A US passport held in front of a plane at the airport

Things to Research Before Traveling Internationally

Going on an international trip is such an exciting adventure. You’re going to see all kinds of new places, try lots of delicious new foods, and learn a lot about the history of an area. While you're about to embark on an incredible new adventure, there are some things to do a little Googling on beforehand.

Here are things to research before traveling internationally

Passport & Visa Requirements

The very first thing you should do, even before booking any travel or accommodations, is research what the passport and visa requirements are for the country you’re interested in traveling to. Some countries require you to apply for a visa to enter the country, while others let you travel

Requirements for driving in the country you’re visiting

If you’re thinking about renting a car where you’re traveling to, make sure you know whether or not your driver’s license will work in that country. You may need to apply for an international drivers license, while some countries may accept your existing license for a certain period of time.

Options for getting around town

You’ll want to make sure you figure out how you’ll be getting around the new town you’re visiting. If easily being able to walk to places is a priority for you, it may change where you book a place to stay. If you’re okay with utilizing public transportation, you may be able to save by staying a little further away from the center of the town. Plus doing your research early can help you figure out getting whatever is needed to board public transportation as well as knowing to get it. This can save you from having to figure out transportation at the time you need it, which is especially helpful if you’re in a time crunch.

When I got to my B&B in Malta, I found out there was a bus pass I could use to get around the island. Since I didn’t have internet on my phone, I couldn’t rely on using the app, so I needed to buy a physical pass. Come to find out, I could have gotten it at the airport had I looked it up beforehand. There was also the option to get one at the Valletta bus station, so that’s what I did instead since I was planning to head there anyways, so I just paid cash to get on that time.

Your cell phone coverage

It’s important – especially for solo travelers – to know whether or not you will be able to use your phone while you’re traveling internationally. Most major phone carriers have international coverage included for a list of countries, or they international plans you can opt into. I have an AT&T plan that included coverage for Mexico and Puerto Rico, but did not cover my European destinations. In that case, I had a few options for coverage through AT&T – I could have signed up for a $100 month plan or I could have use international day passes for $10 per day, for a max charge of 10 days. After 10 days, you can keep using day passes, but you won’t be charged for an additional passes.

Other options include buying a local Sim card or purchasing an eSim card from a reputable company like Airlo. I tried this option in Germany, and it was incredibly easy to buy, install, use, and then remove when I was done. I purchased 10GB of data to use over 30 days in Germany only.


What type of outlets are used

Different parts of the world use different types of outlets, so to plug in any devices you bring with you, you may need a converter. It’s a good idea to check to see types of outlets are used in the country you’re planning to travel to so you can bring converters with you versus buying them when you’re there. You can find them much cheaper on Amazon than in an airport store.

In addition, some countries that use different types of outlets also use lower voltages. Because of this, I no longer pack my nice hair dryer. I took it to Ireland with me, and it started to smell like it was going to light on fire. So now I purchased a cheaper (and more compact) one to travel with me so that if something does happen to it because of using a converter, that it’s not one I care about.

Things to Do

This one’s a given, but you should check out what there is to do in an area before traveling to that destination. You don’t have to – you can wing it – but you’ll have a much better time if you know what there is to do and have some ideas and options. And you won’t do what I did and totally miss going to the Sistine Chapel while you were in Rome because you didn’t do enough research to maximize your time there.

To research things to do, I start by Googling the top things to do in [insert city name]. One thing I like to do is read through some of the blogs that have been put together with itineraries, tips, and the can’t miss spot. My Google search also leads me to something I do for every place I go to – which is check out Trip Advisor’s top 15 things to do in an area. This list starts with the most highly rated things to do, but you can expand it to all things to do, so I browse through that to pick and choose what to add to my list of things I want to do.

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Take a little time before your trip to research each of these things, and you're sure to have a smooth, enjoyable experience.

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