A Comprehensive Guide for First-Time International Travelers

By Camille Poire | BLOG

Nov 19
comprehensive guide for first-time international travelers

A trip overseas may do wonders for your mind, heart, and soul, from broadening your perspective to introducing you to new people and helping you learn valuable skills. It is necessary to gain flexibility, curiosity, and a willingness to learn many new things when we travel to foreign nations and encounter unfamiliar cultural norms and practices.

The travel may be challenging, but the destination will be well worth the trouble. To help you fulfill a big item on your bucket list, here are some expert pointers on making the most of your first overseas trip and having a fantastic time doing it.


Get a Passport in Advance

Only schedule a flight or commit to something else once you've got your hands on your passport. It's better to have your passport number on hand before booking anything, as some foreign flights might ask for it when you buy a ticket online.

Passports should have at least two blank pages and be valid for at least six months after your return date. However, this varies from country to country. Additionally, making multiple copies of your passport and any other important travel documents might be a good idea. Give a copy to a reliable friend or family member, carry one copy with you, and store the original somewhere safe.

Secure Health Insurance

While many tourists turn to their embassies in times of need, these offices can only provide limited assistance. For any unexpected medical costs incurred on the road, travelers can rely on their insurance policy. Your travel medical insurance may pay for your medical expenses while you are away from home if you become ill, injured, or otherwise need medical attention for a covered circumstance.

The price of health insurance varies widely amongst plans. Insurance premiums are generally more affordable for younger and healthier policyholders. Therefore, getting health insurance for young adults may be an ideal option for young travelers. Young adults with full-time jobs typically have access to health insurance policies through their employers. On the other side, non-full-time workers and those in jobs without benefits packages may qualify for Medicaid.

See If Your Destination Requires a Visa

travel passport with tourist visas stamps

Following the completion of the passport processing, the next step is to look into visa requirements. When you apply for entry into a country, you must have a visa issued by that government before you may travel there. Many tools are available online, and your provider will have information on the application processes.

Tourist visas are often available upon arrival for those with a valid passport or visa from the United States. However, applications are mandatory at some destinations, and the costs might add up. Be sure to research the visa needs of your ultimate destination and take care of any relevant paperwork.

Read more: A Sample Cover Letter for Tourist Visa and How to Create One

Research About Your Destination

If you want to learn more about the country, you may talk to people who have been there and browse online discussion forums or Facebook groups relevant to your travel.

Furthermore, when visiting a foreign nation, you are subject to the laws of that country. As a result, it's essential to be familiar with local law to avoid potential troubles. In Sweden, for instance, bars and other establishments that host dancing are required to obtain licenses from the government. Bar owners risk harsh sanctions if their clients break out into spontaneous dance in an unauthorized establishment.

Buy a Ticket in Advance

Once you know when you want to take off, you can begin looking at flight options. Try to use applications to monitor airfare discounts for your target destination and book the cheapest flight. Use your mileage loyalty program and travel rewards card to get the most out of your flight.

Many airlines may not let you board the plane if you only have a ticket for one-way travel, so plan your exit flights. It would help if you plan your first overseas adventure anytime you are ready to commit financially and emotionally to the experience.

Get Your Prescriptions Ready for the Trip

If you need medication while traveling, contact the embassy of the country you visit. There are tight regulations or prohibitions on medication in several countries. The authorities may seize your medication or impose other penalties, such as time in prison.

Your doctor can help you create a plan B if you can't bring your medication with you, and they can also prepare a statement outlining your ailment and the treatment plan in case you need to present it at your destination.

Moreover, certain drugs may need to be handled differently while traveling because of their sensitivity to heat and cold. If you need to bring any prescription drugs with you, it's better to do so in a separate bag that can be quickly accessed.

Register with Your Country's Embassy

Registering with your country's embassy before traveling abroad has various advantages. After registering with the appropriate authorities, you may receive destination-specific updates immediately. This aids in travel preparation by allowing you to anticipate potential alterations and safety measures.

What's more, if a crisis such as a natural disaster occurs at your location, your embassy will know exactly where you are and if you're safe. Moreover, should war break out while you're visiting a foreign country, your insurance policy may assist cover some or all of the costs associated with getting home safely. Although war and warlike situations are not typically covered by insurance, flight schedule adjustments or cancellations caused by an escalation of conflict at the destination are covered as insured events.

Filling out a form online is the simplest and most convenient method to register with your country's embassy. You can register with your embassy through several online visa providers as part of the application process.

Check If You Need Vaccinations

The place to go to find out about vaccination requirements is the embassy of your intended destination. You may present an International Certificate of Vaccination, sometimes known as a Yellow Card, or other acceptable documentation to prove that you have complied with this requirement.

Furthermore, contact your insurance company to find out if you have emergency medical coverage abroad. If not, and you're interested in increasing your level of protection, consider looking into additional insurance.

Even if you think you have all the necessary vaccines to enter a country, it's a good idea to double-check just in case. This is an important piece of advice for those traveling abroad for the first time.

guide for first-time international travelers check if you need travel vaccine

Final Thoughts

Traveling to a foreign country can be a stressful experience. Getting there can be intimidating, but with the correct information, like the tips we've included in this guide, you can relax and take in all the wonders of your destination.

Read more:
Do I Need A Passport Book and Card?
12 Must See Cities for First Time in Europe
First Time on a Plane: What to Expect

Rating: 4.31 (16 votes)

About the Author

Hey, I'm Camille! I'm a 30-something "ex-French" girl turned world explorer. In 2013, I quit my life to travel the world - and I haven’t stopped since! I have lived in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, and Colombia, and have visited 50+ countries as a location-independent travel writer and affiliate marketer. I like sleeping in hammocks, riding scooters, eating all the foods, and scaring my mother trying adventure sports! I now share this journey with my nomadic boyfriend Mr B, with whom I recently bought a home base in the mountains of Bansko, Bulgaria.

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