Taking an international trip can be daunting, especially if it’s your first one. Where to stay? How to get around? Do you need a guide? Talk about overwhelming….
Most people I talk to already have a dream location in mind. Here’s a quick guide on how to make your dream a reality!

Before you book, check out The Art of Travel on finding the best locations and vacations for YOU.

1. Buy an Airline Ticket!!!!

Ummm you can’t go ANYWHERE without a ticket. So what are you waiting for???

Caveat—-before you do this make sure you have a passport OR give yourself enough time to get a passport before you leave (~6 weeks once you send off your application).  Also look up if you need a visa for the country you are visiting. How to get a Passport and Visas.

Ok. Now! Buy a ticket!! YAY! This is my favorite part.  Tips and Tricks for Purchasing Airline Tickets

2. Do You Need a Guide?

This depends greatly on the country you are going to and how comfortable you are with travel. If it’s your first time and you are very apprehensive about traveling, then I suggest a guide. I would also suggest a guide in countries with vastly different language and culture from our own such as India or Egypt for at least your first time visiting. Here are some great US based travel guides to get you started:

Classic Journeys – The name says it all. Classic Journeys to some amazing destinations with top-rated guides
Gray & Co. Bicycle Trips – Hosts a myriad of adventures on bicycle around the world
Thompson Family Adventures — Worldwide Adventures designed for families
Cox and Kings – Best selection of tours and locations
G Advenutres — Affordable with a ton of options

If you are adventurous then do some research, get a good guide book such as Fromme’s or Lonely Planet and feel free to head out on your own.

Travel Pro Tip: An easy place to start for a first time traveler is Europe. Italy is my favorite for food, sites and culture. If you really need to ease into travel then start in England, it’s a beautiful country with a lot to see.

3. Plan Your Trip

First, decide what you want to do and see on your trip. I like to Google a location or look at a guide book. I obsess over Pinterest images and google maps when planning a trip. Make a list of what you absolutely can’t miss, but make it short! You will want and need plenty of time for exploring without an agenda.

Travel Pro Tip: Check the time of year and weather for the location you plan to visit. January in England is usually quite dreary and cold…

4. Book Accommodations

Location is key! Before you book pay attention to where your hotel is in respect to what you want to see.

I prefer to stay in apartments, boutique hotels or bed & breakfasts. Travel guides are also great to help you book accommodations if it becomes too overwhelming.

I use booking.com or airbnb.com to find apartments or homes to rent in other countries. Large cities will have their own rental agencies for apartments. For example google “Paris apartment rentals” and you will see several options from luxury rentals to affordable accommodations. Booking Hotels Tips and Tricks

Travel Pro Tip: You can save a lot of money by renting a place rather than booking a hotel. Especially if your trip is a week or more and you have more than two people. Check Airbnb or Homeaway.com.

5. Get Transportation

How are you going to get from the airport to your apartment? How will you get around once you are there?

There are a lot of options from private cars, to taxis, Uber, local buses or trains. Decide what works the best for you and plan accordingly. Sometimes it is worth it for me to get a private car, especially if I am traveling with a toddler or lots of camera equipment. If you want to save money, and live like a local, take the city transit.

I just used Uber in Lisbon on my last trip and it was AWESOME and CHEAP!!

6. Packing for Your Trip

You’re almost there! Follow these packing guides for international travel:

The Ultimate Guide for Packing a Suitcase
Carry-on Essentials
Packing for International Travel
Packing for Developing Countries

Get ready for the time of your life! I can’t promise it will all be wonderful and easy, but I can promise it will be an ADVENTURE!

Happy Travels!!

Starter Guide for first time international travelers by Shelley Coar http://wanderlustbound.com/starter-guide-first-time-international-traveler/

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