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11 Things to Remember When Planning Your Trip Abroad


11 Things to Remember When Planning Your Trip Abroad

Planning your first trip abroad, huh? Congratulations! This is going to be one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself. There is a lot of planning that goes into a trip like this. It can be overwhelming, exhausting, frustrating, exciting, and spectacular all at the same time. I have another post launching next week about planning the details of the trip. For my first post in this series, I wanted to write about the smaller things. These are the things that you don’t always necessarily remember to check.

This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase through my link, I may make a small commision at no cost to you. Thank you for your support and enjoy your trip!

Check and see if your bank or credit card offers travel insurance

Travel insurance is something that people are split on, I feel. I think it’s important to have, just incase of an emergency, lost luggage, or delayed/cancelled flights. Trent and I bank with USAA and use the Chase Saphirre Reserve card to book all of our travel with. Both offer great travel insurance, so we didn’t have to pay extra for it.

If your bank or credit card company doesn’t offer travel insurance, World Nomads is the insurance company all the big travel bloggers recommend. I haven’t personally used them, so I really can’t tell you about an experience with them. I did price my trip with them out of curiousity though. For two weeks, five countries, and two travelers, it ended up totaling about $157.

While that might seem a little pricey and unnecessary, the coverage is phenomenal. I think travel insurance is important, especially with Trent’s job. I would rather pay $157 than be out $4,000 because something came up and we couldn’t go anymore. Just think of it as a mandatory expense, like renewing your passport!

Do you need a Visa or will a passport do just fine? What about vaccinations?

Most of the countries in Europe will be just fine with you using your passport, unless you are traveling for more than 90 days. If you plan to be abroad that long, research the requirements for each country. Some require you apply for a Visa at 90 days, others at 180 days.

There are countries that do require you to have certain shots before entering their countries. Normally this does not apply to your bigger and more popular countries. This is more for third-world countries. It’s just something to be aware of.

Remember to document everything

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to remembering things, I like to have every detail documented. While in Morocco, I bought a leather journal that I wrote in every single night on the trip. I just explained what we did, where we ate and stayed, what the weather was like, and any memorable experiences. When I’m old and gray, I know I’ll appreciate having that to look back on.

What’s the weather like?

This is something to watch! For us, half of our trip was going to be in the 30’s and the other half was in the 70’s! The weather report drastically changed on us probably four different times. If you have an idea of what your weather is looking like, it makes it much easier to get your packing list figured out.

Be sure to make copies of your itineraries and important papers

Make sure that at least one person has a copy of your itineraries, numbers and addresses of where you can be found, birth certificates, drivers license, passport and any other important papers. This way if an emergency happens or your passport is stolen, it is much easier than being completely stuck with nothing to go off of.

Also, if you’re worried about the places you’re going, register your trip with the US Embassy! That way you have easy access to contact anyone in an emergency, they know what’s going on, and it’s easier to get the help you need.

Did you stop your mail?

It’s so easy! Just go to the USPS website and “hold mail”. They’ll ask you for the dates you’ll be gone and if you want to pick it up or have them drop it off the final day of the hold. One less thing to worry about!

Less is more when packing

Trent and I spent two weeks in five countries and we each brought what we could fit in a backpack. When Trent told me that the only way we’re doing this trip is if we bring only a backpack, I thought he was crazy! He was actually a genius. I don’t know if I’ll ever travel with a suitcase again!

I know you do the same thing! You pack your bag with 15 outfit choices for each day and 100 pairs of underwear, just incase! Because you’ve never needed 100 pairs of underwear, but all of a sudden you’re going to start wetting yourself multiple times a day.

Regardless, we successfully managed to travel with the backpacks and I’m glad we did! It was so cold, we ended up wearing the same two outfits for the first week! The other 13 outfits per day would have been a waste of space!

