Reading blogs is one of the ways I always prepare for travelling, no matter how short or long I might be away. And there are certain things that people forget about (understandably) during the hype of planning your travels, accommodation, finances and activities. Hopefully these points will help you have safe, smooth and healthy travels!
Below I’ve listed five basic things that I think are very important to think about weeks, if not months in advance of your trips. On more that one occasion (before I got super worried and super organised), I haven’t taken these into consideration when going abroad. Hopefully it will stick in your mind now, like it has mine – they are pretty important stuff that you don’t want to ignore!
Depending on where you are travelling from and travelling to, you may need a passport. Some countries offer relief periods to increase tourism (this was true of UK to Thailand as of 2013 when I visited). Now, some countries also allow you to pick up a tourist visa on the plane, minutes before you land, however, others require them to be dated and stamped in your passport before arrival to border control. Please bear this in mind and thoroughly research how, when and costs of your visas will be.
We actually booked our flights home from Vietnam while in Thailand (with the premise of staying in Cambodia for a week), not realising that Vietnam required us to have our visas already sorted beforehand. This resulted in a frantic dash to the most reputable looking company and handing over our passports for a week to total strangers – thankfully everything worked out ok, but please don’t make our same mistake: have a plan in place!
Tip: It’s also worth checking if your passport is in date for the duration of your travels and if not more, some places require up to 6 months validity. Ensure you also have enough pages free for your visas/immigration stamps! Some don’t like more than 1 stamp on 1 page.
Also, do you have the correct type of passport? I see that the USA are only accepting e-passports now (ones with a little symbol on front that looks like a camera).
Now I’m not trying to be a medical expert or anything here but this is an important one that requires thinking and planning well in advance. Again, the vaccines that you require depends on where you’re going, what time of the year, your age, health and a lot more other factors. It is important that you visit your GP or nurse as soon as you know when you’re going and which countries you are going to, they can advise you appropriately.
Most common vaccinations require you to take them around 6 weeks in advance to ensure optimal protection. They only last a certain amount of time as well, but some offer top-ups that allow you to get a second injection to make them last longer (i.e. 10 years).
Tip: I advise going as early as possible as we struggled to find one of your vaccinations available in our local pharmacies. We travelled about 20 minutes away to get ours, and even then it was from two different pharmacies!
Malaria Tablets / Mosquito Spray
Being a frantic worrier, malaria tablets were first on my list when I booked up to go to SE Asia. Malaria is a serious tropical disease that is spread through mosquitoes and mosquito bites. It’s not commonly found in the UK but accordingly to the NHS, 1586 travellers were diagnosed with the disease after returning to Great Britain in 2014 so it’s well worth thinking about. Particularly high-risk areas include, but not limited to, parts of Asia, Africa, and Central and South America .
There are a wide variety of different tablets that you can take and all depend on how you want to take them (i.e. one every day/seven days before you travel etc.).
Since I constantly read travel blogs and travel news sites, particularly concerning Brits abroad, I have came across a few horror stories where people have gotten into accidents and hadn’t had insurance or their insurance policy doesn’t cover whole or part of their medical costs.
One recent story was of Stephanie Inglis, a British Judo athlete who won a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The result of a motorbike accident left her fighting for her life, and even worse so, her travel insurance firm claiming her policy doesn’t cover her. I don’t want to go into detail but her family are still trying to fight her cause while she is in hospital in Thailand.
It’s vitally important that you get you get the correct policy that fully covers you while you are away, no matter where you are going or how small your trip might be. And remember to read the small print!
Is there anything important that you’ve forgotten when you’ve went travelling?
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