Planning an international trip is always tricky – even for an experienced globetrotter. And, for the first-timer, the international travel seems utterly overwhelming due to a truckload of preparations involved in the process. From obtaining passports to applying for visas and getting travel insurance – there are several new aspects one faces for the first time before their first international travel.
If you are planning your first international travel from India and don’t know where to start, make notes of these 10 helpful tips. These important tips will help you get some basic knowledge to cover on your first overseas travel and gain some confidence for your next international trip.
1. First things first – get your passport handy
One of the most practical tips for first-time international travellers is – to apply for a passport much before your expected departure time. It would help you to avoid unnecessary stress. Don’t book your international flight that cannot be changed until you receive that little book in your hand.
Moreover, you may need your passport more often than just during your flight. Sometimes, hotels scan your passport as identity proof. Don’t get worried about this, as it’s absolutely normal.
So, once you receive your passport, create some paper-based and digital copies. Keep the quality digital copy stored on your Google Docs that can be accessed from anywhere. Above all, never hand over your passport to unknown or unnecessary people. Instead, show those paper copies to avoid any kind of pickpockets and bag snatching during your travel.
2. Check out if you need a visa
Once you have sorted out your passport, it’s time to check if your destination country needs a visa. Some countries don’t require a visa for Indian citizens, whereas some particular countries provide a visa on arrival.
Let us take a look at the types of visas with examples:
For most destinations, including the USA, the UK, and Australia, you are required to apply for a visa ahead of time and often pay a fee. Indian citizens can learn about visa requirements and regulations by visiting the Government of India’s Ministry of External Affairs page.
3. Contact Your Embassy & Register Yourself
Most international travellers don’t bother to follow this step. However, checking with the Indian embassy and informing them about your travel plan ensure your safety abroad. It helps them to track your whereabouts in case of an emergency. Hence, make sure to check with the Indian embassy in that particular country before you commence your journey.
4. Get travel insurance
You would be surprised to know how many people get caught up in their travel itinerary plans for not having travel insurance. A common fear among most first-time international travellers is “What if I fall sick or get hurt abroad?”. Since international travel involves lots of uncertainty, it is essential to ensure your medical expenses. Your travel insurance can safeguard you against emergency medical expenditure, financial loss, lost luggage, emergency transportation, and cancelled or delayed flights.
5. Collate all travel-related documents
Once you have your important documents like passport and visa in hand, it’s time to organise them. Here is a checklist for your travel-related documents –
6. Check your money meter overseas
Here is an important money-saving tip for you: plan ahead and exchange a large amount of currency when the value is high for your local currency. Make sure you have enough cash for transactions, even if you have an international credit card.
Also, avoid airport kiosks and unauthorised dealers at any destination, or you may end up paying an awful exchange rate. Instead, you can contact your personal banker to find out the possibility of avoiding a large amount of transaction or service fee.
Above all, let your bank know about your travel to make them aware of any future transactions from any foreign land. It is highly advisable to take a credit card to avoid high exchange rates during transactions.
7. Get ready with useful techie-stuff
Pack some important techie stuff to travel more conveniently. Here is a primary checklist for you –
8. Pack light for the flight
Most travellers make the common mistake of over-packing. If you want to travel conveniently abroad, try to avoid over-packing. It will help you move with your luggage on the stairs and travel by public transport. Packing light is the key to relieving yourself from the feeling of overburden on your shoulder.
9. Get to know some common foreign phrases
Knowing some common foreign phrases would be a bonus point to exploring an international destination like a local. From “bonjour” to “Hola, amigos”, – some common foreign phrases are not too difficult to grasp, even when you are on a short foreign trip. It will help you connect better with the local people, especially in places where you cannot communicate in English.
10. Learn to deal with jet lag
Along with the preparation and stress of travelling abroad, you should also think about handling jet lag. Depending on your destination, you should be aware of the time difference between the two places. Try to avoid taking a nap on your first day abroad, even though it would tempt you!
Get enough sleep before your travel day and drink a lot of water on the flight to combat jet lag. Moreover, scheduling fewer trips or activities in the first two days is an effective way to avoid burnout.
Finally, travel like a pro
Most importantly, when you are in doubt about your first international travel, let your heart lead the way. Of course, you need to take so many things into consideration while travelling abroad. But, if you are willing to travel confidently, you would end up travelling like a pro.
Don’t forget to get your peace of mind, i.e., your travel insurance, for a safe, hassle-free international travel experience.