With the return of International Travel drawing ever so closer, it’s important to remember the elephant in the room as we rebook our external lives and forward plan our well-awaited adventures. This vital caveat keeps us in check as we navigate this post-pandemic environment: So, let me take you by the elbow (as the hand is prohibited) and lead you through these steps via my prepare, immerse, enjoy process.
Do your background research of the culture first, language, food, people, customs of day-to-day, don’t be ignorant. Plan money, packing (clothes, items, medicines), visas, COVID measures, travel corridors and bubbles, flights, local transport, accommodation and scope ideas and availability to visit landmarks, attractions, etc.
Don’t be afraid, just be mindful COVID still exists, respect the rules and regulations and don’t be an idiot. Be authentic in engaging with the culture, don’t be transactional, be grateful you can have the opportunity to experience “in person” a totally different environment from your own.
This is an enriching experience that is happening to you, embrace it, you deserve it and have fun.
Planning for international travel is an essential part of your global exploration because it sets the tone for everything that follows.
There is nothing worse than discovering that your passport and visa are not up to date on your day of departure. This will prevent you from travelling and could cost you lots of money if you already booked your trip. This is one of the first things you should do when preparing to travel, always make sure that your passport and visa are up to date. It can take weeks and sometimes months for unique cases to update a passport and visa, so you should try to sort this out far in advance.
Make sure your bank or credit card will work in the country you’re travelling to. Most banks have switched to secure chip-and-PIN technology while the magnetic-strip cards are increasingly becoming outdated. To prevent a situation from occurring where you are stranded in another country without access to your money, make sure that your card will work in the country you are travelling to.
When you travel to a new country, the chances are that you will have your bank or credit cards on hand to purchase items and pay for day-to-day expenses. Still, you should be aware that banks and credit providers have specific anti-fraud regulations in place. If they detect unusual activity on your account in a foreign country, they will suspend your card to protect your account, and you won’t have access to your money. So be sure to contact your bank or credit provider to inform them of your upcoming travel plans.
All travellers must comply with specific health regulations and receive necessary vaccines to enter certain countries. Before you travel, check-in with your doctor, make sure you have the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed any prescriptions. Same as validating your passport and visa during entry, failure to provide proof upon inspection could result in refused entry.
It’s exciting to travel to a country you’ve never been to before, but it’s also essential that you do your research from trustworthy sources for your destination. Tourist boards, mobile apps, safe travel sights, nearest banks, restaurants, and the nearest embassy are located. Also, make a note of emergency contact numbers of the destination you’re travelling to.
Whether you’re travelling to a country where the first language is different to your native language, try to learn the “lingo” and words of your destination country, such as “Hello, I need help, where can I find this” or “I am lost”. This will help you navigate your destination with ease, and if you find yourself lost, you’ll feel confident that you can converse in the native language.
Travelling is all about experience, sightseeing and exploration, which is why it’s essential to pack your face mask, hand sanitiser, anti-bacterial wipes, and walking shoes. You will find yourself on foot most of the time, visiting important tourist sights inside and out, so it’s essential to be safe and comfortable. These items will be your best friends when travelling and make your journey that much more enjoyable!