International trips can be very stressful because they require thorough planning. Every new destination or journey comes with unique challenges, so even experienced travelers can have difficulties managing travel-related stress. And a lot of stress comes from the unpredictable nature of travel. Even if you plan everything down to the smallest detail, you can never be sure that things will unfold according to plan. Losing time, money, and energy due to unforeseen events is a considerable risk.
How to feel less stressed about an upcoming trip? Here are four tips for a stress-free trip abroad.
- Book Flights and Accommodation Early
Booking flights and accommodation well in advance is a great way to minimize stress. Travel experts suggest booking flights and accommodation six to seven weeks ahead to take advantage of better prices.
By booking flights early, you can choose the departure and arrival hours that suit your schedule instead of having to accept whatever hours are available. Similarly, the earlier you look for accommodation, the higher the chance of finding an affordable place in a nice neighborhood.
Many people don’t like booking international flights far ahead because they worry about losing their money if something unexpected derails their plans. What if won’t be able to travel? This is a valid concern. The best way to minimize your financial risk is to purchase flight cancellation insurance. Thus, you can move forward with your plans without worrying about losing hundreds of dollars due to uncontrollable circumstances.
- Organize Your Documents
Preparing for international travel can be challenging because there are many legal obligations to consider. Having a valid passport and applying for the correct type of visa are critical steps, but there are often other requirements. Depending on your passport and destination country, getting a visa may require you to present additional papers such as vaccination cards, bank statements, and proof of onward travel. Moreover, many countries require a foreign passport to be valid not only for the entire duration of the trip but also for six months beyond the date of exit.
Whether you plan to spend a week, a month, or a year abroad, organize all the paperwork well in advance because bureaucratic processes often suffer delays. Check the entry requirements carefully before moving forward with your travel plans. Being denied boarding at the airport or entry to a country after a long flight is one of the worst inconveniences a traveler can experience.
- Set a Travel Budget
No matter the duration, an international trip can be costly, so it’s a good idea to set a travel budget. Besides flights, lodging, and travel insurance, you must consider the costs you will incur at the destination. Food and local transportation are the most substantial expenses. How much can you comfortably afford to spend daily? Do a quick price comparison between your home country and your destination using a site like Numbeo. Set a daily budget for hotels, meals, transportation, and activities.
Figuring out finances in advance will help you avoid unnecessary stress while away. If you have financial responsibilities at home, ensure you’re up-to-date on credit cards, loans, bills, utilities, and taxes. A critical thing to know is that many credit card companies are suspicious of international transactions due to the high risk of fraud. File a travel notice with your card issuer before your trip to avoid getting your credit card declined abroad.
- Download Travel Apps
A smartphone is an indispensable tool when traveling. It can keep you connected with your loved ones 24/7 and serve as an entertainment center, translator, navigation system, and not only. Travel apps can help you enjoy a stress-free trip abroad because they remove many of the obstacles inherent to travel. With the right travel app, you can easily call a taxi, find a bus station, book a hotel, order food, find activities in your area, or check currency exchange rates. A smartphone with internet access is everything you may need to navigate the logistics of daily life.
Google Maps, Google Translate, Viator, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and other similar travel apps can make your journey infinitely easier. Remember to look for country-specific apps too. What apps do locals use for their daily needs? You may need the same ones too. Make sure you will have access to the internet while away. In many cases, buying a local SIM card is the best way to stay connected while abroad.
Going abroad for any length of time is an excellent way to enrich your life, make lasting memories, and become a more adaptable and organized person. There’s no better way to go out of your comfort zone. However, it’s important to remember that you cannot control every aspect of your trip. Be ready to face unpredictable situations and events. Preparing for the unknown in advance will help you relax and enjoy the journey.