A smooth and worry-free travel does not happen by itself. If you don’t want to hit snags while on a trip, then you must plan well. Good travel is always the result of good planning. Your destination can be so dreamy that all you want to do is book and daydream. However, planes won’t book themselves and amazing hotels won’t knock on your door. There is work to be done before you are in the clear to start fantasizing about the fantastic time you will have on your vacation.

International travels call for extra research and extra steps to ensure that you have a stress-free time but there is no need to be overwhelmed as the steps we have outlined will help make your getaway a huge success.

Check your passports and apply for the necessary visas

Although it is not necessary for you to memorize your passport’s expiration date, it is necessary for you to make sure that it is still valid for at least another 6 months when you enter a foreign country. If your passport’s expiration date is fast approaching, you need to renew your passport before your next trip overseas.

Check if your destination requires you to get a visa. Visas are needed by some countries and the application process differ from one country to another. If you have an American passport, you should check the State Department’s website to determine if you need to apply a tourist visa or not. Applying for a visa can not only be time consuming, it can also be costly, so get it out of the way as soon as you can. If there is a chance that you will return to the country sooner, get a multiple entry visa so you can save money and time in the long run.

Check for travel advisories and register your trip

Before traveling abroad, it is best to refer to your country’s Consular Information or travel alerts. These notices are very important because they will tell you whether you should go to your destination or not. Register your trip so that it is easier for your home country’s government to assist you in the event of emergencies. Lastly, write down the addresses and phone numbers of your country’s embassies or consulates in the destinations you are visiting, in case there is a need to contact them.

Make copies of your travel documents

Make copies of your travel documents, especially your passport in color and store it somewhere safe away from your passport. Visas, hotel reservations and other travel documents must be copied, as well. Yes, we are now in the digital age and digital copies are much more handy but you must remember to store these things locally so that you can access them even without Internet connection. When storing sensitive information on your phone or other devices, make sure you have passwords which are strong enough to keep out potential intruders out.

Check the weather

The weather is a powerful factor that can affect your trip, either positively or negatively so you must never take it for granted. Although there is generally a prevailing weather for a certain period, for example it is going to be hot in the summer but there are always exceptions to prevailing weather patterns so do your research and check the weather. With a good weather forecast, you will be able to pack appropriate clothes.

Research on your destination

You might be tempted to book a ticket to your destination and just wing it but if you are pressed for time and have a limited budget, this is not the way to go. We are not asking you to be completely OC and make a list and to stick to that list no matter what but it pays to at least have a little insight on the places of interest on your destination. This way you will be able to ensure you have ample time and money for the things you wish to do and places you’d like to go to.

It is also a good idea to do research of your hobbies at your destination. You might be surprised pleasantly by what you can find. If you are going to Melbourne and a coffee connoisseur, you will be delighted to know that the city is renowned for its rich coffee culture.

Learn key phrases

Yes, English is widely spoken all over the world but there are still places where only a few locals know how to speak it. Plus, if you really want to interact with the locals and make your trip memorable, the best way would be to communicate with them in their own language. Now we are not saying that you learn an entirely new language in a month or two but you should at least learn key phrases in the local language.

Learn the basics such as “hello”, “thank you”, “how much” and “where is the bathroom”. Of course, the more you can say in the local language, the better. If you have not remembered as much as you would like of the key phrases, you can print out a document with relevant phrases that you can take with you.

Contact the house sitter/kennel

Once you have fixed your travel date, contact your house sitter or pet kennel to guarantee availability. You wouldn’t want your beloved canine best friend neglected and starving while you are enjoying listening to the waves as they kiss the shore. You may event want to take of this even before booking your flights.

Prepare your finances

Prior to traveling overseas, you should call your bank to inform them where you will be. There is a big possibility that the bank might freeze your cards if they find overseas charges without any notice. You should also be aware of the exchange rate and just how much things generally cost so you have a sense of how much you are going to spend.

You may also like: Avoiding the most common travel disasters