When traveling to foreign destinations and entering other countries one thing that we all have to do before our travel starts to avoid any unwilling events of happening is to inform ourselves well about all the necessary travel requirements.
The best way to do that is to visit the government’s official website of the country you are planning to visit, gather the basic travel information for the destination and prepare and act accordingly. Here is a short list for the info you should look for:
All destination countries have travel document requirements for entry. When visiting another foreign country most of the time you would need at least 6 months valid passport after your travel date. But, sometimes depending on your citizenship and in which country you are entering a birth certificate or just an ID may be enough of a proof for your identity and entry requirements.
In some instances, you’ll be asked to complete a customs and immigration form which may be done on the arrival.
You must have a return airline ticket if you want to enter some of the countries. And if you don’t have one to show it at the airport you won’t be able to go on board and take the flight.
Be sure to stay informed about the visa requirements if any. For some of the countries you won’t need a visa and in other countries, you may be asked to purchase one on the entry or on your departure. Usually, cruise ship passengers are allowed to stay on some of the islands or countries without visas for no more than 24h.
These examples are valid in most of the cases but be sure to check the regulations for every country separately.
MONEY & LOCAL CURRENCY
Stay informed about the official currencies and exchange rates. Some countries may use US dollars interchangeably with their official currency. Another thing is the credit cards which in most of the tourist destinations are welcomed, widely used with ATMs available. But, be sure to check with your bank about the additional fees of the transactions.
For every country, it’s very important for the tourists to be satisfied with their visit and to avoid getting into trouble during their stay thus governments provide valuable pieces of advice on their websites about the general safety measures and what to watch out for.
If there are too many credit cards frauds in the country it’ll be better for you to withdraw cash from banks instead of ATMs. You should get informed ahead if some countries prefer using cash over credit cards and when that is a case prepare to pay in cash in the markets, stores or restaurants. Knowing that can be quite useful when you are at the location.
SERVICE FEE & TIPS
In some of the countries wages of the waitresses, bartenders or any of the employees in the service sector, such as room attendants or taxi drivers, are so low that their living depends on the tipping. In other countries, though this might not be the case and these employees may have normal, regular salaries that are not dependable on tipping. That said when visiting other destination is quite important to know the customs on how to tip or not accordingly.
In most cases, tipping includes 10-15% or this amount may be included as a service charge in your bill. But, even if tipping is not a must, sometimes you may show your appreciation for the exceptional service by tipping on your discretion. Anyhow you should be careful, depending on the situation other times might be inappropriate.
GENERAL SAFETY & DRESSING CODE
When traveling, as a rule of thumb more casual, informal and conservative outfit is recommended. Wearing valuables and expensive pieces of jewelry when on the road in foreign destinations it’s not a good idea.
Be sure to inform yourself about the dressing code and etiquette of the destination. Find out how do locals dress for different occasions and dress accordingly when moving on the streets and exploring the country. Also, wear clothes appropriate for the weather conditions. Additionally, when leaving the beach in a swimsuit and entering shops or restaurants never forget to put some clothes on. Women traveling solo should be especially cautious and try not to draw unnecessary attention to themselves that can lead to unpleasant situations by not following the adequate dressing etiquette.
In some countries, for example, camouflage clothing may be prohibited or nudity may be illegal, including topless sunbathing. So, be careful not to violate any law just because you didn’t know.
Just in case, gather all the useful phone numbers of the police and nearest embassy for example, and store them securely somewhere where you’ll have an easy access like on your phone or online in the cloud storage. Watch for your phone, camera and other valuables at all times when you are abroad, exploring, traveling or simply having a stroll on the streets. Taking to many photos and videos near military installations may be easily misunderstood by the local authorities. Keep that in mind.
VACCINATION & MEDICATION
Read everything you need to know about recommended vaccinations and medications. Visiting other countries may require vaccinations for life-threatening diseases such as malaria or some kind of viruses like the Zika virus. Take all the precautions needed and consult your doctor before leaving. You should take all of the government’s safety tips seriously including the ones for how to use simple products such as insect repellents that will keep mosquitos and other insects away, since not only that they can be sometimes annoying but they spread diseases as well.
Take enough medications for the duration of your stay. In some countries or remote areas, you won’t be able to find what you need in case of emergencies or if you get sick, because of the restrictions they may have in the medical supplies. You should check with your doctor for some basic medications like painkillers, sleeping pills, for headaches, fever, flu, anti-diarrhea, and allergies.
Finally, if you are accommodated in any of the hotels or resorts, in most of the cases if not always if any physical or health problem occurs you’ll only have to contact the front desk to point you to the right medical person or a physician that can help you further. In other instances find out the emergency numbers and nearest clinics or hospitals.
FOOD & WATER SAFETY
Not every country has a safe tap water for drinking. If so you’ll have to buy a bottled water or carry your own reusable bottle with filter or purifier. Watch for this information, especially if you are sensitive. Not knowing that and drinking tap water may cause you stomach sickness or diarrhea. Check the import regulations for food and plants. Countries have different regulations for importing and exporting food, some of them more strict than others.
Another valuable travel tip that you gonna find quite useful is about transportation, especially if you are going to explore the destination on your own schedule and itinerary. Knowing what kind of public transport is available or what would you need for renting a car or bike and the costs for all of that ahead will help you a lot to make your plans and know what to expect the minute you step on the airport. Especially you would want to know how to get from the airport to your accommodation: by bus, transfers or taxi and which one best fits your needs and budget.
Additionally, there are many travelers on the web sharing their travel experiences from which you can get a vivid picture of what to expect on the road, of the destination and people.