Spring weather means now’s the moment to start planning the perfect international getaway, but traveling overseas can seem daunting. Advance planning requires confronting details you wouldn’t even consider when dashing out for a road trip within the U.S. borders. You’ll be on your way to far-flung adventure with confidence when you follow these five tips:
Draw Up a Budget
Figure how much you will spend on travel costs for flights and visa fees. Then add how much extra you will spend during your visit to come up with a total budget for your trip. The plan should include the amount you will spend on lodging, food, activities, and shopping. Plan to include money to cover unexpected expenses.
Often overlooked are costs such as the exit and entry fees that some countries require, foreign transaction fees and baggage fees.
Plan with Travel Alerts and Warnings
Paying attention to minor alerts for taxi driver strikes or peaceful demonstrations gives you time to scan bus schedules and plot alternative transport. Major warnings can alert you to serious issues like political unrest. Find these on the State Department’s Warnings and Alerts page before you book travel. Check them again a couple of weeks before you depart for updates.
Overwhelmed by confirmations for flights, train schedules, taxi locations, museum tickets, and hotel reservations? Consider using an app such as with Tripit to organize them. You will send travel-related confirmations, details and emails to [email protected], and the app creates your master itinerary. You can access your TripIt itinerary without using Wi-Fi at any time. TripIt is free. A 30-day free trial is available for an upgrade to TripIt Pro, which costs $49 per year.
Plan for the unexpected loss of your passport, visa or driver’s license by leaving a copy at home with a friend or family member at home.
Find Your Hotel Before You Leave Home
Several iPhone apps like City Maps 2Go and Maps.Me will help you map out stops at hotels, museums, shops, and restaurants. Mapping addresses that are near each other will help you figure out the layout of the destination city and assist in planning your days. Use these map apps to locate sites on your trip without using WI-FI or data or paying for expensive roaming fees.
Allow Time for Your Passport
Consult the State Department’s U.S. Passports and International Travel Country Information page for the passport and visa requirements of your destination country. You may be surprised to find that even popular tourist spots such as Vietnam and Brazil require a visa from U.S travelers.
Plan at least four to six weeks to receive your passport. if you are applying for the first time, keep in mind that some countries have requirements that will lengthen the time you’ll need to hold your passport. France, for instance, requires a passport that’s been valid for six months prior to your visit.