9 Mistakes That Could Ruin Your International Trip

When we think about travel, we think about carefree oceanfront days, road trips across an entire country and exploring new lands. Getting away is an opportunity to take a break, relax and reflect, above all else. Travel should be all about having fun, enriching life experiences and immersing ourselves in other cultures, right? [slideshow:930]

Well that's what we like to imagine, but before we can get to those wondrous experiences, we need to get to our destinations in one piece, with all of our pieces of luggage.

This task seems simple enough for the millions of Americans who spent a combined total of $86.2 billion dollars on international travel in 2013. In fact, according to the U.S. Travel Association, the travel industry has continued to grow and flourish for four consecutive years—even with so much of the world in economic trouble.

So, if millions of other people can do it, surely you can too. But keep in mind, planning an international trip isn't as easy as booking a flight and hotel room. It's that much more difficult if it's your first time and you're preparing alone. Everyone knows they need a passport, plane tickets and someplace to stay, but for every big picture decision there are a slew of smaller aspects that people tend to forget about.

Even the most seasoned traveler has made simple mistakes before, sometimes on a regular basis. Many people leave home without double checking their reservations or printing out email confirmations, thinking "what are the odds that something could go wrong?"

It only takes a few minutes to prepare and that time could prevent hours of frustration. You'll be glad you're organized when the airline loses your bag and you still have a change of clothes.

Get your passport early, don't forget it at home and check out these mistakes that could ruin your international trip.