Traveling: How to plan and prepare for a big trip – Part 1: The Essentials

Travel Tips and Tricks

It is true, you don’t want to overburden yourself when you’re planning a long trip abroad. You don’t want travel plans that ask more than you can give. You do, however, need to take care of some official business before you start travelling around the world, and there is a lot of travel planning that you can, and in some regards need, to do now. So let’s get into the things you can and should do now to prepare for the trip of a lifetime.

Visas

This is the most obvious thing that you need to find out before you go traveling. Are you allowed to enter the countries you want to visit? This situation will change depending on where you are from and where you want to go. For some countries, it could be as simple as turning up at the border with your passport, but others might require you to follow a very particular set of instructions in order to be granted a visa.

There are a number of different types of entrance visa available. These include visas for study, for work or business, and visiting family. If the trip you’re planning is purely recreational, however, you’ll want a tourism visa.

To learn about the visa requirements for your trip simply Google the country you plan to visit and from the country you are from. For example I Googled:

“Visa to Argentina from the UK.”

This should do the trick more often than not, but make sure you check the date the information was published and that the website is a reliable source. Failing the Google option, to find out the necessary visa information for your trip you should contact the embassy of where you want to go. So I would need to contact the Argentinian embassy in the UK for the example above.

Visas are cool, because they’ll turn your passport into an exotic picture book that you’ll want to keep forever. There can be costs involved in attaining visas, though, so make sure you take care of them early so you don’t eat in to your travel budget later on.

Saving money and setting a budget

You need to start thinking about saving money for your trip as soon as you start planning it. Your travel plans are just dreams until you start putting money aside to make them a reality. To start thinking seriously about your budget for the trip you need to factor in a lot of things, these are:

  • Travel costs, including planes, buses, trains, and any other means of transport you think you might use.
  • Accommodation costs. Where are you going to stay every night you will be away?
  • Food and drink. How much money will you need to spend tasting all the local delights that take your fancy? Also, how much drinking do you plan on doing in bars? Alcohol can take up a huge chunk of anybody’s budget.
  • Day trips, excursions, and activities. These can double, triple, or even quadruple your daily budget for any given day. Think about the places you’re going to visit and the types of activities that will be available. Do a little research into what they cost and factor that in to any you decide to do into your budget.
  • Insurance. When you’re travelling for more than just a few days insurance is a must. You should look for coverage that includes health and lost or stolen items. Make sure you read the fine print because often you won’t be getting the coverage you think you are. For example the total value your phone, camera, or laptop might not be covered, or transport costs might not be covered if you get sick in a remote location. You get what you pay for with insurance and, as always, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

At this stage, it will be difficult to work out exact costs for your budget. Don’t worry too much. What you’re looking for is an approximate figure so that you can start planning your saving. Once you know how much you need you’ll know much you need to save each month. This way you’re less likely to be caught out by surprising expenses when you’re actually on the road.

Vaccinations

The final essential thing you’ll need to look into is vaccinations. Just as the Spanish conquistadors took unfamiliar European diseases with them to the new world, that wiped out huge swathes of the population, the new world, wherever that may be for you, could have all sorts of new diseases, bugs, and viruses that your body won’t know how to deal with. Do a little research into where you are going and book an appointment to receive the necessary vaccinations.

You should probably do this at the same time as you’re looking into Visas and you can use the exact same methods to find both necessary visas for visiting a country and the vaccinations you’ll need too.

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