Traveling abroad is usually a pleasantly exciting and anticipated event. Therefore, it is important to properly prepare for it in order to get a positive experience from the trip. How to do this – we will tell you in today’s article.
It is important not only to buy tickets and find accommodation. It is necessary to take into account the peculiarities of customs control, to know what difficulties may arise and much more, which we will now tell you about.
1. Preparation of documents
The first thing to do is check your passport. It is important that it is valid for 6 months from the date of the tour. If it expires soon, you will need to get a new passport. You can order it at the Administrative Services Center. A non-urgent document takes 30 days, and an urgent one can be made in a week.
When buying plane tickets, it is important to correctly enter your first and last name in Latin letters – just as it is written in your passport. If you make a mistake, there is a risk of not checking in for the flight or you will have to pay extra for the correction.
It is also important to clarify in advance the specifics of obtaining a visa. To visit some countries, you need to get it in advance, and some states provide a visa at the airport upon arrival at the airport. In some countries there is a visa-free regime.
2. Planning budget and route
Plan how much money you are willing to spend on the tour so you don’t overestimate your options. You can plan your spending by category: ticket, visa, accommodation, entertainment, souvenirs, shopping. After planning your budget, plan your route – which cities and attractions you would like to visit. Be sure to keep your budget in mind. If it is limited, do not strive to visit many places, it is better to give preference to priority areas.
3. Plane tickets
It is best to buy air tickets in advance (a couple of months before the trip) or shortly before the tour (at the last moment), when the airline needs to sell all tickets. The second option is more suitable for risky people, since it is likely that all tickets will be sold.
One of the most convenient ticket searches is the Google Airline service. Using the option, you can view the cost of tickets from the city in which the user is located. Don’t rush to buy cheap air tickets right away. Perhaps there is a catch in the low price – a lot of transplants or other inconveniences. There are countries to which it is more profitable to fly from Europe, for example, from Poland, and not from your own country. Therefore, it is best to make a comparison.
As practice shows, some airlines start selling air tickets on Tuesday. Low rates are often on Saturdays, Wednesdays or Tuesdays. To find a suitable option for the price, you can consider flights from different airports or shift dates for more than a couple of days.
4. Where to stay (accommodation) and customs clearance
The best option is to stay with your friends. But there is a nuance – in countries with a visa-free regime at customs control, you may be required to show an invitation or accommodation reservation. There are several options for how you can protect yourself from such a problem. You can ask your friends to make an invitation for you.
It is also possible to make hotel reservations with free cancellation. Cancellations can usually be made free of charge no later than 24 hours prior to arrival. Well, the extreme risky option is to tell the real situation at customs control and hope for the favor of the customs officers. It is best to find out in advance how things are at the airport in terms of customs control.
You can stop for free not only with friends, but also through the CouchSurfing service. But to be able to use the function, you will need to provide your accommodation to travelers. You can find and book accommodation on the proven Booking service or Airbnb.
It is better to search for and book accommodation immediately after purchasing air tickets. The closer to the departure date, the higher the price for accommodation can go. Read the terms and conditions of the reservation and its cancellation so as not to run into a fine if you find another accommodation option.
You can often hear recommendations to look for housing on the outskirts. But in big cities it makes sense to look for options closer to the center, so that at any time you could walk to the sights.
If you plan to visit several countries or cities, it is best to travel at night. Firstly, you can save on accommodation, and secondly, there will be more daytime on excursions.
When the issue with tickets and accommodation is resolved, it is advisable to take out medical insurance. It is especially relevant if you plan to stay abroad for more than a weekend. Situations are different, and it often happens that treatment under insurance is cheaper than issuing this document.
Find out in advance how you will travel abroad from the airport to your accommodation. You can get there by taxi (it will be more expensive) or by public transport. Use the map to plan sightseeing routes around the city. Use the Uber app or buy a public transit pass. Also plan trips between different settlements (if any). To do this, you can use the BlaBlaCar service.
A good food option for a budget holiday is cafes and restaurants for locals. They are more affordable compared to tourist establishments. In addition, this is a good opportunity to immerse yourself in the flavor of the country.
Think about how you would like to spend your time abroad. These can be excursions, walking around the city, shopping, or visiting certain events – festivals, concerts, carnivals. Make a list of entertainment, and then choose from it, for which you have enough time and money. Some countries have free museum visit days. For example, in the Louvre, from October to March is the 1st Sunday of the month. You can also visit some exhibitions and festivals free of charge.
9. Finance, communications and other important nuances
Of course, you cannot do without cash abroad. But also find out if and on what conditions your bank card can be used. Also find out which is better: use roaming or purchase a local starter pack to access the Internet. Documents that are only in electronic form must be printed for reliability.
Baggage weight and carry-on baggage parameters must comply with air transportation standards. It is best to check the weight and parameters at home in advance. Check the carrier’s website for a list of prohibited items and baggage requirements. For example, sharp objects cannot be carried in carry-on baggage. Make a list of the things you plan to take with you. Also take into account the weather conditions in the country of arrival.