The Complete Beginner’s Guide to International Travel – Essential Tips for First-Time Travelers

Beginner’s Guide to International Travel

Understanding International Travel

Travelling internationally means visiting countries other than the United Kingdom. It allows you to experience different cultures, languages and customs. Travelling internationally can transform your life and broaden your worldview.
Travelling abroad has many benefits.
Exposure to different cultures and traditions is one of the main benefits of travelling internationally. Immerse yourself into new cultures, try unique cuisines and see historical landmarks. Travelling internationally can also promote personal growth, global awareness and intercultural understanding.

Popular International Travel Destinations

Explore the world and discover all its fascinating destinations. These are the most popular international destinations:

  1. Paris, France – Experience the romantic charm of this City of Love. Visit the Eiffel Tower and stroll along the Seine River.
  2. Rome, Italy: Discover ancient ruins such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and enjoy authentic Italian cuisine. Also, marvel at the art, architecture and design of Vatican City.
  3. Barcelona, Spain: Experience the vibrancy of this coastal city. Visit the architectural masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi and enjoy the sun at the beautiful beaches.

Compare Domestic and International Travel

A number of factors are taken into consideration when deciding whether to travel domestically or internationally. We’ll explore some of the most important considerations.

Cultural Differences

Travelling abroad allows you to discover different cultures. You can interact with locals and learn about their cultures. You can explore the richness of the United Kingdom’s heritage and diversity by travelling within the country.

Language Barrier

When travelling abroad, language can be an important consideration. As English is the main language in the United Kingdom, the language barrier does not exist. You may need to use translation apps or learn some basic phrases to communicate during international travel.

Considerations of Time

Take into consideration the length of your trip. Due to time zones and flight delays, international travel can be longer. Domestic travel in the United Kingdom is a great way to explore more within a limited timeframe.

Safety and Security

Do some research on the safety of your destination. Travelling within the United Kingdom is generally a safe and familiar experience. Travelling internationally requires more research into safety precautions, risks and travel advisories.

How to Apply for a Passport

First things first. To travel internationally, your passport must be valid and valid. Many countries also require that you have a passport with at least six months of validity remaining from the date of your travel. If you do not have a valid and unexpired passport, or if your passport expires in the next three to six months, then it is time to apply for a new one before your trip. The process could take several months. Plan and submit your request for a passport early to avoid stress or expediting fees nearer your departure date.
You will need to apply in person if this is your first passport if your previous passport has been lost, stolen or damaged, if it was 15 years ago or older, or if a passport was issued more than 15 years ago. The new process for passports is explained in the following steps.
You can renew your passport by mail if you need help with the above. This can be done via the mail. The Renewal Process is explained in detail.

Select Your International Destination

Yipee! You can now choose your destination for international travel, whether you have a passport already or have applied for one. It’s based largely on your interests. As this is your first international trip, you should consider things such as the language, culture, and travel infrastructure (such as trains or buses) when planning.

Visa Requirement Based on Country

Check if you require visas once you’ve chosen your destination. Visas are permissions from foreign governments to enter their country. You may be granted a visa upon your arrival by a country with just a stamp on your passport. You may be required to pay a small amount and fill out an online form before you board your flight in some countries. Some countries require you to apply months in advance for expensive visas. It all depends on the country you’re visiting, the country of your passport, and how long you intend to stay. I use Travisa to check my requirements before booking a flight.

Get The Necessary Vaccinations

Check if you need any vaccinations for your destination before you confirm it. Some vaccinations are recommended for your health, while others may be required before you are allowed to enter the country or into another country afterwards (like yellow fever). You can check by visiting the CDC site. Yellow fever vaccines are in short supply and difficult to obtain at the last minute. Some medications, such as malaria pills, need a prescription from a doctor. Take your time with this!

Know The Travel Restrictions

Check the Travel Department to see if any restrictions on travel or political tensions could affect your decision. Check the Travel Department website. Enter the name of your destination into the search box on the left side of the screen.

Prepare Your Finances

You’ve decided on your destination and your travel dates, but now it’s time for you to think about your finances.
Other destinations accept credit cards. Some destinations only accept cash or debit cards. Some don’t have any ATMs! You’ll plan to avoid stress and transaction fees during your trip.