I refused to buy a winter coat because we live in south Georgia. It never falls below 65 here. Instead, I wore this pullover from Express that I got in both maroon and black. Unfortuantely they are all sold out, but I linked a similar pullover here! I personally don’t own this one, but it has great reviews and you can get an extra 20% off when you sign up for their emails!


Don’t forget about footwear! Supportive footwear is a must. I couldn’t walk after a few days in those boots. They were well broken-in, so I really don’t know what happened. I had HORRIBLE blisters! I never cared about it when people said “you need comfortable shoes”…fashion does not come before comfort when you are traveling! It isn’t worth it no matter how Instagram-worthy the picture may be!

Research proper manners and customs of the countries you’re headed to

This one we focused on mainly in Morocco. Being a Muslim country, we wanted to be respectful of their culture. For example, I learned it was respectful to wear looser clothing. Men would make comments and stare down ladies in tighter clothing. Marrakesh is very touristy, so it isn’t as big of a deal there, but in the smaller cities it definitely is.

Don’t forget to learn the basic words for “hello”, “thank you”, “do you speak English?”, etc. Also do your research on their views of tipping and greeting someone.

For example, in Morocco it’s rude to shake someone’s hand with your left hand. Why? Because people in Morocco use their left hand to do things such as clean their bottoms after using the restroom. This is true. it was rare to find a bathroom with toilet paper, toilets that flushed, or even properly running water. I chose to wait until I found a working restroom instead of using my hand.

Have everything ready to go beforehand to avoid extra costs

I know this seems like an obvious one. It is. It’s also really tempting though to fly across the world and not have any hotels booked. Just wander and see where you end up…sounds dreamy, huh? While that sounds great and exciting, it leaves you with a lack of a schedule and a possibly very expensive hotel bill.

We don’t like hostels, they’re just not our style. We used Airbnb for the first time and LOVED it! It was wonderful having an actual apartment to relax in, instead of a hotel room. While the hotels we stayed in were nice, staying in Airbnbs made the experience more authentic.

Sign up here for $40 off your first Airbnb stay $75 or more!

Don’t forget your excursions! The price can either drop real low or skyrocket if you wait to book. Do you research and watch to see what the prices do. It’s really just better to book before you head overseas though. A lot of times you get a much better deal booking early anyways!

RyanAir had a fee that was so stupid (I’m just bitter). If you failed to check-in two hours before your flight, you had to pay a $60+ fee. It was ridiculous! Guess who learned that mistake the hard way… *eye-roll emoji* When you’re running around so much, sometimes things slip your mind! Learn from my mistake and mark check-in times in your calendar.

Make sure you have rest days scheduled for your trip

It is so tempting to jam pack your trip with so many exciting adventures. Unfortunately, we ended up doing that by accident. For 12 out of 15 days we spent at least part of the day in cars, trains, or planes. We were constantly on the move and it was exhausting! Exciting, but exhausting.

I don’t regret filling the trip up with so many adventures. We saw so many beautiful things and the experiences are ones I’ll never forget! I do wish we would’ve had more time to sit down and enjoy the view though.

Don’t forget to refill any prescriptions or to track your cycle ahead of time

I didn’t forget to refill my own personal pharmacy, but I didn’t even think to track my cycle. Men, I apologize in advance. Ladies, I take the 3 month birth control packs for my endometriosis. I didn’t even consider the fact that I was lined up to start my period while we were in the Sahara Desert. Pack accordingly.

Mirabellgarten Salzburg, Austria

I hope you have a blast on your trip abroad! Where are you planning on going? Let me know below in the comments. Please email me if you have any questions about planning your trip! I am constantly doing research and planning our future trips. I’d love to help you out!


This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase through my link, I may make a small commision at no cost to you. Thank you for your support and enjoy your trip!

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(3) Comments

  1. Great tips! Will keep in mind for coming vaccation to Switzerland.

    1. sarahbanwart says:

      Switzerland!? How fun!! I hope that you’re able to make your savings goal in time for the trip!

  2. Wow, Fantastic tips !!! This is the most complete guide for traveling tips. Thanks

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