Traveling Internationally For The First Time? Here’s Your Checklist

Traveling may be a passion for some but the undebatable fact is that it is essential for mental and emotional health. What we see around us is the reality of our vicinity only, but what we observe ‘around the world’ bestows us with variation and individuality. This observation enhances the perception and teaches the lesson of acceptance among people. The values it offers are definitely more than any curriculum’s potential, especially when you’re traveling internationally for the first time.

Puerto rico

The experience of traveling becomes more fulfilling once you prepare yourself well before your journey — and when the destination is located out of the country, the “alien” ambiance will certainly sort out.

If you’re traveling to another country for the first time, here’s our checklist to prepare in advance.

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Traveling Internationally For The First Time Checklist

Complete your Visa requirements

You can not travel to another country without fulfilling their visa requirements. No matter how time-consuming it may be completing the visa procedure, you clearly have to do it. As soon as you pick a country, put effort into knowing its visa conditions — and make it a priority!

Punta Cana airport

Generally, visa rules have a tendency to keep changing and upgrading, hence some groundwork is required for staying updated. And once you get enough from your research, apply for a visa as early as you can. A delayed application for a visa could potentially turn out to be a messy and pricey event for you.

“Double safe” your passport

Wait… what do you mean by double safety? Do we have to make a copy of it?

Yes, please do it.

airport board
airport flight information

Always print two copies of your passport for ensuring an escape from any uncertainty. And along with it, keep your passport clean and updated.

If you feel inclined, and plan to travel frequently, make sure to add more pages to your passport, and if you know the expiration date is looming, get a new passport as early as you can. This will prevent you from getting under pressure from passport delays.

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Remember: never forget to carry more than your passport for identification purposes. Every country has different requirements for unforeseen circumstances, so you definitely want to make sure you “double safe.”

Check the travel advisories

Covid has not only impacted countries on a global scale, it has also warped the travel thread connecting the world. New rules regarding safety and medical evidence have been introduced and termed mandatory for traveling. Do not take it lightly. As an example, the world’s number one tennis player was deported due to lack of Covid responsibility — don’t be that person! Thankfully, most countries have relaxed all the Covid rules, but still, always check travel advisories anyway, especially if you’re traveling internationally for the first time.

Mask on at Laguardia
Mask on at Laguardia Airport in NYC

From vaccinations to medical certificates, know all the essentials to have a seamless journey.

Take an internet trip before the actual one

Try to understand the destination before you travel there. Research about their environment, forthcoming weather events, specials events, holidays, national festivals, markets, and other matters. Get a brief about the location’s culture, customs, and maybe even learn some basic sentences in their local language.

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Pack your essentials

We all have different needs, thus unique essentials when packing. However, your destination may be so foreign, try to grab all your necessary essentials before arriving. According to your health requirements, prepare a list and pack all your medications (make this a priority).

Carry your body care essentials too. Whatever the weather of foreign land is expected to subtract from you, make sure to carry your additions. Whether it is a moisturizer, sunscreen, hair packs, face oils, or some other things, address your needs here.

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Travel with your staple food and snacks

Nothing is more important than food. And that’s a winning point in any argument for sure.

You surely don’t wanna fall off from the energy while exploring and sightseeing, so packing healthy snacks can get you far. The question is not about the availability of food but the problem is in concern with your habitual diet. And if you are someone with weak metabolism and food homesickness, dare not to forget your buffet while packing your luggage — hey, I always pack chips and bananas!

Plan your budget, holistically

Take a paper and a pen, and list it all without a miss.

Calculate your preliminary expenses at first. And gradually move to the expected monetary requirements during the trip. Include everything. Make sure to know your country’s currency value in comparison to theirs and also the exchange rates for currency swaps.

airlines offering covid-19 test
Plan accordingly.

There are still some countries functioning with a dearth of digitalization, these countries will fail to facilitate you with digital payment options. So carry more cash with you. Notify your bank and clear your card bills before your trip.

“Harsh truth is that this world will not function without money”. So, never forget that.

Secure yourself and your associates

No matter how wonderful it seems to travel around but the experience can turn equally opposite as well. You never know all about the foreign land. After all, no society is a utopian world. There may be numerous antisocial elements that could prove to be a potential threat to you and your valuable assets. Make sure your stuff is covered on your trip with a solid insurance policy that not only gives you assurance but also clarity. Through it, guard yourself against major sources of danger and enrich yourself with all the beautiful travel experiences.


Never stop exploring, they say. Indeed they are right, especially if you’re traveling internationally for the first time.

Fort Tilden Beach
Fort Tilden NY Beach

Travel the world, see it closely. Do it as much as you can and as often as you can. But what will never become irrelevant in your to-do list will be the pre estimates regarding the trip and plotting your plan accordingly. Never miss that. After all, we all want a smooth ride when traveling to a country for the first time.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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