Traveling internationally may be one of the best things you ever do. You can check the world’s greatest sights off your bucket list by seeing the Taj Mahal in 3D, touching Japan’s renowned cherry blossoms, and smelling the distinct aroma of freshly baked French croissants. These things are wonderful, but the true value of travel lies in its ability to fundamentally transform your understanding of the world, other people, and probably most importantly, yourself. By getting away from your routine and engaging in new activities in unfamiliar places, you can release old habits and find the empowerment needed to broaden your horizons and move in new directions.
Getting there is easier said than done. It can be overwhelming to worry about visas, buying costly plane tickets, and wondering how you’ll keep in touch with those back at home. It doesn’t have to be stressful. Here’s everything you need to know before you embark on your great adventure.
1. Passport and visa validity
Before you make any solid travel plans pull your passport out of the file cabinet and make sure it isn’t about to expire. Generally speaking, you’ll want your passport to be valid for at least six months after you enter a foreign country. Once you have your passport in order, do some research on travel visas. One of the most costly mistakes you can make is arriving at an international airport without the proper visa. Most people expect some sort of alert to come up when buying plane tickets, but the truth is you can book tickets to Vietnam — which requires you to obtain a visa in advance — without any mention of a necessary visa. Some countries, like Vietnam, expect you to apply for a visa in your home country months in advance, others require you to buy a visa on arrival, and others require nothing at all. Spend five minutes on the U.S. Department of State’s website and you’ll find everything you need to know.