Travel Agent Shares With Us The Biggest Mistakes To Avoid When Planning Your First International Trip

Traveling to a new country can be an exhilarating experience, especially for first-time international travelers. You have so much to look forward to, including visiting famous landmarks, trying out new foods, and immersing yourself in new cultures. However, planning such a trip can be pretty intimidating and overwhelming. It requires making critical decisions such as choosing the right destination, figuring out the best time of year to travel, and taking care of your health and finances.

Thankfully, we have a valuable resource in Lynn Farrel, President of Foremost Travel Group, which includes Windy City Travel, Traveloni and Oswego Travel. In an exclusive interview with Explore, she provides essential tips that can guide you through the complexities of international travel. With years of experience in the travel industry, Farrel has a wealth of knowledge to help you avoid common mistakes and make your first international trip smooth and enjoyable.

Our ultimate goal is to ensure that you have an unforgettable and life-changing experience. While planning an international vacation can be challenging, some expert guidance can help you feel confident and prepared for what's ahead. With Farrel's advice, you can learn how to make the most of your trip and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Choosing the right destination and ensuring a secure journey

Selecting the perfect destination for your first international trip is a pivotal decision that sets the tone for your entire adventure. Farrel emphasizes the importance of aligning your destination with factors such as your budget and personal interests. "The budget that you have available for your vacation will allow [travel agents] to offer the correct options to make this experience the best it can be," Farrel tells Explore. "What interests do you have? History? Art? Wine? Nightlife? Weather?"

She also suggests approaching the decision-making process with a clear understanding of how much time you can dedicate to your vacation. Whether you're drawn to the historical marvels of Europe, the vibrant cultures of Asia, or the scenic landscapes of South America, your destination should resonate with your preferences and circumstances.

As the excitement of planning an international trip builds, Farrel strongly advocates for the often-overlooked necessity of travel insurance. "Many people do not realize ... 99% of people's medical insurance policy does not cover them outside of the United States," she warns. "People get sick on vacation all the time."

Travel insurance is not only about medical coverage, but also crucial to protecting your investment. Life happens, and you may need to cancel due to illness or unforeseen circumstances. "You insure your house, your car, and your health," Farrel explains. "We believe you should insure your travel dollars as well."

The power of knowledge, time, and shared adventures

Reflecting on the experiences of first-time international travelers, Lynn Farrel shares that most people regret not having a knowledgeable guide, especially when exploring places like Europe, adding that it makes a significant difference. "When we were in Rome with our kids, we had a guide for the Colosseum, and my kids learned that the snacks people ate during events at the Colosseum were green beans," notes Farrel. "That engaged my children to listen! A good guide will read and understand the people they are guiding and make it an amazing experience!"

Overall, Farrel emphasizes the power of knowledge and the fleeting nature of time. "Knowledge is power, and your last suit has no pockets!" she says.

Finally, Farrel stresses the importance of taking adventures with loved ones. Immerse yourself in the local culture, try new activities, and take pictures to capture the moments. Embrace the unexpected, be open to new experiences, and enjoy the journey beyond just the typical tourist attractions. Remember that while planning is essential, the real magic of travel lies in the unplanned moments that become cherished memories. "Take a few adventures with the people you love," she exclaims. "Memories matter!"