Preparing for a trip is always the most stressful part of travelling. Applying for a visa, renewing the passport, planning the travelling budget, deciding on insurance — there are so many important things to consider and think over.
If you’re going on your first trip to a foreign country for the first time in your life, you have to make a detailed plan. Old-timers can allow themselves to be more spontaneous since they know what difficulties they may meet on the way abroad.
For the first time vagabonds (or just less experienced ones), we’ve prepared a complex guide of the most essential aspects to take care of before hitting the road.
The most common financial obstacles usually are currency, payment methods, unexpected expenses, and thefts.
Currency exchange can be tricky and more expensive than we could think. Sure, all the travellers of the world used to go bureaux de change to provide their wallets with the needed foreign currencies. However, taking into account today’s possibilities, it’s no longer necessary and, surely, cost-inefficient.
Today’s digital banking offers us various mobile applications with special currency accounts such as Paybis.com or Revolut that go together with payment cards. You can also ask your bank what currency exchange opportunities they can offer when it comes to paying by card or withdrawing money abroad.
Before going on a trip, make sure what payment practices the country has. Going to Germany, for instance, you may get extremely surprised that there’re very few places where you can pay by card!
Informing your bank about your trip is also a good idea. You can ask them to block every transaction above a given amount of money for the time of your travel.
To avoid unnecessary stress and more unexpected expenses plan your flights very carefully. Taking a plane can really be much more tricky than any other transportation!
First of all — get to know the exact localisation of the airports. The airports can be named after the closest big cities to give you the general idea where it’s placed. But just because you can see e.g. Oslo Torp (Norway) on your ticket, it doesn’t mean you’re going to land directly in Oslo. In fact, this particular airport is placed about 1.5h by train from the capital!
Another thing is the luggage — hand luggage in particular. The baggage requirements can differ distinctively from company to company. Especially weights and dimensions. The requirements can change any time so make sure to read the airline policies carefully before each trip. Knowing the details, you’ll be able to plan what to pack and consider buying hold baggage.
Visa, passport, and ID — each country have slightly different rules on the documents you’re going to need. Some countries don’t have visa requirements at all, some give you the possibility of getting the visa on your arrival, and others want you to apply for the document early enough in your own country. It can depend on how long you’re going to stay in a given country, and why you’re coming there — that is for tourist or working purposes.
Make sure that your passport is valid for long enough yet! There is a particular requirement in some countries (e.g. Singapore) that is called 6 months rule. That means your passport has to be valid at least for another 6 months when arriving to the country. Read the country’s travelling policies carefully! It also can be possible that you won’t need anything but your ID to spend a short period as a tourist there!
It’s not a joke — taking good care of your health is an important part of being a responsible vagabond, as well!
You’re going to hike in the Alps but your knee has been aching a bit for the last days? Don’t ignore that and visit a specialist. Getting a last-minute appointment may cost you extra but it’s better to get proper care and advice before going on the adventure. After all, calling a helicopter to get you off the mountains to a hospital would be unbelievably more expensive.
Going to another country and, especially, to another continent might involve special medical requirements, as well. To be more precise — mandatory vaccinations. If you already know you’re going to, e.g., Africa soon, get to know everything about mandatory and recommended vaccinations in the area, e.g., malaria and yellow fever. Some vaccinations have to be carried out a couple of weeks before arrival, and some are applied partially for a period of up to 6 weeks.
Getting travel insurance is not always necessary, however worth considering. Travel insurance can cover lost baggage and cancellation costs caused by your illness or taking part in an accident. You can also choose an extended travel insurance package for medical and dental care at the destination place, and potential disaster emergencies (fire, flood, volcano explosion, etc.).
If you have life insurance already, make sure what travelling accidents are covered by your insurance carrier. Most of basic life insurance packages don’t cover travel misadventures at all. An example situation — your carrier has the right to reject paying the insurance to your family if you were a victim of a terrorist attack in a country considered to be a conflict area.
You can’t be too careful while travelling. Especially these days. Your health and safety should be the most important aspects of your voyages! Save yourself unnecessary stress and unpleasant situations, and start planning your adventures as soon as possible. It doesn’t exclude spontaneity — if you have the traveller’s essentials covered, you can enjoy your trips just the way you want!