Updated December 2023

Preparing for international travel can be a lot…

Buying plane tickets, finding someone to water your plants, alerting your bank of future foreign transactions, and the list goes on!

Visiting a different part of the world should be fun and exciting.

The last thing you want is to be so stressed out that you don’t enjoy it.

You already have a lot on your plate, so this post will take away the stress that comes with traveling out of the country.

Here are six essential international travel tips that you should start doing if you haven’t already!

**Be sure to read until the very end to learn my ultimate international travel hack and to get an amazing discount on lodging!

***Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the product or service, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Click here to learn more.

woman standing in front of Wat Chaiwatthanaram Temple inThailand

1. Get any needed vaccinations

Without a doubt, this is one of the most important tips you should take into consideration.

When you know you’ll be traveling abroad, make a habit of checking out the CDC and search the country you’ll be visiting.

There may be required or recommended vaccinations that you’ll need to get beforehand.

screenshot of browser page with required and recommended Ireland vaccines from the cdc.gov.

Not getting vaccinated could sometimes mean life or death when traveling to a country (especially a developing country) where diseases may not be that common in the U.S.

Ideally, you’d want to get your vaccines a month before you depart.

This way they will have enough time to start working within your body.

2. Learn the country’s customs

I know that I shouldn’t wear my shoes inside someone’s home in Japan.

And also that I shouldn’t wear a halter top in Saudi Arabia.

I would have never known these things had I not taken the time to learn about those countries’ customs.

Don’t be “that person” who looks out of place in a foreign country. All it takes is a little research beforehand.

girl lost in a maze

But also, don’t feel bad that you maybe didn’t think to do this.

If you’re new to traveling, and especially if you’ve never traveled abroad before, the thought to research a country’s customs may not have crossed your mind.

Being the nerd that I am, I have always been interested in learning about cultures that are different from my own.

I remember that when I stumbled across things like taking off my shoes in Japanese homes, I would think, “Hmmm, let me remember to do that when I go there.”

Spacious and sunny Japanese home with tatami floors

It’s fun to learn how people on the other side of the world from you live.

And it also shows that you care enough to take the time to understand them. 

By the same token, you’d want someone to learn your customs if they were visiting from another country.

3. Dress according to the weather

Always remember to check what the weather will be like during your international trip. 

Some countries may be hot during the day, and then by night, you’re reaching for your thickest coat.

Nothing is worse than having to make a run to store to buy more clothes, so make sure you pack accordingly. 

smiling woman laying on a towel at the beach

I’d recommend traveling with the following:

– A few light pieces, like tanks or short sleeve shirts

– Clothes that can easily be layered and restyled

– A couple of warmer options, like a sweater or cardigan

If packing for vacation stresses you out, click here to get my Packing Guide Checklist!

Related Post: The Ultimate Packing Guide for Weekend Travel

4. Learn key language phrases

Now, I’m not saying to go out and buy Rosetta Stone (unless you want to, of course), but learning a few things in your foreign country’s language is a major key!

gif with DJ Khaled and Chance the Rapper

Don’t worry about trying to pronounce everything 100% correctly or saying it in the right accent, because the locals will appreciate it nonetheless.

Ok, maybe not the French, but that’s a story for another day…

To make your travel experience less stressful, below are some key phrases you should learn in your country’s language by the time you arrive.


How are you?


Thank you

I’m allergic to _____.

How much does it cost?

Where is the bathroom?

Excuse me, how do I to get to _____?

*Unless you’re going to a touristy or well-populated area, don’t tell the person the specific address you’re looking for; some people are crazy!

Where is _____?

*The nearest hospital/doctor/pharmacy/store, etc.

Do you speak English?

*I only try to use this one if it’s urgent and I need answers quickly or if the other person does not understand me.


*Hopefully, you won’t have to use this one!

two women talking on a subway and looking down at a cell phone

Of course, you may not need all of these phrases (or you may need more).

And sometimes you’ll just have to handle language barriers as they come up. 

I’d recommend having Google Translate on your phone. Here are links where you can download the app: Apple and Android.

Related Post: Great Phrases to Learn for Your Next Trip Abroad

5. Research the area you’ll be staying

Your safety is always number one when you’re traveling abroad, so take the proper time to pick a safe area. 

It’s no secret that the cheapest accommodations are usually in some of the most dangerous areas (not always, but usually), so do your research.

Before staying in any accommodation, go through the reviews that others left with a fine-toothed comb.

You can even do a google search like “safe and dangerous areas in _____.”

screenshot of a Google search about safe and dangerous areas to travel to in Finland

Also, join Facebook travel groups and ask others who have gone to the place you’re visiting for recommendations on safe areas to stay.

And lastly, if something doesn’t feel right about an area, go with your gut! 

It most likely isn’t, and you just saved yourself a world of trouble.

6. Become a house-sitter

My biggest international travel hack is to housesit on your vacation.

Housesitting has changed my life in the most amazing ways, and I wish I had started sooner.

Housesitting lets you see the world more easily and definitely will save you money on accommodation.

You simply take care of a home owner’s pet(s) and house while they’re away in exchange for free room and board!

I’m a member of TrustedHousesitters, a global housesitting network, and have stayed in some really beautiful areas over the years.

From Europe to Asia, and beyond, you’ll be able to find a housesit!

What’s even better is you’ll have a cute, furry friend to keep you company.

Are you ready to get started with housesitting and travel with ease?

**Use my code MARSZ25 to get 25% off your membership!

I hope that these international travel tips help you out, and you have an amazing and safe trip abroad.

Leave a comment below on where you’re traveling to next!

Peace, love, and good vibrations.

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