The joy of traveling is infectious. So if you’re finally bitten by the notorious travel bug after getting so many notifications from your wanderlust friends, it’s time you start planning your first ever international trip.

Don’t worry. We’re here to help you out with it. Here are ten of the most useful tips that you should keep in mind to ensure a hassle-free trip abroad:

Get your passport in advance

Before you even think about traveling outside of your home country, do you already have a passport? Or is it up to date?

If you don’t have it yet, you might want to get it as soon as possible. In fact, you probably should stop reading this and just go straight to securing yourself a passport, especially now that you’re planning to travel abroad.

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A passport, obviously, is the most important paper you need to travel to. To stop yourself from having mini heart attacks brought about by delayed passport issuance and deliveries while your flight is just a wink away, get it in advance.

And by advance we mean months before your travel, you should have gotten your passport already.

Find out if a visa is required

Aside from a passport, the other important document that you need to secure is a visa. Moreso, if the country you are visiting requires you to get one.

A passport can be quite powerful, you know. If you’re from first world countries, your passport alone can allow you to enter almost every country in the world without having to get yourself a visa.

But then again, it’s not always the case as some countries are strict about this policy. Hence, find out whether the country you are visiting will ask you to get a visa in advance or upon your arrival.

And if in case you need to get one in advance, you should book a visa appointment months before your desired travel date as it may take weeks to months to be able to process your application.

Prepare immigration documents

The immigration process differs from one immigration officer to another.

The most basic documents that you need to have with you when you arrive at the airport are mostly proof that you have a place to stay in the country you are heading to, your airline tickets or boarding pass, immigration forms, identification cards, and sometimes even your itinerary.

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Since this is your first time to travel outside of your country, having these documents with you will provide you great relief. You’ll never know what the immigration officer will ask from you so you better come prepared if you really want to board that plane on time.

Have digital and print out copies of your documents

The digital age turns out to be a lot more helpful in terms of traveling. It’s not only limited to being able to book a flight with just a few clicks on your smartphone or laptop, but you can also use it to your advantage when storing important travel documents.

Speaking of immigration documents, aside from having them printed out, you should also save a digital copy on your phone or your tablet to be sure. It’s best to have an extra copy in case something happens with the printed documents.

Get travel insurance

This may sound new to you, but securing travel insurance is a thing when you’re a frequent traveler. Anyone who has ever gone abroad knows how important this one is when it comes to ensuring your safety when you’re out exploring a city miles away from your home.

Some of us may even be guilty about completely omitting this one thing when we book a flight because we feel like it’s a waste of money. Well, I’m telling you it’s not.

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International travel insurance protects you from a lot of things, including health coverage, accidental injuries, canceled flights, loss or theft of your precious luggage, and a lot more.

It’s immensely helpful when you’re faced with erratic situations, and you’re too unfamiliar with the system abroad.

Research about your travel destination

For first-timers, researching the travel destination is a knee-jerk reaction and is always a part of everyone’s travel planning phase. Anyone would obviously get excited to see where they are headed and what they should expect to see and experience once out there.

Well, if you’re not the type to do prior research, it’s time to get yourself into a semi-detective mode so that you can set your travel expectations. Proper research also gives you an overview of things that you should and should not do when you’re visiting a specific country. 

There may be rules that you should know of that could offend a local, or worse send you a night in jail, especially when the country is strict about certain rules and regulations that you are not familiar with.

You should also be aware of the area you are staying at by identifying how far you are from convenience stores, transport stations, and even hospitals for emergencies.

Choose the perfect accommodation

If this is your first time traveling abroad, it’s not highly advisable to go spontaneous about your accommodation plans.

While it’s fun to have a bit of spontaneity once in a while, being in a different country for the first time ever in your life will definitely give you a different vibe and impression, one that’s alienating and in some cases, it can make you feel anxious.

To make sure that you limit having to experience such anxiety, get yourself a room at a hotel or at a boutique apartment weeks before your flight. Securing an accommodation even before you land gives off a sense of relief and fulfillment.

Add to that the fact that your accommodation could well be a perfect place to get to know the culture of the country more

Try to avoid overpacking

Don’t let your heavy luggage be a party pooper. This is a vacation we’re talking about. Don’t go through the hassle of dragging a heavy bag around.

Re-evaluate your baggage and try to list down the most important things that you need to bring for this trip. 

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Start with the basic ones like toiletries, clothing, and electronics. And of course, let’s not forget important travel documents that should always be in your carry on wherever you go.

If you’re having a hard time leaving behind some stuff, identifying what type of luggage you should bring during this trip could help you sort this dilemma out. That way, you’ll know whether to bring a medium-sized suitcase or a large one or would you even need to bring an additional carry-on.

If you haven’t got one yet, you can score the best luggage sets here. At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether to make this conscious decision to travel light or to burden yourself with a heavy load whilst moving around the airport.

Learn how to cope with jet lag

Of course, you need to understand that traveling to a completely different time zone could affect your body in ways you haven’t experienced yet.

Aside from the culture shock that you may or may not experience during the trip, jet lag can really be a pain in the ass if you don’t know how to cope with it.

The best course of action is to try not to take a nap on your first day abroad. You have to let your body adjust to the new time zone.

Then again, you need to take your first day as calm as possible and not try to squeeze in too many activities because it will surely kill your energy, and that’s not really a good way to start this trip, agree?

Before the trip, make sure you have enough rest before you take that flight as it can help lessen the effects of jet lag. It’s also advisable to hydrate yourself more often during the entire flight.

Download useful mobile applications

And since we’ve come to a full-blown digital era, use your smartphone to your advantage. In fact, “exhaust” should be the operative word.

Since it comes in many usages, download useful mobile applications that could help you survive this trip. Google translate is a reliable app that will save you on different occasions.

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There are also currency exchange apps to help you monitor your spending during the trip. In some countries, there is an available transport guide for tourists for them to get around faster and more efficiently.

There are a lot of available travel apps in the digital sphere. You just have to find what works best for this particular trip.

You’re probably bouncing off the walls now, trying to crack that travel cheat code that could help you in this trip. And now that you already know the basics of globe-trotting, we’re 100% sure that after this trip, you would be even giddier to book the next one ASAP.

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