5 Things You Need To Do Before Travelling Abroad
Dec. 04, 2019
The key to good travel is proper planning, especially when you are travelling to a new country. Here are 5 things you need to include in your plan to ensure a stress-free experience
Find out whether you’ll need a passport, a visa or both
It’s important to find out whether you’ll be required to provide a visa or passport to be allowed entry into a foreign country. But let’s look at the difference between a passport and a visa first. While a passport will be issued to you by your home country as proof of citizenship, a visa is issued by the country you are visiting.
Basically, being a passport holder means that your country has given you permission to travel abroad. On the other hand, acquiring a visa for a particular country means that you are allowed to set foot into that country.
This means that your country has to clear you for international travel and explains why convicts and suspected criminals have their passports cancelled or denied and their requests for obtaining one turned down until they are cleared of any wrongdoing by the courts.
While some countries will require you to apply for a visa before boarding your flight from your home country, others will only require you to present your passport at the airport and grand you a visa upon entering the country.
2. Buy travel insurance
Oftentimes we are carried away by the excitement of vacationing abroad that we forget to plan for the unexpected - emergencies. What if something happens and you have to cancel the vacation, you get sick in the foreign land, trouble erupts while you are there and you are to be evacuated, your possessions are lost, stolen or damaged or your flight is delayed or cancelled altogether?
It’s important to prepare for such emergencies and one way to do this is to purchase travel insurance. To “shield” yourself, there are several insurance options available, including vacation cancellation insurance, interruption, medical, evacuation, baggage or flight insurance.
3. Research your destination
Get to know about your destination before you get there. Besides finding out how much you’ll need for your flight, where you’ll stay, places you’ll visit and how you’ll get there also find out about the people of the country you are heading to.
Some countries have cultural rules and regulations that you may find strange. But failing to respect and adjust to their way of life while you are there could land you into serious trouble. That’s why it’s important to research acceptable norms around dressing, tipping and shaking hands, for example.
Besides the way of life, try and learn a few phrases in the local language of the country you are visiting. People appreciate when you say “Hello,” “Thank you,” in their local language.
It’s also important to find out about events happening in the country you are touring. And that should not be limited to festivals and ceremonies you could experience around the destination but your research should also include the social-political environment. Otherwise, you could wind up - unaware - in a city bedevilled by political upheaval and be caught in the middle of riots and teargas. That means you should look out for travel advisories before you leave.
4. Keep your bank in the know
Imagine what would happen if your bank suddenly notices that transactions are happening in Cape Town when you are supposed to be in Nairobi. They will have to turn off your card to protect your money, leaving you “penniless” in a foreign land. It’s important to inform your bank or credit provider that you are flying out of the country.
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5. Pack wisely
Most people pack everything in one suitcase but it's important to have a small carry - on bag, where you can pack a few necessities should you lose your luggage. Also, find out about the luggage rules and fees for the airline of your choice. Otherwise, you could end up paying more.
Also, know the voltage of the electronics you are carrying along because the country you are visiting could be having different size plugs and voltage. Find out whether your phone and laptop is compatible with the strength of the current in the country you are visiting. It’s important to carry an adapter with different settings to allow your device to plug into foreign sockets.
Besides, carrying certain things is prohibited on planes. For example, sharp objects. Given that each airline has its own rules regarding what to carry, it’s important to find out what not to carry before leaving.
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