Traveling to new places is always so exciting, but oftentimes it is hard to know exactly what to do in advance or bring with you along your journey. Here I am going to be sharing with you a few of my personal tips and tricks, to help you feel more prepared and ready for any obstacles that may come at you along the way.
Check your passport’s expiry date
This one is especially important; it would be such a shame to plan a trip only to realize right before leaving or even at the airport that it has expired, making you unable to leave the country and take on your highly anticipated adventure.
Although most countries likely won’t let you leave your country with a passport that expires soon, you would not want to risk leaving your home country and having your passport expire mid-trip, making you unable to return home.
If your passport is expiring soon, be sure to check out your government’s process for renewal, and have it ready to go in advance of your upcoming travels.
Get an international credit card
Having an international credit card is amazing, because you don’t have to worry about taking out tons of cash and then the risk of losing it/ being pickpocketed while away. It also saves you from the currency exchange fees you will likely incur by taking out cash from an ATM, or even using your own credit card while making purchases abroad, international credit cards charge you for exactly the price of what you’re purchasing, with no extra fees; surprisingly you can end up saving hundreds of dollars by the end of your trip!
This one may seem complicated, but really there are banks out there such as revolut that will get you set up in as little as one day, and all for free! Other companies include Home Trust visa, Monzo, or N26.
Check the entry requirements
Depending on how long you want to stay in a given country, you may need a visa which you can apply for on that country’s government site.
With covid still benign a concern, you should also beware of the covid specific entry requirements: countries can request anything such as proof of a negative covid test taken before departure, proof of vaccination, or in some cases even a letter from your home country’s embassy granting you permission to travel. This is an important one, and even though it can be annoying it is really not too difficult and definitely not worth being denied boarding for ignoring the above.
Book your flight well in advance
I have personally found that the ebay time frame to book a flight is 6-8 weeks in advance, and anywhere after 2 weeks in advance is when the prices tend to skyrocket to insane prices; i’ve seen prices the few weeks before be as much as 4 times what they were 8 weeks in advance, it’s crazy!
Get a SIM card at the airport
This one is also less common, but a total budget friendly tip! As soon as you arrive in a country, I would highly recommend you find the kiosk (generally near the luggage collection point) that sells sim cards, and purchase one there. If you pay your cell courrier to be able to use your phone abroad, the roaming charge can be quite expensive. By picking up a SIM card for the given country you travel to, you can have data and call for your trip, for a fraction of the price of the roaming charges your home carrier would have.
Do some research ahead of time to see roughly how much general things cost in the country/ city you are going to be visiting are (mainly food, transportation, accomodation). This way there will be no huge surprises when you arrive, and it will allow you to budget and book your accommodation accordingly. For example, if everything is super cheap in a given city, you may want to stay in a nicer accommodation as it will fit in your budget the same as a lower rated accommodation in your home city.
Get essential items before leaving
Do you need medication each day? Is there anything else you won’t be able to get while traveling that you have access to in your home city? Make sure to pack everything you may need! Also do research if you are planning on purchasing items while abroad rather than packing them. When I traveled to Thailand, I didn’t pack sunscreen as I wasn’t planning on checking a bag, I figured I would just pick some up while over there… to my surprise a 100ml bottle of sunscreen was $40CAD!! I was shocked, and realized I may as well have paid to check luggage, as it would have been cheaper than buying a full sized tub of sunscreen; that taught me that the simplest things do not have a generic price worldwide.