Planning an International Trip? Make it Stress-Free!

Most people love to travel. We have such a beautiful planet that it will be worth it to see and experience as many places as time and money could allow. You may have traveled to some cities within your country, but until you tried international travel, you have seen nothing yet.

What makes international travel so exciting? Probably it's in exploring a totally different and unknown land, in tasting a unique and extremely rare cuisine, or in meeting people of a different culture. We have seen and heard stories from different continents, and it is human nature to crave for the beauty and diversity beyond what we have known all our lives.

Whether you are a first timer or a seasoned traveler, you need some tips to ensure that you plan your trip well, and eliminate as much stress as possible. Here are tried and tested dos and don'ts before you take that international travel:

  • Plan early – book your flight and hotel at least 2 months before your expected date of travel. Doing this will not only lay down plenty of options at your feet, but will also save you the hassle of just getting what's available because the flights and hotels are already fully booked. This will also prompt you to check your passport and visa to ensure that they are not yet expired.
  • Research! Research! And more Research – it is important to know the ins and outs of the country where you are traveling to. Go online and check at least 10 websites to immerse yourself in their culture and understand how a tourist like you should act in their country. Maybe there are certain street laws that you must follow, certain areas you should avoid, or certain actions you must refuse from doing.
  • Pack light – more often than not, you will bring home with you few souvenirs from the country you are visiting. Do not fill your bags to the brim! Leave some space for your shopping items, so you can avoid bringing another bag alike. Also, stay within the maximum weight and dimension limit for checked-in and hand carry luggage to avoid paying additional fees. Know what items are prohibited, and do not insure on bringing them with you. Remember that liquids, gels and creams are banned in your hand carry luggage except liquid medications, breast milk and baby formula. Make sure that you keep all your documents – passport, visa, ticket and ID – in one little bag or travel wallet for easy access. Also make a copy of the front page of your passport and other travel documents, and keep them in a separate place to prevent panic when the actual papers are lost or stolen.
  • Use online check-in – some airlines have the convenience of internet check-in at least 24 hours before your flight. Printing your boarding pass from your home will reduce your stress big time!
  • Arrive early in the airport – international travel require you to be in the airport at least two hours before the flight, but to be safe it is advised that you arrive three hours before. This will save you from unexpected promises, especially during peak periods. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Dress properly for airport security – remove your jewelries, cellular phones, belts with buckles, and shoes before you go through the airport scanner. To avoid too much delay, dress simply in shirts and pants and wear slip-on shoes.

Always keep in mind that travel, especially international ones, are usually stressful even if it is a pleasure trip. It is up to you to avoid the stress and maximize the fun. Happy trip!