Going on vacation to a new travel destination can be an incredible adventure. There are countless sights to see, foods to enjoy, and experiences to try out for the first time. To make sure your trip goes off without a hitch, we wanted to provide some key travel tips to help you get to your location and make the best of your time there.
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Pick a Travel Destination
This first step sounds like a no-brainer, but in order to carry out an incredible vacation you have to settle on a destination first. Many people have tons of places that they’d like to see but struggle to narrow down their choices when it comes time to begin planning their trip. Instead of agonizing over the minute details this early in the planning process, just choose a travel destination that appeals to you! It’s a lot easier to move on with the planning process when you have a concrete destination in mind, as opposed to a vague goal to see a certain region of the world.
Determine the Length & Style of Your Trip
So, you’ve determined where you want to travel. Perhaps you want to enjoy a nice Caribbean cruise or you want to see the Northern Lights from Norway. Next, you need to decide on how long your vacation will last. Do you want to take a weeklong trip to break up the repetition of your normal routine and come back refreshed and ready to tackle your daily grind? Or would you rather take a month off to travel across multiple countries? Do you prefer luxury travel, or does backpacking across a new country sound more appealing?
You don’t need to know the exact dates that you’ll take your trip on yet, but you should have an idea of what season you’d like to travel during. Some countries may have a high chance of extreme seasonal weather – India, for example, is prone to monsoons during the summer months from June to September. Traveling to a country during months where extreme weather is likely substantially increases your risk of experiencing serious injury.
It’s never too early to begin thinking about the financial aspect of your upcoming trip. Vacation expenses can quickly mount, particularly if you encounter unexpected expenses. It’s best to set a total budget for the trip, dividing the whole amount up into how much you can afford to spend per day. If you have specific activities in mind already, research the cost of them in advance so you know how much money to set aside for them when you arrive at your destination.
After setting your budget, be sure to set aside an emergency fund for any unexpected expenses you encounter. Maybe you miss your flight and need to stay in the country an extra day or you get sick and need to see a doctor. Even minor events can stretch your budget significantly and impact your ability to enjoy your trip or even get home safely. How much money you’ll need for your emergency fund depends on your destination and available funds, but you should bring at least several hundred dollars for emergencies only.
Get a Passport
If you’re traveling from the United States to another country, you will need a passport to safely get in and out of the country. Applying for a U.S. passport is not incredibly complex if you have the appropriate documentation, but the approval process can take a very long time. According to the U.S. Department of State, it can take up to two weeks for your application to reach a passport agency or center, and another two weeks to receive your passport by mail once it’s printed. All told, it can take over two months for you to receive your passport after you first initiate the application process. Don’t wait to get started!
If you already possess a U.S. passport, check the dates on it to ensure that it will not expire while you’re out of the country. You don’t want to risk getting stuck in another country because your passport expired while you were traveling!
Booking Your Trip
At this point, it’s time to decide on your travel dates and book your trip accordingly. It’s likely that you’ll need to book a flight to get to your destination, unless you’re crossing the border to Mexico or Canada and can do so by car. You’ll also want to book your hotel or travel lodging before you arrive at your destination country. Some travelers choose to open a travel credit card to gain reward points or free miles. Certain travel cards may also waive foreign transaction fees, which can be incredibly convenient. Just be sure to let your bank and credit card company know of your travel dates, so they don’t suspect fraud and mistakenly freeze your accounts.
Take Out a Travel Insurance Plan
Even the most well-prepared traveler can encounter an unfortunate situation that puts them or their travel companions at risk. To ensure that your savings don’t take a substantial hit in the event of an accident or injury, it may be wise to invest in a voluntary travel insurance plan. Depending on the terms and conditions of a specific plan, travel insurance may cover:
- Unexpected illnesses
- Jury duty
- Covid-related trip cancellation
- Delayed or lost luggage
- Missed airline connections
Trip cancellation insurance reimburses you for the money you lose in prepaid, non-refundable deposits for cancellations covered under a policy.
Preparing for Your Next Awesome Adventure
We hope that these travel tips help you enjoy a safe, relaxing trip the next time you travel outside of the country. Remember to start the passport process early, start budgeting as soon as you can, and check the weather conditions for your destination before booking your trip!