Wanderlust is not something you’re born with, it’s something you discover inside yourself. Many people stumble upon it at an early age, but others are never really given the opportunity to find it. However, you never know when an opportunity is going to present itself. If you have never considered international travel before, there are few things you should have ready in case you’re looking to be whisked away on an international adventure.
First things first, get your passport! I know you’ve never needed one on your yearly vacation to Myrtle Beach, but it’s part of the reason you’ve only ever been to Myrtle Beach. It’s a pretty simple process, but it takes time so get it sooner rather than later. Check this site to see your nearest application acceptance facility. It’s likely going to be a post office, library, or other municipal building. Expect it to cost around $150, and for it to take 4-6 weeks. For an additional fee, you can get a passport card that will get you in and out Canada and Mexico, but you might as well just use your passport for that.
This next one is becoming less and less necessary with the global acceptance of USB charging, but a power outlet adapter will ensure you can juice up your phone so you can use Google Maps when you get lost. For those spending a lot of time on your devices on planes, trains, and automobiles, it never hurts to supplement that with a small battery pack just in case. If you know which type of converter you will need, you can save space with a specific type, but a universal adapter will keep you covered.
It’s becoming easier and easier to buy and sell things internationally, but the most efficient way is with plastic. Paying in cash is the only way to know for sure that your payment is going to be accepted anywhere, but exchanging cash into foreign currencies is a big hassle, especially if you are hitting up several different countries in a short period of time. Finding a good travel card is an easy convenient way to go. There a lot of options out there, but look for a few key options like no international transaction fees and the chip feature (No one offers chip & PIN in the states… yet). Chase Sapphire Preferred is our travel card of choice and we frequently use our travel points to book our next flights.
You probably have a backpack that you can use, but do you have one that you love? I am extremely particular about my packs because I know that I’m going to spend a good deal of time carrying it around. Suitcases are fine, but I despise the thought of rolling it around in public. With carry on rules constantly changing, you will want to find something that will fit across multiple airlines. Be sure to look before you book, because airlines like WOW Air and Ryan Air will charge you on weight, not necessarily size.
You aren’t always going to know where you want to go next, but it never hurts to do some reading ahead of time. Rick Steves and Lonely Planet are two high recommended guide book companies. Rick Steves primarily focuses on European travel, but he knows his stuff. Keep an eye out on Lonely Planet’s social media accounts as they often give away digital copies of their popular titles, giving you the perfect reading material on your way to your destination!
Aside from the passport, the only thing you truly need is a desire to learn and experience new things. There is no education like exploration.