Prepare your trip

Prepare your trip

It is no longer a secret to anyone : preparing your trip is the key to a successful trip. No matter what kind of journey; whether it is for vacations, for work, for a short or a long period of time, at the end of the world or in the neighboring country… There are a few essentials that are important to know before going : 

  • Administrative papers for my trip (Visa, passport, bank vouchers, …).
  • Which insurance am I choosing?
  • What is my estimated budget?
  • The local currency and conversions?
  • What is the current language ? Is English is understandable / if not, how do I make sure that I am understood?
  • Where will I choose to stay (backpacker, hotel, couch surfing, wwoofing, …)?

Papers

Each country defines its own rules, and, depending on your native country as well as your passport, more or less forms may be necessary. Things seems more simple in Europe, especially thanks to the Schengen area which allows nationals to travel through without any customs. But what about the other places ?

Most of the time it is necessary to get a Visa, and there are many :

    • Tourist visa, generally for a short period,
    • Work visa,
    • Working Holiday Visa
    • Transit Visa, and there are still many of them!

In order to make sure that you get all the papers you needed once in the country, it is advised to check the country’s government website, it might be useful to be aware of any new law passed in the country: 

I’m thinking about this man, who had a stopover at Beijing Airport, who was affected by a new law passed in the morning, that no one (even in the country) had ever heard about. He had to stay in the airport all night without any news, and was then redirected towards another flight in the morning. Video here

In France, we have a system called Fil d’Ariane (means Breadcrumb trail), which keeps you informed of all the crisis and important events happening in the country you’re traveling in. I assume many countries should have something like this, and it would be wise to do it.

Don’t forget to renew certain documents such as your passport or credit cards, if the expiry date reaches its limit. It is also recommended to inform your bank that you’re traveling, so that they don’t block your card. Moreover, they will react more quickly in case of loss or theft.

Insurance

Coming back earlier than anticipated from a journey should not be wiped off, as it is one of the risks nthat the traveler faces. A wound, a robbery, a big news forcing you to go back home, etc… These events can shorten your trip, but they can also cost you a fortune. 

The are many different insurances to choose from according to your preferences, so I’ll give you one of the best comparisons I’ve found on the net on tourdumondiste.com: Comparative travel insurance

  • It is written in French, however it is understandable and the insurance websites are available in different languages.

I have personally been using Chapka for a few years, and it is by far the traveler’s favorite insurance. It is easy to renew and very complete.

My Projected budget

Anticipating a budget could seem optional, especially if you are used to go with the flow. But this quickly becomes essential when you cumulate different activities, when you change country and therefore local currency, or when you go as a team. Fortunately, it is easy today to find loads of applications which let you not make heads or tails :

      • Budgi for example, allows you to decide a global budget per travel and to enter your payments as you go along. You can also classify each spending and include the exchange rate in force to know the correct amount in your currency.
      • Bankin, allows you to classify each outlay and then displays them on a detailed graph. This app is quite complete and gives you the option to put an alarm whenever you exceed the planned amount. It also has a budget coach to learn how to manage your budget.
      • Tricount, an easy way to manage common accounts, and to stop wondering who has to pay back. This is an essential when you’re traveling in a group.

Local currency and exchange rates

According to the place you’re going, currencies are diverse and it is important to know how to do the conversion as soon as you arrive. Instead of having in mind all the rates, XE converter is a website as well as a great application which lets you convert directly your currency. A significant ally !

The following :

Prepare your trip #2

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have, and comment on what type of article you would like to see in the future!

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