Take Your First International Trip This Spring Break

It’s time to cast your cheap, tired self aside. This spring break, take the week (or even two) to escape campus. Don’t paint the illusion from the confines of your parents’ basement or your best friend’s couch. Head abroad. Hesitation never got anyone—whoever anyone may be—anywhere. Heed the following advice and take an international trip this spring break.

Take your first international trip this spring break

Obtain, renew or find your passport

It’s every traveller’s nightmare: you’ve planned the trip of a lifetime only to arrive at the airport with an expired passport (or worse none at all). Instead of Ibiza or Barcelona, you spend your vacation time at the passport office crying on the shoulder of someone who was smart enough to renew their passport before their trip. If you don’t already have a passport, an overseas excursion is the perfect excuse to complete the process. However, do it as soon as possible.

Like now.

Stop reading this post.

Go.

While it may take a day to submit your paperwork to the passport office, it can take weeks for the actual passport to arrive in your hands.  Now say you already have your passport? If so, ask yourself, “Where is it?” You may be surprised to discover it’s in the least logical place possible.  

Choose a destination (or let it choose you)

You have two choices: dream up a bucket list worthy destination or select whatever cheap flight is available online at the time of purchase. Consider too, would you prefer a week of booze, buffets and beaches? Then aim for the classic all-inclusive resort, researching accordingly. Otherwise, would you rather play the tourist for your trip, sightseeing every day? In this case, your location is key. If it’s your first time abroad, choose a city big and accessible enough to ease you into the tourist role. Book your ticket with care, perhaps with a buddy to proofread your choice. Give yourself enough time upon your return to unpack and adjust to reality (i.e., don’t intend to return the day of your first class).

Plan as little or as much as suits your personality

Even if your approach to your passport and destination selection didn’t clarify your personality type, creating a day-to-day schedule for your trip certainly should. As my family’s resident trip planner, I live for a thoughtful travel agenda, selecting attractions or areas to explore in the morning, afternoon and evening of each day of our trip and, if possible, appropriate restaurants too. However, there’s nothing wrong with turning up on your trip without anything more than a departure time.

Pack at least the night before

Again, if you’re the free-spirited type, you may consider packing your bags the day of your departure. I strongly advise at least the night before especially if you’ve never travelled before. You may realize last summer’s sunscreen is completely dried up or your windbreaker is two sizes too small. Let me tell you, such last-minute discoveries don’t make travel fun or hilarious. It may take years before you can recount your lack of preparation to friends and family in the form of an entertaining anecdote. Furthermore, you must decide whether or not to check your luggage and if your chosen bags fit the correct size and weight restrictions. Visit your airline’s website for their guidelines.

Enjoy your trip!