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A foreign vacation is a great way to get everyone in your family completely out of their comfort zone and experience something entirely new. So, in addition to a complete physical and mental break while they are away, everyone comes back with a renewed appreciation for the things they have, and the people they have, in their everyday lives. The downside to a foreign vacation is that it is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. But in a way, that may not be a downside at all, because there is evidence that planning a vacation may be as beneficial as taking a vacation.
Getting a passport
If your travel plans take you anywhere outside the fifty states, a passport is either an absolute requirement or a very good thing to have. Even if you plan to visit a U.S. territory, like Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, some TSA screeners will want to see a passport, as will some hotel managers.
Plan ahead. It takes up to eight weeks for the government to process a passport application, and if your paperwork raises any red flags, the process could take longer. This time window does not include the time you spend completing the forms, getting a passport photo, and doing all the other little things to prepare your application.
Picking a destination
If this vacation is your first time overseas, it’s usually best to select a location that is close yet also far away. There are lots of destinations where most people speak English, or at least a form of English, yet there are enough cultural differences to give you the feeling that you are far away from home. South Africa is a good example. Most people either speak English or Afrikaans (African Dutch), which is very similar to English. At the same time, the culture is definitely foreign and the seasons are opposite to what they are in the United States.
In terms of accommodations, try the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate. The cabins are just a stone’s throw from the Kruger National Park, which features an almost unbelievable array of wildlife and plant life. The cabins have very good Wi-Fi, marble bathrooms, and lots of other amenities, so it’s not exactly roughing it.
Mpumalanga is a truly stunning experience. But if South Africa is a bit much, try one of the aforementioned U.S. territories instead. Canada and Mexico are often good first-time destinations as well.
Selecting an itinerary
Before you start booking events online, ask these two overarching questions:
- What do you really want out of this vacation? Do you want to relax and unwind in someplace new or do you want to experience everything the place has to offer? More than likely, the answer is “a little of both,” so plan accordingly. Build in lots of extra time.
- Is the event something everyone in your travelling party can at least tolerate? A fussy child or a fussy husband will ruin the occasion for everyone else.
If you’re tackling a place like South Africa, consider travelling with another family, because it is usually easier to travel to such places in a large group.
Go online and start planning your foreign vacation today.