- Documents: Make sure you apply for your passport and/or necessary Visas early. Check with the embassy in the country you are visiting to find out what is necessary for entry into the country. Leave yourself plenty of time because it can take quite long to get the necessary documentation. Take photocopies of any of your important identification and credit cards in case they get lost or stolen.
- Language: A great tip is to learn some of the basics of the language of the countries you are visiting. Just knowing how to book a hotel room, ask where the washrooms are and getting directions will make your trip far less stressful. Language computer programs or CDs are a quick and easy way to learn the basics!
- Luggage: Think about what type of traveling you will be doing and bring the appropriate luggage with you. For example, if you’ll be doing a lot of walking, a sturdy backpack is ideal. If you are planning to only visit one or two cities and will have a home base, then a suitcase will work great. Don’t forget to find out size and weight restrictions from the airlines before you pack!
- Adapters and Converters: You will want to get an electrical converter if you’re heading off to countries outside of North America! If you don’t, you won’t be able to use your hair dryer, charge your digital camera battery or use other electrical implements!
- Clothing: Be prepared for a variety of climates. Make sure you bring clothing in case it rains because there is nothing worse than soggy clothing—you will end up miserable! Flip-flops are a great idea if you’ll be using communal bathrooms. Remember to also bring long pants and jackets because some religious/cultural sites will require you to cover up. First time travelers usually bring way too much. Try to pack light because you will have to carry everything you bring! You’ll want to have room in your luggage for any souvenirs you purchase!
- Other Useful Items: For overseas travel, consider bringing a money belt, travel alarm clock, umbrella, lock, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and plastic bags (for damp/dirty clothing or spillable items).
Your first trip overseas will be exciting and exhilarating. Follow these easy tips and you should be prepared to enjoy every minute!