When it comes to International Travel people get kind of confused. They think that they have to go through a lot of procedures before their trip. Anyone doing it for the first time will be confused. This article is going to be a big problem solver for you. Every single thing which you will need is mentioned down below.
Everything included below is kind of a checklist. You can make the checklist of these things and keep marking each one of them when you complete them. This is a very handy list and I use it whenever I plan a trip. This will be really helpful for you guys.
The things you need to know before your first international travel are –
Passport is your most important document for traveling internationally. This is the document which you will require for the entire trip. You will need it for booking bus tickets in a foreign country, to buy a sim card, for checking in a hotel. Make sure you have two copies of your passport. One is your original passport and second will be a digital copy which you can access anytime from your phone.
Procedure for getting a passport.
Nowadays the procedure for getting a passport is very easy. You don’t have to run to various offices as it use to happen earlier. Now you just have to fill the online form, pay the fees online and book an appointment. After booking the appointment make sure you reach the passport center 15 mins earlier with all the original documents you mention while filling out the form. Also, keep a photocopy of all your documents as you will need them. When you complete the formalities, you will be handed an application form with all your documents verified and attached to it. After the procedure is done and your passport is granted then your application will be forwarded for police verification.
A police officer will come to your house for verification. Hand him over the application form and document you get while you exit the passport center. He will just ask you a few questions and you are good to go. The average time for applying and getting your passport takes around 20-30 days unless you apply for a Tatkal passport.
Fees for Passport in India.
36 Pages Normal – Rs.1500/-
60 Pages Normal – Rs.2000/-
36 Pages Tatkal – Rs. 3500/-
60 Pages Tatkal – Rs. 4000/-
What is a visa? Many people get the concept of visa completely wrong. Visa is basically the permission to visit the following country you get from the government of that particular country. It means for every new country you visit you need to apply for the visa of that country.
There are two types of visa –
1) Pre-applied Visa (Before starting the trip).
2) Visa on Arrival (After you reach the country)
Visa on Arrival is not applicable in all the countries. Indian passport does allow us to visit some countries on Visa on Arrival. Make sure to check the list of those.
Also, you do check the rules for the visa before applying.
Documents required for visa.
b) Bank statement
c) Passport Size Photos (White background compulsory)
d) Hotel Booking (Throughout your trip)
e) Return Flight Tickets.
Speaking about visa, Thailand Government is offering free visa on arrival. Normally the charge is THB 2000 (Rs.4500 approx.) So, it is a nice chance to save Rs.4500 on your Thailand trip. The free visa is applicable till 30th April.
Now, you might be wondering why language? Well, I am not suggesting you learn the whole language, only a few words are good. Learn those words which you will need for a normal conversation. Trust me this is a big savior.
If you are traveling on a budget like me then there is a very big chance that the people you meet like in hotels, buses, shops might not know English very well. So better you learn a few words of their language.
It also helps you separate from other tourists and you feel more local with the people. The words you want to learn are
b) Thank you.
d) How much does this thing cost?
e) Where is this place?
f) My name is …….
g) You’re Welcome.
Learn a few sentences like this and you will not regret this. It is much better than going to another country without any knowledge of the local language.
Now, this is another important part of your trip. You should know the latest conversion rates of the country’s currency you wish to visit. And another important point is always keeping a track of dollar conversion rates. That will be easy for you because dollars are accepted worldwide.
Don’t exchange your money at the airport. It will definitely save you a lot of money. Using ATM is a very convenient option for everyone. Your VISA and MASTERCARD are accepted worldwide. Don’t get tricked if someone says you need to buy a traveler’s card in which you can load different currency and all that. Your card works perfectly fine everywhere.
I use an app for checking the currency rates named “XE Currency Converter And Exchange Rate Calculator”.
5) Bank Charges.
Before your trip, go to your bank and ask the extra charges that the bank levies when you do an international transaction. Also, tell them in advance as they won’t be blocking your card if your card has too many international transactions.
Normally the charges are around 3 – 5% depending on your bank.
I have an AXIS bank debit and credit card. I can withdraw cash for just a 3% fee for the total amount. ATM’s are very helpful. But make sure you withdraw all cash in one time so you won’t be charged every time you make a cash withdrawal.
6) Local Sim Cards.
Sim cards are must for a solo or any type of travelers. Yes, you might have Wi-Fi in your hotel room. But what about the time when you go out for exploring. What if you get lost and want to use google maps? Using a local sim is really helpful for you.
Do a little research about the sims beforehand and what are the best networks in the country and things like that. You should choose the card according to your itinerary. Like if you are going to an island or a something, search for the card that has good network coverage in that place. Don’t search the best sim in the whole country. Make sure you search the best sim card in a particular region you are going to visit.
Tip – Never buy sims at the airport, always buy them in the city. It will save you a lot of money.
7) Local ATM charges.
Some ATM in a different part of the world has different charges. Not every country has these charges. Double check if the country you are visiting takes any charges if you withdraw cash from the ATM.
For e.g. In Phuket, Thailand the per withdrawal cost is THB 200 (Rs.450). The country you are visiting might be having any other charges. This will give you a fair idea if you want to withdraw cash from ATM or exchange them at the airport.
8) Airport Transfers.
Airport transfers can be very expensive sometimes. In some places, there are public buses while some only have those prepaid taxis. Before you leave, check the details about the modes of transport available in the following city.
Check the distance between the airport and the city and what can be the best way to reach there. How can you travel cheap? Some airports don’t have anything, but just the prepaid taxis and those are very costly.
Most of the developed cities have everything from buses, taxis, metros, vans, etc. Those are your best option. Whenever visiting any country try to book a ticket to a very well-known city if you are on a budget and traveling solo.
I remember my visit to Malaysia. I arrived at the Kuala Lumpur airport and there were many options for me to reach the city. There were buses and taxis and metros. The best part that they were very affordable starting from around RM 12 – RM 60 (Rs.200 – Rs.1000).
9) Custom Rules.
Every country has different rules about importing and exporting things. Make sure to make a list of the things you don’t want to carry with you due to the customs.
Sometimes they don’t make a big issue about it and just confiscate certain things. But sometimes they do a thorough check-up of you so as to ensure you are not carrying anything illegal.
Some countries don’t allow the import of citrus fruits and onions and other fruits and vegetable also. I really don’t know the reason here but this happens in certain countries. Check the online site and make sure you are not carrying anything which is not allowed.
10) Airline Rules
Last but not least the airlines’ rules. This is very necessary and should be your top priority.
The things you need to check with your airlines before your trip are
a) Baggage Allowance.
Every airline has a different baggage allowance. Some have 7kg cabin baggage and some have 7 kg + 20kg cabin and check-in allowance.
Do check your Airlines website before packing your bags. The extra charges are very high and you will be in a very big loss if you are exceeding the given weight.
Budget Airlines like Air Asia only have 7 kg baggage allowance and if you want more luggage then you can buy it from their website. Anytime you book a budget-airlines make sure you check the baggage allowance properly.
b) Liquid Allowance.
Now, this is another important thing you need to check. The liquid products you have like your sunscreen, perfumes, drinks, etc. should be in a particular limit and they must be packed in a transparent bag.
Check the details on the following airlines’ page.
c) Objectionable Items.
Objectionable items like knives, scissors, batteries etc. are not permitted on the plane. If you bring these objects with you, they will straight away take it from you.
Follow every rule as per mentioned in the airlines and you won’t face any problems at the airport.
Make a checklist of all these things and you will definitely have a very hassle-free trip.
That’s it for today’s blog.
See you in my next blog.
Keep Travelling. Keep Budgeting.
Founder – Stubborn Hippie,