There’s a lot to think about when planning a trip abroad. From getting your visa to booking accommodation, to having enough money, it can all be quite stressful.
In this guide, we’ll help you plan your trip step-by-step and give you useful travel tips and tricks to make it as stress-free as possible!
Choose Your Destination
Many people want to travel but never do because they don’t know where to go or where to start. It’s easier to work towards a goal and have your destination picked.
When choosing a destination, you should consider what you like. Think of questions like:
Do you like the city, beach or countryside?
Do you prefer hot or cold weather?
Would you rather adventure or relaxation?
Why not start by writing a list of your interests and then research where you can go that suits those interests?
If you still don’t know where to travel, check out our blog posts and Instagram page to get inspiration on different destinations and some useful travel advice.
Decide On Your Budget
You should do your research on the costs associated with your destination and what style of travel you want. If you want to stay in luxury hotels, and have it all-inclusive rather than backpacking and staying in an Airbnb or hostel, you will need a bigger budget!
You should also think about how long you will be travelling for as this can determine how much money you will need.
You will need to consider the price of restaurants, attractions and the activities you will be doing.
You can research the costs by googling prices of specific things you want to see or do, buying a guidebook, asking questions online or reading relevant articles. It’s a good idea to plan your budget early so if you need to save you will have time to do so.
Decide when you want to travel
The weather and how busy it will be will play a huge part in deciding when to travel. You should check out when peak season is and what the weather’s like in the area during the time you’re planning to travel there.
Travelling during the off-peak season means there will be less crowds and prices may be cheaper.
Book your accommodation
Depending on how long you are travelling for, you can book your accommodation for the whole trip or just a few days at a time. You will need to consider the location of your accommodation, transport to and from the accommodation and how long you’re staying.
If you’re travelling for more than two weeks, you will have more flexibility than if you book a few days at a time, as you can travel to different areas.
Of course, you can book a room in the local hotel but why not do some research into the various accommodation types in the area. You never know what could pop up and what deals you can avail of. Some cheaper accommodation options include Airbnb, Couchsurfing and hostels.
Book your flights
You will need to consider which airport you’re flying into and if you’re flying out of the same one. If you are going to be on a long flight, you should consider breaking it up so you have a stopover in a city halfway. It may also be cheaper than getting a direct flight to your destination.
It is important to note the time your flight arrives at. If your flight is early in the morning you may have problems getting a taxi or checking into your accommodation.
If you’re looking for cheap flights, you should look at various sites before booking to see where you can get the cheapest option. Some airlines have their cheapest price on their own website, so be sure to check it out before booking.
When you have booked your flights it is important to get travel insurance. There are various options you can avail, it can cover you if your flights or trip gets cancelled. Plans can also cover you for medical insurance.
You should check your own medical insurance plan to see if it covers you if you’re overseas. You should always read the fine print before purchasing your travel insurance. You never know what might happen to you so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Check your documents
If you don’t have a passport, you will need to get one. Similarly, if your passport is out of date you will need to apply for a new one. It is important to give some time for this process and get your passport on time.
When you are renting a car you will need your driver’s licence and make sure the date has not expired.
You should also make copies of the documents you are bringing with you. In the event of one going missing, you will have a backup copy.
Important documents to copy include:
and other documents you have
Every country has different requirements for foreign visitors. Requirements depend on your country of origin and where you’re travelling. You should always check what documents you need to obtain before travelling.
It is also important to see if you’re required or recommended to get an immunization.
What to pack
When you are packing for your trip, you will need to check the weather forecast. There is no point bringing winter clothes if it’s going to be in the height of summer when you arrive. You may also need to check the dress code of the country you’re travelling to. For example, you may have to cover your shoulders and legs in some countries.
It is very tempting to bring clothes ‘just in case I need them’ which can often lead to overpacking. However, you should still ensure you have enough clothes for your time abroad.
The type of accommodation can also help you while packing. For example, if you’re staying in hotels you won’t need items like towels, linen or hair dryers. You should also remember the activities you are doing so you can pack appropriately.
We recommend bringing a change of clothes in your carry-on just in case your luggage goes missing or is delayed.
Travelling essentials list
Below are some essentials you should include in your packing:
Chargers for your electronics
Small first aid kit
You don’t have to be fluent and able to converse in the official language of the country you’re travelling to.
However, it is helpful to know some useful phrases to help you get around if not many locals speak your own language. Translating apps can be very helpful while abroad. Failing that, why not bring a dictionary.
It is so important to check what currency the country you’re travelling to use. It is no good arriving in a country with the wrong currency. You should check the exchange rate to see if your own currency is worth more or less in the country you’re travelling to.
Research if there are ATMs in your area if you rely on cash, you will also probably be charged ATM fees when you withdraw money. It is important to notify your bank that you are travelling abroad as they may freeze your card if they see transactions from overseas.
When travelling, it is recommended to bring more than one option for carrying your money. You should use a combination of cash, debit/credit cards and travel money cards.
Before you travel
Usually, you can get a better rate for currency exchange if you order it from your local bank or credit union. Many won’t charge the extra fees to exchange the currency. You also won’t need to worry about having to exchange your currency when you arrive if you order it before you travel.
If you wait until after you arrive you may not get as good a rate as you would if you were in your home country.
Make a list of places and activities you’d like to experience
This is where the fun planning starts! When you’re planning your trip you should take note of the must-see places and attractions you want to visit. If you are visiting a popular tourist attraction, it may be a good idea to book tickets to avoid disappointment when you arrive.
Many cities offer a city pass allowing you into a certain amount of attractions for a certain price. This type of pass usually saves you money if you were buying each ticket separately. You should also research free places to visit or tours you can attend.
Having a rough idea of what activities you will be doing will allow you to change your budget if needs be.
Food and drink
Many people actually travel to certain areas just for traditional food or drinks. Some countries may have very different cuisines to what you may be used to. It is important to do some research to see if the food is similar or not and what to expect in restaurants and street food.
Do some research about the country you want to visit
Read about the country you are about to visit to know what you are allowed to do and what is banned. Some gestures you may use in everyday life like a thumbs up or showing affection may be offensive in the country you’re visiting.
You should also be respectful to locals – you are the visitors in their country after all.
Apply for a visa
Do you need a visa to enter the country you’re travelling to?
Remember no visa = no entry! You can check if you need a visa for the country you’re travelling to. It is important not to leave it until the last minute as it may take some time to get it organised.
You can check if you need a visa for the country you’re travelling to with Visa First.
We can assist you in securing your visa form start to finish and boost your chances of a successful outcome.