These days it seems like everybody else is traveling the world, and we’re stuck watching them through the screens of our smartphones and laptops. It seems so out of reach for most people. But this isn’t far out of reach at all; in fact, it is within your grasp. It is within a click!
Tip 1. Book the plane ticket first! Now some may disagree on this being the first step. There are planners who would prefer everything to be planned out, organized, date-by-date, on where to go first, second, and last. The problem with this for most people? Plan all you want, but that isn’t going to get you anywhere! Once the plane ticket is booked, there are no other options but to start planning.
One of the most important questions: what country/region do I want to start in? Certain countries are much cheaper to fly into than others, and public transportation is a pretty reasonable price. Don’t just go on an airline website and book the first ticket you find! Look at a map, browse all the different types of airlines and pricing. Third party websites and foreign airlines could split your ticket in half!
Tip 2. Planning! Sit down and make a list of what sites you want to see and what regions you’d like to visit. Pull out a map, and mark what route would be the most sensible. Don’t assume the first route you make is going to the route you stick with. Figure out how long you want to stay in what city. Give yourself a week or so to finalize your route. This should be a fun step, don’t stress too much.
A tip to planning: always account for travel time. Three days in a big city may seem like enough time to see every landmark on your list, but it may be an hour commute to every landmark! It’s also very exhausting to travel, so keep in mind you’ll want enough sleep to give yourself energy to walk around 30,000 steps a day.
Tip 3. Train tickets/long-trip bus tickets/lodging. Hostels and Airbnb’s are a great option for traveling on a budget. This can give you a bed for $18 dollar a night. It may be a turn off to sleep in a bunk bed with 9 other strangers in the same room, but most of those strangers are doing the same exact thing as you. Lock up your valuables in the safes or cages the hostel provides. It may cost money to rent safes, so make sure you do your research before booking. Also, bring your own lock/luggage lock. The hostel typically will charge you for renting theirs.
Make sure to figure out how far the lodging is from the destinations you want to see. It may be an hour and a half outside the city, but it also may be three times cheaper than the hostel located in the middle of the city. Decide what your priorities are: is it cheaper to buy a subway ticket rather than spend an extra $50 on a closer location, or do you want to spend the extra $50 and sleep in a little longer/not worry about long commutes? Also, Mega Bus and Flex Bus are both very cheap reliable bus services.
Step 4. Buy the right luggage. The most convenient type of luggage for an abroad trip is a travel backpack. These can range from $100-300$ on average. Make sure to do research before buying! There are several blogs and articles out there which explain the different types of hiking/traveling backpacks. Not all are made the same.
These are of course only a few tips to consider when traveling abroad, the key is to plan just the right amount. Don’t overdo the planning, but make sure you have a place to stay every night! Remember, just buy the ticket!
DOCUMENTS TO BE CARRIED
One could get caught up in the planning their vacation–the when, where, with who and why–is just the beginning of all the fun. But many forget to learn what documentation is required to visit a particular destination. And, once they do learn that a passport might be needed to travel to that place, they don’t know how to apply for one.
Don’t be one of those people who are at the airport and denied access to boarding their flight for lack of the proper documentation.
A passport, while easy to attain, does cost the applicant some dollars and, if traveling with family, those dollars can add up. Even an infant and/or toddler needs to have a passport to travel.
The U.S. Department of State is expecting an increase in passport applications through 2018, so don’t get caught short. Back in 2007 when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) mandated that Americans traveling to Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico have a passport, they are now expiring, causing many renewals and slower processing times.
Coupled with the fact that there is a freeze on non-essential federal workers to further burden wait times for receiving their renewed or new passport.
Renewals can be done by mail and/or in person. However, to renew by mail, the applicant must meet certain requirements.
Photos are more easily accessible at nearby chain stores such as Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, to name a few, but make sure to check that the photo isn’t too dark, too light or of poor quality. Eyeglasses should be removed and the applicant should not be wearing any hat or head gear.
Also, one should complete the application properly, making sure to answer all questions that require a response and to make sure that the proper citizenship identification is provided.
A little planning goes a long way, so be sure to understand the entry/exit requirements of the destination you’re visiting to ensure for a smooth transition.