- Check your passport expiration date. You need a passport to travel but if you are reading this I assume you already have one. But do you know your expiration date? Check your passport and make sure you have more than six months before the expiration date. Many countries won’t let you in if you don’t have at least six months left on your passport. I recommend renewing when you get to the 12-month mark. Don’t wait till you’re right at six months. If you don’t have at least six months left before the expiration date renew your passport before you book your trip.
- Find out whether you need a Visa for entry. Know whether a visa is required for entry to your destination. A visa is not the same as a passport. If a visa is required make sure you have the lead time to get it before you want to leave. Some countries will let you apply upon arrival but many will not so do your homework. You can look up visa requirements for countries by visiting travel.state.gov.
- Find out their COVID-19 and other vaccine requirements. COVID-19 is still a thing. While many countries have no restrictions or requirements for entry besides a pinky swear that you don’t have COVID many are very strict about it. The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom are beginning to open up to tourism again but will require not only proof of negative COVID-19 test but also proof of vaccination with quarantine requirements in some countries as well. Again, do your homework and understand the requirements before you book and before you go.
- Plan Your Itinerary and organize it. Once you have followed steps 1-3, you are ready to book you trip and plan your itinerary. Use sites like Booking.Com, Kayak, and Hopper to find the best rates for hotels and flights. Organize your travel plans in one place using an app like TripIt and plan to share it with your friends and family so they can keep track of you while you travel!
- Buy Travel Insurance. Once you’ve booked your flight BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE. I cannot stress this one enough. Accidents happen, the last thing you want is to be seriously injured in a foreign country and then find out your home country’s health insurance will not cover your injury or reimburse you for the cost. Purchase travel insurance and rest easy. Many include coverage for lost baggage, canceled flights as well. When comparing plans, make sure COVID-19 is covered. I like World Nomad because they do not exclude COVID-19 as many other travel insurance plans do. They also have very reasonable and competitive rates. And no they don’t pay me I just like them.
- Have a Travel Safety Plan. Do some research on your destination from a safety and security perspective and put together a solo travel safety plan. Don’t know how? Check out my e-guidebook “Bald Girl Will Travel: A Guide to Travel Safety & Security for Solo Female Travelers.” It will walk you step by step through travel safety planning and get you confidently ready for your solo trip!
- Get familiar with the native language of your destination. If English is not the native language of your destination, download the Google Translate app to your phone and save common phrases so that you can readily communicate about basic things. Traveling to a Spanish-speaking country? Check out my E-Guidebook “Como Se Dice? Practical Spanish Phrases & Words for Travelers.” It’s only $8 bucks and will get you ready to confidently communicate basic phrases when you travel to Central America, South America, and many other continents and countries where Spanish is the common language.
Now get solo traveling with joy and confidence!