When I meet with a new client for the first time and they’re thinking about an international vacation there are questions that immediately come to mind. It is a collaborative and creative culling process. I’ve been a travel consultant for a long time so this practice is nearly second nature—for me.
For those folks who don’t cross the border that often here’s a ‘quick & dirty’ list to get those travel juices flowing.
- Where to go and when? Whether it’s a beach vacation for R&R, a vibrant city experience or exploration through the countryside consider the type of trip and what time of the year to visit. Off season generally provides good pricing and fewer tourists however the trade-off might be less predictable weather.
- Do self-research about the destination. What are your priorities and preferences? Is it culture and history, food and wine, family fun or an amazing beach?
- Figure out a trip budget.
- Is your passport valid for six months beyond the arrival travel date? Is a visa required? Any vaccines or recommended medications?
- Book your trip!
- Purchase travel insurance- we can assist you with this.
- Particulars and technicalities: how will you stay in touch while traveling? Do you need foreign currency and what’s the exchange rate? Figure the cost of local expenses (i.e. meals, museum entrance tickets, public transportation, etc.). Will an adapter be required? Learn something about the language—a few friendly phrases, at least. What are the tipping guidelines? What is (and not) culturally acceptable in the country you’re visiting? A guidebook like Lonely Planet is a terrific resource.
- Have you packed?
- Monitor the flight schedule before departure and prior to return.
- Depending upon the type of trip and location, pop into a local tourist office for tidbits about the area. Eat the first meal or two in a local restaurant to find out what’s going on during your visit and what there is to see and do (beyond the guidebooks).
- While traveling, try to blend in by dressing appropriately for the area. In more tenuous destinations, watch the news or read the newspaper during your stay in order to be aware of what’s going on around you. Keep your personal belongs on you and secure.
- Most importantly, have fun!
–Rochelle, December, 2013