Get a Credit Card With No Fees

Most banks charge you a fee of 3% every time you pay with your credit card for an international transaction. You can imagine how much this costs over a week-long international trip. Many banks offer credit cards without foreign transaction fees. Search the internet to find out if your bank has such a credit card.

Get a Debit Card with No Fees

Most banks charge you a fee of 3% and 5 pounds for each withdrawal from an ATM. This is especially true if you’re travelling to a destination that relies heavily on cash. Consider opening a free Charles Schwab brokerage account to receive a debit card with zero transaction fees. This card was introduced to me when I moved to London to study abroad. It has been a great help.

Get Foreign Currency Beforehand

It is sometimes, but not always, necessary to have money in the currency of your destination either before leaving home or when you land. It could be that your destination doesn’t have any ATMs, or you want to feel ready.
You can exchange currency at your local bank if you need to get foreign money before you leave. You’ll receive a poor conversion rate because the bank has to earn a commission. Your bank may only have the currency in stock if it is commonly used. You’ll need to contact your bank online and request an exchange if the currency you require is rare.
In many countries, the currency cannot be taken from their country. (Cuba, for example). You’ll have to bring enough money in a widely accepted currency (such as USD, GBP or Euro) if you want to do this. When you arrive at the airport of your destination, you can then exchange your cash for local currency.

Join Airline Reward Programs

Most airlines offer rewards programs. You can accumulate “miles”, which you can then use to redeem flights each time you fly. You might accumulate enough miles to exchange them for a flight.

Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is when people take advantage of airline rewards programs to rack up miles like crazy. When you sign up for a credit card or make a purchase, many airlines and banks will offer you many miles. You can earn enough miles to get a free hotel or flight more quickly. Travel hacking is not something I do because I am not convinced that the rewards in miles are more valuable than the cash rewards of my current credit card. Travel hacking is a must-have in any guide to international travel.

Planning Your International Trip

Phew! After completing all of the tedious administrative tasks, it’s time to start planning your vacation.
There is a ten-step plan for planning a vacation that I can refer you to, so I will not go into detail. This can be broken into three parts: planning your itinerary, booking your flights, and booking accommodation.

Create Your Dream Itinerary

Decide what you want to do at the destination. For inspiration, I use Pinterest and Instagram. It’s my favourite part, as it excites me for the trip. If you’re moving from one place to another, determine how many days are needed for each location. Also, decide how you will travel via trains, taxis, ferries etc.

Book your Flight

Once you have decided on the number of days you will need, you should decide on your travel dates and begin looking for flights. Sometimes you can find great deals very close to your travel date, but this is not guaranteed. It is best to book early. In my travel planning guide, I explain in detail how I find cheap flights.

Book Your Stay

After you’ve booked your flight, the only thing left to do is book your accommodation.’s interface is great, but you can use any hotel search engine. Consider AirBnB for an apartment in the area or Hostelworld for a more social and budget-friendly option. My travel planning guide discusses the different types of accommodation available.
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Prepare For Departure

Woohoo! Your passport is ready, you’ve planned your trip, and now all you have to do is leave. It would help if you prepared yourself for an international trip by doing a few things.

Scan the Front Page of Your Passport

Make a copy of your front page (the one with your photo) before you leave home. Could you print it out or email it to yourself? This will make it easier for you to replace your passport abroad if it is lost, damaged, or stolen during your trip.

Expect Cultural Differences

Travelling is great because every country and region has their own culture and norms. Some places, such as the US, are known for their friendly greetings to strangers or for servers and shop assistants to be especially attentive. In some places, such as much of Europe, the cafe and restaurant culture is slower, so your server may only come if you call them. You almost feel like the waiter is hurrying you! In Japan, tipping waiters is offensive because it implies that their only motivation to do a good job is to receive pocket money. Keep an open mind when you travel, and don’t assume that something is the same in your home country.

Be Prepared for Language Barriers

Due to the large number of international tourists that visit these popular destinations, English has become a common language. If you speak English, you can navigate many destinations worldwide. Learning a few basic words of the language spoken in your destination is still a good idea.
It can be very effective to say “hello” and “thank you” using a person’s mother tongue. You will find that learning common words or menu items on signs at train stations can make life easier for you and increase your confidence. Duolingo mobile app is great for learning the basics of a new language. You could also use Google Translate and write down the keywords before leaving. Keep this paper with you while exploring to make it easy to access.
What to expect on a flight abroad
Flying internationally is a completely different experience, even if you have flown domestically in the past. Here are some of my best tips for travelling internationally.

