Travel: The Ultimate Guide To Planning Your First International Trip

First time travellor. Image from

Travelling to a foreign country can give any sane person the jitters and can be even more stressful for somebody who has never left their country before. What if I get sick? What if it is not what I anticipated? What am I required to know? As humans we like familiarity. It gives us a sense of security, a sense that everything will be okay. To avoid having doubts about your trip to another country, whether alone or with friends or family here are some pointers.


First time travellor. Image from
First time traveller. Image from


1. Research about the country you intend to visit

There are a lot of things one needs to know about a country before they visit a country. What their culture is, what language they speak in, hotels and restaurants, side on which they drive their cars and so on. The culture of a country is very important because the dressings and mannerisms that are considered normal in your home country may be frowned upon. For example, wearing short dresses and skirts in an Islamic state will be highly frowned upon.

On the other hand when coming from an Islamic state/country and travelling to some of the Caribbean islands you may find their culture offensive because they celebrate their bodies and you may think of them to be scantily dressed.

Knowing which side they drive their cars on also gives you a change of perception about how you will walk on the street or how you will drive the car you hire. Look up places to visit as a tourist and have them written down because some of them do not have English names and will be hard to remember.

2. Make sure you get all the vaccinations

Some countries require that people coming in have gotten some necessary vaccinations done. The main vaccinations needed are yellow fever, hepatitis B and typhoid. Just research and find whether you need to be vaccinated and how many weeks before your travel.

3. Register with your embassy

This will make it easier to find you and for the embassy to account for the number of people in a certain country in case of a national/natural disaster. They will be able to get you back home safely.

4. Look up the conversion rate of money

The conversion rate of money keeps on changing and your currency might be really weak compared to the currency of the country you wish to travel. Check to make sure that you have carried enough cash to last you the whole trip and some more. Think about getting a travel or multicurrency card – this could help you out a lot.

5. Check the country’s entrance/exit fees

Most countries have an entrance fee that is paid before you are allowed into the country. For example, to get a single entry visa to Kenya you will pay 50$ but 100$ for the East African Visa that will allow you to travel between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

6. Call your bank

To avoid any unnecessary inconveniences, call your bank and notify them that you will be travelling. This will prevent them from cancelling your credit or debit card because of fraud activity.

7. Learn a few words of the local dialect

This is common courtesy and will also put you in good faith with the locals. Most of the time the huge number of people who speak English are found in the cities, if you leave the city then there will be a lot of problems if you cannot ask for an English speaking person in a group of people. The more you try, the less obnoxious you look and the friendlier they will get. You do not need to be fluent, just enough to get by.

Losing your passport is the worst thing ever when travelling. Image from

8. Make copies of your passports and other travel documents

This is because there is a possibility of losing your passport or having it stolen. You will need to prove you are a citizen of a certain country and this will easily be done if you have scans and copies with you or online where you can easily print them. Make sure you renew your passport in time so that its also easy to get your visas in time. Many countries will not give you a visa if your passport has less than six months left on it. Speaking of passports, the current Kenyan passports become obsolete in August next year. If you haven’t already started the process, you need to start thinking about getting the new epassport – Here’s What You Need To Know About Applying For The Kenyan ePassport

9. Pack essential items in your carry on

Carry at least a pair of clothes and other necessary items that will get you by the next day just in case your luggage is rerouted to another country or lost. 5 Things You Should Have In Your Carry-On Bag

10. Have hard cash with you

Most developed countries will have most of their stores and public places fitted with credit card machines and hence you can swipe to pay for your items. Have money with you just in case the country you are travelling to does not have this. You will find some stores that need you to pay cash. You may need to buy something on the street. It just makes your travel less stressful. Here are 9 ways to save money on your next holiday

11. Be extra vigilant

Most of the conmen are known to be very social beings. They will offer to carry your luggage or help you retrieve money from the ATM. You better break your back with your luggage than give a random person. Not all people are good like in your country and if your people are not good, the same vigilance should be copied here. Make sure you are not walking alone in dark alleyways or very late at night. Beware of your surroundings because pickpockets are everywhere. Ladies here are additional tips for you – Solo Tripping: Things To Keep In Mind While Travelling Alone As A Woman

12. Find good deals

You may want to find tour and travel companies’ websites to see the deals they have and make sure to make use of them. The different hotels also have deals, the stores actually many places will have deals if you look well enough. Know how to sell a good bargain especially if you look like a tourist because people will hike prices for you because you are not from around there.

All in all make sure you enjoy the trip and make sure you see all the popular monuments, museums and parks. Also, check off things in your bucket list or add others onto it to do when you visit a second time.

13. Health check

Carry a little first aid kit and all your prescription medication with you. You might find that they do not supply the medicine you use in that country. You might hurt yourself and be in need of first aid. Note down all emergency numbers just in case something more serious happens which cannot be treated by a first aid kit or you need a drive to the hospital. Also, make sure you have travel insurance – Health: Things to consider before you travel

Here is also additional information that may help you – How to pack for your trip – 17 Common Packing Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Holiday, photography -things you need to consider – 18 Tips For Taking Great Holiday Photos and also in case of motion sickness these tips will help you out – Dealing with motion sickness. If you are travelling with children, this article will really help you out – 5 tips for parents travelling with children. Finally, if you are planning to travel while pregnant this list is for you – 14 Tips For Travelling While Pregnant

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Rachael is a writer, book reader, TV series fanatic, cat person and a sarcastic friend. She writes because she likes to tell stories and give her views on most things. She also runs her own blog at