Tips for Planning for International Travel

People are often asking me when and how I typically start planning for an international trip, so I’ve decided to write a general timeline to help travelers with this often overwhelming task.  I hope this alleviates some of the burden and stress for when you are ready to plan that dream international trip!  For more specific details, contact me. 

Planning for International Travel

Six Months-One Year Prior:

  • Choose location and dates of travel
  • Purchase maps, guidebooks, language books or use online sites to begin researching about the places you plan to visit
  • Map out a general itinerary of countries, cities, general locations and landmarks that are must-sees must-dos for you
  • Make sure your passport is valid and will remain valid for an extended period (Certain countries require validation long after the trip)
  • Apply for a Visa depending on where you are traveling and the length of your stay

Three-Six Months Prior:

  • Book airfare and accommodations
  • Apply for international driver’s permit if planning to drive
  • Apply for Global Entry if necessary
  • Rent a car in the location visiting–if visiting multiple countries, research the fee for dropping off a car in a different country from where you’ve rented (often extremely expensive)
  • Make train reservations (often significantly cheaper three months out)
  • Make doctor’s appointments for any necessary vaccinations and/or medications
  • Plan specific activities–(book tours, buy city tour passes ie. Roma pass)

Two-Three Months Prior:

  • Register with your Embassy
  • Purchase Traveler’s insurance
  • Purchase durable luggage/backpacks/travel gear (I definitely have my favorite brands)
  • Call your cell phone provider to set up an international phone plan
  • Make plans for pet care if necessary
  • Exchange currency at your bank
  • Apply for an international credit card at your bank

One Month Prior:

  • Make all necessary appointments-medical, beauty, etc.
  • Purchase any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications you may need (always bring extra just in case)
  • Purchase adapters for international outlets (typically one per person)
  • Purchase a money belt to keep your money safe
  • Purchase a waterproof case for your cellphone (there are some that come with a lanyard to wear around your neck for swimming)
  • Pay bills you know will be due while you are away
  • Alert your bank and credit card companies of the locations and dates of travel (trust me–this is essential)
  • Make hard copies of your itinerary, hotel information including addresses and phone numbers, all confirmation details, all medical information and phone numbers and addresses of emergency contacts
  • Make arrangements with a neighbor or family member to watch over your house

One Week Prior:

  • Pack, pack and repack (contact me for an extensive “What to Pack List” (for what to have accessible on flight, carry-on bags and check-in bags)
  • Download any electronic books, movies or travel apps you want to have
  • Put a hold on your mail/newspapers

The Day Before:

  • Empty out your refrigerator
  • Turn off appliances and electronics
  • Clean your house (there’s nothing worse than coming home to a mess with jet-lag)
  • Make sure you have everything on your list packed
  • Have a full tank of gas in your car (whether you’re driving to the airport or not, great to come home to one less thing to do)
  • Hydrate (drink double the amount of water you typically do)
  • Get a good night sleep
  • Be ready to experience a life-changing adventure!

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