Packing Your Carry-On

The packing of carry-on luggage for a trip abroad is very similar to that for a trip within the country. There are no differences in terms of liquids and electronics. International flights are longer than domestic flights and therefore require some extra considerations.
Bring your own headphones instead of using the uncomfortable ones that are offered for free or on sale. Bring your favourite headphones instead of using free or expensive headphones on the plane. If needed, bring an eye mask and a neck pillow to help you sleep. Pack clothing like a pair of pyjamas and a few outfits in case your luggage gets lost or is delayed. You would find it very inconvenient if you had to purchase these items after landing in a foreign land!

Flight Etiquettes

  1. Nobody likes to fly. Here are some tips to help make everyone’s life easier.
  2. Refrain from crowding the gate before your group is called. All passengers will have their board turn.
  3. The middle seat gets the inner armrests.
  4. Take your time grabbing your luggage before the doors of the aircraft have opened. This is especially true if you are in the rear. Ask the flight attendants to help you exit first if you are in a hurry and fear you will miss your connection. Some announcers will tell everyone to stay seated while those about to miss their connection leave first.

Keep Healthy When Flying

You don’t want to feel ill on your first day of an epic vacation! Take these precautions to make sure you arrive in top shape.
Keep hydrated. The humidity in plane air is lower (only 10-20%)! Drink plenty of water, particularly on long-haul flights. When I fly, I always have a large refillable bottle of water. After passing through security, I refill it at the airport’s water fountain and use it up before boarding. After boarding, I refill the bottle to ensure it is fully stocked. It is not just for headaches but to avoid skin breakouts after landing.
Keep your blood flowing. You’re not only sitting for long periods when you fly internationally, but your feet remain flat on the ground. It’s not good for your blood circulation and can lead to swelling in your feet and ankles the day after you land. It’s not good for you to sit still. Make it a habit to walk around the plane. You’ll drink a lot of water, so you should walk down the aisles every time you use the toilet. Stretch your legs by lifting your knees and pulling your feet to your booty. You can walk around the terminal if you have enough time.
Keep your planes and airports clean. Before the introduction of Covid-19, airports and planes were only sometimes the cleanest. After boarding, wash your hands with soap and hand sanitiser. You can also disinfect your tray, screen and armrests. Avoid touching or picking your face, as it is already dehydrated from the air.

Flying with Dietary Restriction

The food on an aeroplane is never good, especially when you’re not flying in first class. If you must adhere to a special diet or have certain dietary restrictions, it’s best to prepare ahead. Pack your favourite healthy snacks to avoid the salty pretzels that you’ll find on board. Call the airline at least 24 hours prior to your flight if you need a particular meal, such as a vegan meal. Checking the meal requests before boarding at the gate is a good idea.

Staying Safe When Traveling Abroad

Travel is not risk-free, even though the world may not be as big, bad and scary as we believe.
Many precautions and considerations you must take when travelling abroad are similar to those you have at home. Some are. These are my top safety tips for travelling internationally.

Solo Male Travelling

Travelling alone is riskier by its nature than travelling with someone else. Is it much more dangerous? I don’t think so. You should still take extra precautions if you’re travelling alone.
As a precaution, I always tell someone where I am. If I’ve got a detailed itinerary, I will send my mother a list of the cities and accommodations I intend to stay in. Before I leave, I will let the front desk of my hotel know that I am going on a hike and have not made any new friends. I look confident. Even if you don’t believe me, I will make it look like I know where I am going. Before leaving the restaurant, shop or hotel, I may use my phone to check directions. It is important to remember that travelling alone is different from travelling alone. You’ll be able to do fun activities with other solo travellers, especially if you stay in hostels.

