Traveling Outside the US | Best Tips For Planning Your Trip

traveling photo

Hey, hey! Well there’s so many changes happening in my life right now. My life has been very busy!  I’m currently getting ready for a vacation to Jamaica after that, a big move to Guam. (I’ll save the move for another post). As you are reading this I’m probably back home from vacation.

Today I would like to share some travel planning with you.

Passport

I’ve had my passport for some time now. My first trip outside the United States was London. When I went my friend recently had her second child and I absolutely had to see her and her beautiful family. When I got my passport back then, I filled out the paperwork at the Post Office. I did it well in advance from my trip so I would have time to receive it. The Post Office gave me an estimated time as to when I would receive it. The photo I got for it I had taken at CVS. It was a pretty straight forward process.

To check current passport pricing or any other details click here.

Ticket purchase

For my trips to London the main planning was finding the right airline ticket. Since I was staying with a friend I didn’t need to plan for transportation or hotel. When searching for the right ticket I went online and compared prices almost daily. Flight rates often change so checking prices often allowed me to find the best rates.

There are amazing apps to help you find the best rates. One app I hear rave reviews about is Hopper. You can download the app here. This app not only helps you find the best rates but it helps let you know when to buy by predicting when flights will go up in price. Technology is so dope!

Asking a fellow traveler

The planning for Jamaica was relatively easy. My friend Alexis did all the research for this one (lol) so I thought I’d ask her a few questions to give you some insight about what she did.

Without further ado…

Why did you decide to go to Jamaica?

  • I first visited Jamaica 5 years ago with my mother and other family members. I knew it was something that I wanted to experience with my closest friends.

What made it stand out to you?

  • The first day I stood in the water, I could see fish swimming around my feet. Which is completely different from the dark, murky Pacific Ocean where seaweed gets caught around your ankles. At that moment, I realized why my friends from Florida always expressed their dislike for the Pacific Ocean.

       I absolutely loved how gorgeous, warm, and clear the water is!

What did you do first in the planning process?

  • The first thing I did was research the last resort (online) I stayed in to be able to have a starting point for where I wanted to be this time. I knew it needed to be all-inclusive, adults only but not a necessarily a “honeymoon” destination, i.e. Sandals, and I knew my price range.

(We stayed at an all inclusive resort which included airfare.)

Is all inclusive a good deal?

  • I am a fan of the all-inclusive because daily food and drink doesn’t need to be budgeted in the travel expenses.

(What was included? All drinks, 4 meals, hotel stay, and airfare.)

How did you know it was safe?

  • Reading a vast amount of reviews on this resort, as well as the BBB reviews. Starting with the bad reviews, to prepare myself for the worst. I visited the website which was extremely in depth and professional.  Then I researched the part of the island the resort is on.

I couldn’t find anything where anyone was concerned about their safety or well-being.

What are the pros and cons of doing your own planning versus going through a travel agent?

  • Pros of a travel agent
    • There are just SO many options out there! A travel agent has the resources to enter your criteria, pull up what’s available, and send you the options. In the beginning I felt extremely overwhelmed because there is so much to think about and I didn’t know how to narrow down my search.
  • Cons of travel agent
    • You are on their 9-5 schedule. When the agent is at work is when you get to communicate your needs.  I found that the travel agency and I kept missing each other’s calls and weren’t ever able to connect.

Any advice for first time travelers?

  • Travel with people you trust.
  • Use the hotel safe, especially if you plan on allowing housekeeping to maintain your room.
  • Bring a credit card with enough room on it in case of emergencies.
  • Have a spending budget.
  • Read everything. Read all of the information the hotel provides and leaves in the rooms. Those are your terms and conditions and it will help alleviate surprise charges at the end of your stay.
  • Travel with enough space in your luggage to allow for souvenirs.
  • Be very watchful of the locals! A lot of people are genuinely kind, but there are skeevy individuals looking at your pockets.

How I pack? If you missed the last post you can check that out here. I give you some of my favorite packing tips.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks for hanging out today!

XO Terreana

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