- Research a few places and pick the one you’d like to go to!
Do you want a relaxing beach vacation? Maybe a snow ski trip to Japan? Find a place that combines your interests, preferable weather and price point. I usually base most of my decisions off flight deals I get especially for international trips as the flight is usually the bulk of the trip price. See my article on How to Find Cheap Flights here.
- Determine how long you will travel and when.
Trips can vary in price depending on the season and most destinations have a high season and low season. For example, in Greece, most of the island businesses are closed for tourism after October until May of the next year. So even though this would be a much cheaper time to go it might not match up well with your sightseeing plans. Destinations across the equator also have opposite seasons from the USA. So if you have a lot of vacation time at Christmas, Australia might be a great option for you as it would be their summer time.
How long you are there is definitely a personal choice. If I am flying across an ocean to get somewhere I most likely will want to stay 10-14 days at least to make the travel time worthwhile but you don’t need that long! Any trip can be done in as little or as much time as you’d like, you just might not see everything on your first go around!
- Decide how much you need/are able to afford and plan out how you can save each month for that amount
International trips can get expensive quick! I usually do a rough budget in the beginning and then set an amount to come out of my checking account every month until I reach that goal right before my trip. I never even notice the money being taken out and then when it’s a few months before the trip I can start booking items and know I have that money available. Don’t put yourself into debt to afford any trip! There are many ways to travel on a budget, especially abroad. Check out my article on
- Get passport/check passport expiration date!
Probably the most important step of all of this! Most countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 more months after your trip. So make sure you update it in time if needed. Also make sure to check on any visa requirements or vaccines needed.
- Read blogs/websites/read travel books to find out what cities, hotels, activities you would like to do.
This is my favorite part even though it takes a while! I usually have a Pinterest board dedicated to the trip. Then I pull information from all those websites into Google docs to stay organized. I usually check reviews on Airbnb, Booking.com and TripAdvisor as well.
- Get a Travel Credit Card.
I highly recommend getting a travel credit card to avoid paying foreign transaction fees and have travel insurance included! My favorite is the Chase Sapphire Credit Card and I have a link here where you get a bonus 15,000 points when you sign up!
- Book everything and get excited!
Whether it’s your first international trip or your 10th it’s still just as exciting!