Expert Advice

Domestic vs. International Travel: What You Need to Know

Kevin O.

It’s 10:25 p.m. on Friday night, and your departing flight is at 5 a.m. the next morning.

Once again, you haven’t packed yet.

If you’re flying domestic, that’s not a problem. You will most likely travel by car. Pack an extra day of outfits and if you forget anything, it’s sold when you arrive. If you’re headed out on an international travel adventure, you’re a bit behind!

Planning international travel should ideally be done months ahead, including thinking through:

  • Logistics/Routes
  • Communication
  • Micro-climates
  • Currency
  • Medication and Vaccinations
  • Travel Insurance
  • Etiquette

Let’s break each component down.


Personally, logistics is usually my greatest stressor. That’s because outside of major cities, you can’t expect Lyft or Uber to pick you up at every whim.

Sometimes, renting a car and driving is not an option either with international license requirements, opposite traffic patterns and the need to know how to drive a stick shift in most other countries.

As someone who has walked through monsoon floods and skidded backward in mountain mud, I suggest you plan your mode of transportation ahead of time!



Your domestic cellular network may offer free overseas data service abroad. If not, consider purchasing a local SIM card starting at ~$7 USD abroad.


When visiting islands like Hawaii or Costa Rica, expect micro-climates in which local weather on each coast may vary greatly. I always pack a waterproof windbreaker.


Always exchange currency at your local bank or outside the airport. Depending on how much you travel, it may be worthwhile to enroll in an online bank account that reimburses ATM fees abroad.

Medication and Vaccinations

Vaccinate at least one month before visiting areas that may pose a health risk.

You can always refer to the CDC website for the latest information.

Travel Insurance

Many travel credit cards already include travel insurance, so check your card benefits. I highly recommend signing up for a travel credit card if you do not already have one.

The peace of mind cannot be overstated. My cousin had to be air-lifted from her Bali honeymoon destination over to Singapore to correctly diagnose and operate on appendicitis.


Be mindful of local culture and customs, especially customs around dining and personal space.

If you do your research and plan ahead, international travel will be a breeze.

Kevin O.

“I truly believe that the best trips are the ones where you interact with locals, and then reflect on your own life.” Mastermind travel planner and jetsetter, Kevin, aims to visit every continent in the next two years, and move abroad following his around-the-world journey. When Kevin isn’t visiting his home resort in Las Vegas, Hilton Grand Vacations Club on Paradise, he loves to travel the globe with his close friends. Kevin always carries a portable charger and flashlight in his carry-on, and he enjoys making cocktails and coconut smoothies in his HGV kitchen. So far, his preferred HGV property is The Grand Islander by Hilton Grand Vacations Club in Oahu, Hawaii.

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