While most people have travelled internationally at some point, there are still others who have not gone beyond the domestic terminals. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with it, we were all first-time international travellers and travelling to local destinations are as satisfying too.
But a lot of us remember our first international travel. Bumbling in the airport, looking closely at the gate numbers — in fact, we aren’t even on board the plane yet and we already look like a tourist. So to help some of you with your first foray with an immigration officer and looking at overseas travel insurance packets, here are important things you should know before you board that plane.
Preparing the important travel documents may be time-consuming
There are a lot of nightmare stories out there from other travellers. Some have found it hard to prepare for visa requirements while others don’t know what to look for when it comes to getting travel insurance. The first thing you need to know is the experience may not be too easy on you as well. Depending on the country you want to go to, there are a set of requirements that you need to prepare, the most common ones are:
- Photocopy of a government-issued ID other than the passport
- Statement of account
- ID picture with your name written behind it
- Certificate of Employment (if you’re not self-employed)
Some embassies will also ask for your itinerary, which includes the hotel you plan on staying and the activities and sights you plan on doing. You will also be asked for a fee, and the price range will also depend on how exclusive and rigorous the background check will be. Now, don’t be intimidated by the process because this is just one of the ways countries make sure they are only allowing good-intentioned people to come in.
As for travel insurance, you should pay close attention to the following inclusions:
- Medical treatment and evacuation
- Cancelled and missed flights, interrupted trip
- Personal liability
- Lost or damaged items
You need to be able to discuss the amount covered for each inclusion and agree on the list of items that will get coverage.
Learn the basics of the country you are going to
You don’t need to learn basic language structures, of course. But you should at least know how to say:
- Yes and no
- Simple greetings like “hello”, “thank you”, and “you’re welcome”
- Counting numbers (only from 1-10 is fine)
Most importantly, you should know how currency works in the country. You can download apps that can help you convert your money’s local value, but it won’t be able to teach you how the money works locally. There are countries where the value is straightforward, you can easily learn how to use the money. But in place where there are pennies, nickels, dimes, and whatnot — it’s going to get your head hurt.
Try not to be too adventurous for your first trip
Because you’re still getting your bearings, try to avoid spontaneity and instead plan your trip well. You will have a chance to be as adventurous as you can possibly want to on your next trips. But because you aren’t used to differing environments yet, stick to a planned itinerary.
The key to a good travel is planning ahead, and doubly so if this is your first international trip. So keep these tips in mind and make sure you’re more than prepared for your much awaited trip.