How to Travel Abroad

Bienvenue and congratulations on your retirement! It's time to relax, have some fun, and travel. Traveling abroad can be a bit daunting, but knowing what to expect and having a well thought out plan will make travel much smoother. View this course to learn how to plan a trip to France. 

Step One: Passport

Renew or Purchase your Passport

Already have a Passport?

If you already have a passport, confirm that your passport is valid before you confirm your flight plan. Here are some passport items to check to make sure it's valid.

  • Check the Expiration Date! Your passport expiration date should be valid for six months after  your anticipated travel date.         Example: Last date of travel is March 9th, the expiration should be September 9th. 
  • Check for Accuracy! Confirm that all of your personal identifying information is correct.
    • Any name changes, or misspellings
    • Gender identification
    • Dramatic appearance change from the original photo: Adult passports expire after 10 years; a lot can change in 10 years! Make sure the identifying photo still looks like you! If not, apply for a renewal
  • Sign Your Passport! Your passport is not valid unless you've signed the first page
  • Do you have enough visa passport pages? Confirm that you have enough blank pages. As of January 1, 2016 the U.S. Department of State will no longer allow travelers to apply for more passport visa pages. You will need to apply for a renewal. 

You can learn more about renewing your passport, passport fees, and other information by visiting the following page

I don't have a Passport yet!

Before you can start booking your travel, you'll need to acquire a Passport from your country. 

  • Apply for a Passport! Follow the instructions to complete an online application and submit. You can also visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website for more information

        Apply for a Passport

Need to Know! 

Passport Processing Times

           Routine                          4 - 6 weeks

          Expedited                       2 - 3 weeks

          Expedited at Agency   8 business days

Where to Apply  You'll need to visit an official passport agency or facility, or apply by mail. 

Passport Fees  Of course purchasing a passport will cost some money. Visit the link to view the fee chart and calculator. 

Step Two: Purchase Your Plane Tickets

Purchasing Airline Tickets to France

Visiting a new country is exciting! Before we can begin packing, let's take a look at purchasing airline tickets and securing your trip! Once you know your travel dates and times, you can start coordinating trip details. 

Before we begin, know the following: 

  • Who is traveling
  • Dates you are departing for France and returning to the United States
  • Times you would like to leave and return 
  • Travel budget - airline tickets can be costly! 
  • Location you are departing from and location for arrival

Tutorial on Purchasing Plane Tickets using Travelocity

Step Three: Book Lodging

Reserve a place (or places) to stay during your trip

You have Options!

There are now many options for finding lodging in the U.S. and during international travel. We're going to briefly look at two options: Booking with a Hotel and using AirBNB. Watch this brief video on the options that are available to you.

Step Four: Learn about the Country and its Culture

Introduction to Visiting France

French Tourism

Explore France Tourism

Explore France the way the French do. visit to learn about historic French favorites, learn more about French culture, and explore destinations. 

How's the weather over there? 

France, like many other countries, measure temperature in Celsius. This is important to know because the temperature measurement will look quite different than Farenheit! Keep this in mind as you learn more about France's climate. France has a temperate climate that varies depending on geographic location. If you're looking for a chilly visit, check out the mountainous regions; or for a more coastal feel, visit Mediterranean cities, such as Province, for sunshine almost year round. 

Learn more about the weather and climate in France

Must See Destinations

Did you know you can buy a Paris museum pass for access to ALL of Paris' museums? Or that the majority of museums are closed on Monday and Tuesday? Visit Discover the Paris Museum Pass to learn more about Paris' must see destinations and how to access them. 

For More Information 

Learn more about making your trip to France as smooth as possible

Learn Some French

Visit Duolingo to Learn FrenchLearn Basic French

Duolingo is a free language learning program that can be downloaded on your phone, or used in a web browser. Duolingo is a free and easy way to learn a language.

Although France does have English speakers, you will want to know some basic French to get around smoothly, especially if you venture outside of metropolitan areas. 

Furthermore, there are a variety of mobile apps available to help guide you through this new language terrain! Google Translate, and many other apps, even have speech to text translation capabilities. 

Voyages sécuritaires!

Travel Emergencies

What about travel emergencies? 

What if I get sick, or my information is stolen while I'm traveling abroad? The U.S. Department of State has you covered. Visit this website to learn more

Start Packing

Pack for your trip to France

Ready to Pack

Check out the infographic to see reminders before packing your bags to travel abroad. Don't forget to check import regulations for coming into the United States and departing from France. If you have any layovers in other countries where you'll need to go through customs again, remember to also check customs regulations in those countries too.

Exchanging Currency

Currency exchange facts

Arriving at the Airport

What to expect when you arrive at the airport

Arriving at the Airport

Do you know what to expect and do once you arrive? Follow the info graphic below for some quick tips and trips to make arriving at the airport smooth and easy.