How to Plan Your First International Trip

Many people have dreams to travel internationally, but don’t know how to make those dreams a reality. With so many options, it can be challenging to know where to start. We’ve outlined a list to help you not only plan your first international trip, but to ensure its memorable AND successful – without breaking the bank.


Choose your destination.

Depending on what you want to see and do, you have a literal world of options at your fingertips. Are you traveling for adventure, history or cuisine? Do you want to see castles, breweries or wildlife? Once you have an idea of which country you want to visit, it can be daunting to figure out where to go from there. There are many things you’ll need to research as well, including the best time to travel, cities to visit, which attractions you want to see (and if they require advance bookings), transportation (we’ll get to that next), accommodations (and their proximity to the places you want to visit) and much more. At Tenon Tours, our team has already done this research so we can help save you time while narrowing down the specifics of your trip. Still deciding on where to go? Check out our free travel guides.


Consider who will be traveling and for how long.

Once you’ve narrowed down your destination, it’s time to figure out the number of travelers in your party and how many days and nights you want to spend traveling. Remember that the more places you want to see, the more time you’ll need. It’s easy to want to pack as much as you can into an international trip, but you also want to give yourself time to enjoy each place you visit and rest in between travels to avoid burnout.


Decide how you want to travel.

When it comes to customized vacations, you decide everything including how you travel. Are you traveling with family, your partner or friends? Maybe you want to travel with a group from work or even your gym, or maybe you’d prefer to travel alone. There are also various trip types you can take, from renting a car and touring on your own to hiring a private chauffeur to taking buses with other like-minded travelers. Can’t decide? You can choose to do all three!


Determine your budget.

We’ve already put together a comprehensive guide to help you budget your vacation, so we won’t go into too much detail here. Traveling can be expensive, especially if you don’t set a budget, as it can be easy to get off track. Keep in mind that you’ll need to account for airfare, accommodations and trip type. If you choose to plan with Tenon, we’ll do our best to work within your budget. Plus, we lock all prices in USD – so you don’t need to worry about losing money to exchange rates or fluctuation!


Get your travel documents in order.

This includes the big ones such as your passport, driver’s license, visa and travel credit cards but also ones you may not think of, like restaurant reservations and tickets to the attractions you booked in advance. Each country has different requirements for travel visas, so be sure to check to make sure that you are squared away well before your departure date. If you plan your trip with Tenon Tours, all your documents will be centralized in one location via our mobile app, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing anything.


Book your accommodations.

Next, you’ll want to figure out where you’re staying. There are plenty of options out there, from hotels to castles to bed and breakfasts to Airbnb. You can choose what is best for you and your travel partners. Some things you may want to consider are the number of rooms, bed configuration, location of accommodations, amenities included and more. Many European accommodations are different than what we expect here in America, so always do your research. Another solution is to let Tenon Tours find and book your accommodations for you.


Book your flights.

This can be one of the most time consuming steps to planning your trip! Be sure to check and double check all flights — and remember that if you find airfare that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many times, low airfares mean more connections (longer flight time, less time enjoying your vacation) and also will have stricter luggage requirements. You definitely don’t want to show up to the airport to find out that you can’t have a carry-on! For additional information on booking your international flights, we’ve written a more detailed post here.


Plan your itinerary.

Finally, the fun part of planning is here! By now, you probably have a good idea of what you want to do while on your vacation. This is when you need to look into tours and attractions as well as their times, locations, prices, etc. You’ll need to take into consideration which each person in your group wants to see and do, as well as coordinate times for transportation and other activities. This is your time to have fun with itinerary planning, but don’t forget to do your research! Many tours will book out months in advance, so depending on how early you start planning, you may or may not get into the attractions of your choice. Of course, when working with a tour operator like Tenon Tours, you can simply tell us what you want to do and we’ll find and book everything for you.


Purchase travel insurance.

Travel insurance: Is it right for you? Many travelers are on the fence when it comes to purchasing travel insurance. Traveling can be a big expense, so it’s wise to ensure that you’re covered for worst-case scenarios. That being said, this is a decision you’ll ultimately have to make for yourself. If you want to learn more about the cost and benefits, you can download our free ultimate guide to travel insurance.


Pack your bags and enjoy your vacation.

Pack your bags, it’s time to travel! Once your trip is confirmed, we’ll send you a handy international packing guide with a destination-specific checklist to ensure you don’t leave anything behind. But once your bags are packed, you’ve done it! The planning process is over, and now you can sit back, relax and enjoy your vacation.


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