7 Hacks To Making Your First International Trip Successful

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The first time you get to take an international trip, it can be a unique combination of stress and adventure. You’re getting to set foot outside your home country for the first time and experience the broader world, but you’re also going to be outside the familiar. Knowing some hacks to make your first international trip successful helps you get there and back effectively.

1. Plan a Year Ahead for Your Passport

Even if you’re going to a country where a passport isn’t required, you might want to still have one to make things easier. You might need it to board a plane even if you don’t need it at a border. They take time to process, so start a year in advance on this paperwork. Rush options are sometimes available, but they cost more money. Also, the stress simply isn’t worth it.

2. Let Financial Institutions Know

Let your bank and credit card know that you are heading out of the country. If you suddenly use credit and debit cards overseas, they might get flagged as suspicious activity and the transactions held up. Make sure you can keep using your cards.

3. Learn the Local Culture and Language

You don’t need to know every custom or be fluent in the native tongue, but Entrepreneur recommends at least knowing the basics. When you show the locals that you’ve tried to learn about their culture, any effort you put in will go a long way to making you look good, regardless of the inevitable mistakes you make. Body language is especially important to learn, as direct eye contact and shaking hands are not socially acceptable in all countries.

4. Max Your Minutes

Keep your phone running easily with prepaid minutes. Anytime you get an online connection, use a site to buy minutes for major phone carriers. Many of them work internationally so you can keep your phone on even when you’re overseas.

5. Don’t Exchange Money at the Airport

Airport currency exchange services charge a higher markup than anywhere else for such an option. Use local ATMs whenever possible. Of course, if your debit and credit cards work internationally, then using cash might not even need to be a thing anyway.

6. Travel Light

You’ll spare yourself checked baggage fees. You’ll also get to move faster through security checkpoints and the entire trip. On a trip when every minute counts, agility can free up time when it is very valuable.

7. Send Yourself an Email

This email should include copies of your hotel reservations, itinerary, travel insurance, tickets, passport, and driver’s license. This will all make things much easier if you have a bag stolen.

These are all good pieces of advice for international travel, but there are plenty more. Learn all you can before your trip, and you can use your first trip as a template for successful international travel in the future.

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