stuck in a foreign country with no way to use the money in your bank account.
Exchange some Local Cash
Avoid any last-minute money exchange at the airport; money exchange counters at airports simply do not offer good rates. Before you embark on your trip, find a good bureau de change offering good exchange rates and make sure you have enough cash for at least the first day of your trip. Find out how much cash you need to declare on arrival at the airport, and if you are carrying up to this amount, please make sure you declare it to immigration officers on arrival.
Pack your favourite snack from home
Sometimes it takes a little while to get used to the food in a foreign country, other times you may arrive in the country at midnight in which case you’d have to rely on the snacks in your bag. Do not pack any food that could go bad in your luggage. Simple snacks like plantain and potato crisps, peanuts, and cashew nuts will do.
You might lose your luggage
You’ll be surprised how many times people lose their luggage on international flights. If you are travelling to Italy for instance, and have your check-in luggage sent to France by mistake. In cases like this, it may take a few days to get your luggage back. Knowing that this could happen, you should pack your carry-on luggage in such a way that you have enough personal effects in it to survive for a few days before your bag arrives. You may also have a scheduled or an unexpected stopover in another country, in which case you will not get access to your checked-in luggage for a while. So remember to have your chargers, glasses, and other important personal effects in your carry-on luggage.
Comply with all security checks at the airports
Take security officers at the airports very seriously. Take off your shoes where you’re asked to. Empty your bags when asked to. Hand over your passport when you’re asked to. These checks are there to make air trips safer for everyone, so it’s pointless to complain about them or to put up an attitude with security officers. Also, did you know you could be deported on arrival to a foreign country for not satisfying immigration checks? In this case, all the time and resources spent on the trip before this point will be pointless. For this reason, you must abide by all rules and regulations religiously.
Dress comfortably for long haul flights.
Stay away from tightly fitted clothing, shoes that hurt after a while and accessories that keep you uncomfortable. If you have a flight that’s going to last over eight hours, then you should dress as comfortable as possible. You do not need the zipper of your jeans sucking the life out of you for over eight hours. Wear loose clothing that would allow you to curl up in your seat or stretch out when you need to. You could wear sneakers or sandals, with a tee-shirt and loose fitted trousers.
Don’t get in trouble abroad
Who are you going to call when you get in trouble in a foreign country? Your lawyer? The embassy? Or your family? You’re not sure, right? This is enough reason to avoid any kind of trouble when you are abroad. Stay away from volatile situations. On the off-chance that someone randomly attacks you, call the police. Always remember to stay safe when travelling abroad.