If you are a first-time travel or an infrequent traveler, here is my list of 4 essentials to consider before international travel. This list has been compiled based on personal experience and you’ll read why I feel the need to prioritize these things, and following these through will help you have a better travel experience. 

Traveling is a fun experience overall, you learn, explore and find the freedom to be yourself. And the smoother your trip is the better it is for you. There may be some here who will find it thrilling to plan as you go, but the others who like me wish to travel to relax and unwind, making sure that things remain smooth and in control. I micro-plan things beforehand but keep my mind open to changes in plans. So in short, I am prepared for the worst but expect nothing less than the best.

So anytime you plan to travel give a quick think about these 4 things and line them up as soon as you can, and I’ll tell you why so read on. 

  1. Passport

That is the first and most important thing you need to travel internationally, so always make sure that you have a valid passport. Most countries require a validity of 6 months from the travel dates so if you are planning to travel within the next 6 months best you get your passport renewed. You can catch my passport renewal story here and why it is so high on my list of essentials. 

  1. Visa

You will need a valid visa to travel to a country internationally unless you are blessed with one of those amazing passports that let you travel to many countries visa-free. Nevertheless, it is always best to find out if you need to apply for a visa before traveling, or you can get a visa on arrival or you are exempted to travel to a certain country visa-free. 

It is best to do this bit of research much before your intended travel dates. The Visa process takes time so the sooner you get your visa processed the better. Visas too usually come with a validity of 6 months so after getting your visa you can travel within the next six months.

  1. Airline tickets

Like the above items, this too needs to be done beforehand, and if you’re wondering why this? Well, the earlier you book your tickets the cheaper you’ll get them for. And I’m going to share two examples here with you. 1. I was traveling to Islamabad from Karachi and knew of my dates so I booked my ticket 2 months in advance, but my friend who was traveling with me, didn’t book her ticket 1 week before the traveling date, although the airline was giving a 15% discount due to eid, she still paid more than what I paid 2 months ago compared to her price of the ticket after the 15% discount. 2. When we were traveling to Turkey we booked our flight tickets before we even applied for the visa, our tickets again were booked 1 month before our intended travel date. And we got the deal of a lifetime a return air ticket on the Turkish Airline for only PKR 50,000. All of this was because we planned and booked tickets in advance. 

  1. Hotel booking 

A lot of people will not agree with this, and that is ok, but, for me, this is a major item of concern that I like to get out of the way as soon as possible. So I do a lot of research before booking a place to stay but I do it before I reach the new city to ensure that once I’m in a new place I do not have to worry about a roof over my head. 

People may be reluctant to book the hotel before seeing it and experiencing it but for me, my research is so extensive I am always sure of the place book for the whole trip beforehand because nothing can be more frightening than arriving in a city in the middle of the night and not having a place to stay. 

The best way to travel is when you are prepared for the worst and hoping for the best to happen, all things that can go wrong or may stop you from traveling or enjoying your trip, or leaving your pockets considerably lighter are here The 4 Essentials that you need to work on much in advance to your trip. I find, the sooner I work on this the easier and more relaxing the trip is going to be for me. But I also have a list of other things can you do to curb anxiety

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Written by

Asma Siddiqui

The journey is what matters, not the destination!

I'm a food fanatic, a wishful traveler, a voracious bookworm, a compulsive cat-petter, and the silliest adult in disguise. On good days, I'm outside exploring the world. On better days, I'm inside reading books and sipping on a hot beverage that looks like chai or coffee. And on the remaining days, I write about my escapades.

I'm on my way to where I need to be, loving what I love to do and being awesome all the way.