Solo Female Travelling

My loved ones often tell me it is dangerous to travel alone as a woman. Is it safe for a woman to travel anywhere? Even in my own country, I still have to rush back to my car at night when parking in public garages. I get uncomfortable comments on the street and could be sexually harassed or assaulted. Sexism is not limited to foreign countries. As a female solo traveller, I take more precautions than a male traveller. As a woman, I take extra precautions in my own country.
Here are some precautions I take when travelling alone as a female, along with the general precautions for solo travel.
Never, ever do I walk alone after dark. Ever, ever. Even if I feel safe (which I do most of the time), I have promised myself that I would not do it.
In certain places, I dress conservatively. As a Californian, I am used to shorts that are too short and shirts with low cuts being normal. These are acceptable in other countries, but they cause a lot more stress. I would rather avoid them. Instead of wearing tight short-shorts or dresses, I will wear longer, looser shorts. It’s not because I feel uncomfortable, but rather because it reduces unwanted male comments.
This is a trick that I’ve been using for a while. Bring a fake ring. This can be useful to ward off comments and even marriage proposals depending on where you are going. ).

Travelling as a Person of Colour

My family is afraid that, like the issue of solar travel for women, I will stand out as a black female. Racism is a problem everywhere. It’s not only abroad. As a solo black traveller, I take more precautions than a solo white traveller. As a black person, I take extra precautions in my own country.
As a person of colour, I always consider the opinions of black women or other black travellers in places I don’t know well or where I suspect, there are few black tourists or people. It would help if you did the same, regardless of race or ethnicity. Destinations may be used by one group and not another. It can be challenging since most voices in the travel industry are white men and then white women. This is why we need better representation. If you cannot find the information you are looking for online, consider emailing or messaging travel writers and influencers whose opinions you would like to know.

Travelling with Cash and Valued Items

Travelling is similar to the way you behave in your own country. When you withdraw cash or exchange it, be careful. Pickpockets are already attracted to tourists, so do not give them any more incentives.
Avoid carrying all of your cards and cash in the same place. You can take your cards and cash with you on your travels, but you should leave your passport, backup cards and unneeded money in the safe at your accommodation. If you lose or steal anything while exploring, you will have backups.

Bring Locks to Hostels

You should buy a lock if you plan to stay in hostels. Locks are usually available in hostels for a few dollars. It is much cheaper to buy once than pay every time.

Register at the Embassy of Your Country

It’s a step I have never taken before but will do in the future. I was “one” of the people stranded in a foreign land when countries began closing their borders in response to Covid-19. It was always a waste to register with my local embassy, but it turned out that this was the best way to stay updated on the situation. After missing important information, I registered. It’s because of you that I finally made it home!
When you travel abroad, you never know what might happen. It could be a pandemic or a weather disaster, or it could be local protests or political tensions. While travelling, staying up-to-date with the latest news from your destination is nearly impossible. Registering with your embassy will allow you to receive an email that contains important information. This program is known as the smart traveller enrollment program (STEP) for Americans. Other countries do the same.

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is not something I think “everyone” needs to “always” have. It’s worth thinking about for your first trip abroad. When I travelled to places I was familiar with, I never bought travel insurance. As I no longer have my parents’ insurance and travel mostly alone, I now purchase travel insurance. The cost is usually only a few dollars per day and covers many things, including lost luggage, medical care for illnesses or accidents, and theft. Consider it, especially if you plan to do any adrenaline-inducing activities or travel far.


Both domestic and international travel have unique benefits. Travelling within the United Kingdom is accessible, affordable and offers the chance to explore the country’s rich history. Travelling internationally exposes you to different cultures, languages and perspectives. The decision ultimately depends on personal preferences, travel goals, and budget.


Q1: Is domestic travel within the United Kingdom cheaper than international travel?

A1: Yes, domestic travel within the United Kingdom tends to be more affordable due to lower transportation and accommodation costs.

Q2: Do I need a passport for domestic travel within the United Kingdom?

A2: No, you do not need a passport for domestic travel within the United Kingdom. A valid form of identification is usually sufficient.

Q3: Is international travel safe?

A3: Safety conditions vary across different countries. Researching and staying informed about your chosen international travel destination’s safety and security is important.

Q4: Can I experience different cultures through domestic travel within the United Kingdom?

A4: Yes, domestic travel within the United Kingdom allows you to explore the diverse cultures and traditions within the country.

Q5: Which type of travel is better for a limited budget?

A5: Domestic travel within the United Kingdom is generally more budget-friendly due to lower transportation and accommodation costs than international travel.

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