Eamon Ryan says he expects people will able to go on foreign holidays this year but not until later in the summer.
However, the Transport Minister says he can't give an exact date just yet.
The Government is examining the return of international travel as part of the EU 'green cert' system.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin yesterday confirmed it's something the Government will be looking at over the next few months to give a 'certainty and a timeline' to the aviation industry.
On Newstalk Breakfast, Minister Ryan said there are still many things that need to be worked out before that happens.
He said: “I expect we will open international travel - [but] we have to be very careful, as we don’t want to create false expectations.
“Whether it’s going to visit a friend or family, or for work, or whether for some people it’s for a holiday… when I say open up international travel, it’s for a variety of different purposes.
“I don’t want to give an exact date, as we have to work with our European colleagues in having an international system."
He said he does imagine it will be "later on in the summer", and people can expect exact timelines in the next two months.
However, he said authorities do need to look at what's happening internationally - particularly with COVID-19 variants.
In terms of the wider reopening, Minister Ryan said the approach is one of "guarded optimism".
He said the ongoing vaccination programme is a key difference from the third wave which occurred after a rapid reopening in December.
However, he said officials will be keeping an eye on COVID-19 case numbers as restrictions are eased in several stages over the next few months.
While the plan only gives exact dates for May and early June, Minister Ryan said work will be done over the next month to prepare for wider reopening.
He said that will include preparing for the return of live events, the return of students to university campuses and protocols for those returning to work.