Top 10 Things to Do Before Travelling Overseas
photo by: Mangal Daydreamer
1 Check passport expiry date and arrange necessary visas
The first and most important thing to check before you plan your next venture in the vast world is your Passport. It is crucial you check the expiry date of your passport and apply for a new one ASAP if it is going to be expired while you are overseas. Additionally, most people are not aware of their passport limitations and restrictions. Therefore, it is imperative you research the country you are travelling to and check if your passport allows a Free Visa Travel or you need to Apply for a Visa beforehand. You can go to Passport Index website to explore what countries require a visa before travelling.
For those who are planning their overseas travel for the first time, ensure you apply for a passport as soon as possible. It can take anywhere between 3 to 12 weeks depending on your country of residence.
2 Get Travel insurance for the duration of visit
Travelling overseas can be tricky, as you will be new to the environment and people. Insurance is generally important in life as anything can happen in the next second of your life. It is always wise to stay covered, especially when travelling overseas, travel insurance covers you for medical emergencies, deaths, injuries, flight delays, car rentals and so on.
It does not cost much and gives you a peace of mind while travelling. Some of the travel insurance costs you about $3 – $4 a day. One of the websites I found handy is Compare the market, click here to go to their website.
3 Apply for International Driving Permit (IDP) if you are planning to drive
This is going to be part of your research before travelling. If you are planning to drive while overseas, you must check if you will be able to rent/drive a vehicle around in that country. For example, I thought my Australian license would allow me to drive in most countries since it is written in English. However, when I was planning to go to South Korea and upon research, I found out, I had to apply for an international driving permit if I wanted to drive.
Again, travel insurance came handy on this one, as it would cover me for about $3000 for motor vehicle damage.
In Australia, you can apply for an IDP from NRMA website. Click here for the link.
4 Order Foreign Cash
The exchange rates are always low with high fees at the airports and it is way too much hassle to look for an exchange shop or bank while overseas. There are many ways of ordering foreign cash while you’re still in the country. Big banks like Commonwealth bank also exchange it for you for a fee. Upon researching online to get most out of my bucks, I stumbled onto Travelex website. They ended up giving me higher rates of exchange with no fees whatsoever. Also, you can choose a nearby post office to pick your money up for Free. Please note: The process takes about a week before you can collect your foreign cash. Please plan accordingly.
Edit: My recent travel to South Korea has shed some light to this. I have realised, exchanging it at the airport of destination country gives you more exchange rate than in Australia. Also, if you exchange it in the town of the country you are visiting, would guarantee you more exchange rate. For example, The exchange rate I received in Australia was 760 Korean Won for 1 AUD, whereas, at the Korean airport, it was 805 Korean Won and in the town/business district area was about 845 Won.
5 Order Cash Passport (Multi Currency Card)
Some of the good things about Cash Passport is it locks in the exchange rate at the time of purchase and you can load multiple currencies on the same card. The other advantage of cash passport is that it is not connected to your bank account and it minimises the risk in case of fraud or theft. It is good to research exchange rate at the time of purchase and the fees associated with it.
If you are planning to use your own personal bank card while overseas, it is best to notify your bank about your travels via net banking/by calling. It would be troublesome if they block/cancel your card while overseas. This measure can be taken by the bank to minimise the loss.
6 Get flu shots and vaccinations
As fun as it is to travel and explore the world, we also need to be aware of the chances of us contracting diseases. While many infectious diseases have been controlled in Australia, it is not the case in many countries. Many of which are vaccine preventable and it is essential that you visit your doctor at least 6 weeks prior to venturing out in the world. Don’t let preventable disease ruin your exploration.
7 Check the weather
Check the weather of the country you are visiting before you pack your bags. Make sure you pack the essentials from sunscreen to shades and jackets. When I travel, even if I visit a warmer country, I make sure I have at least one jumper/jacket with me just in case.
8 Pack light and right
Make sure you pack the right amount of clothing, nothing more nothing less. You will end up shopping a lot even if you are planning not to, from souvenirs to clothing. It is also wise to pack under 5-10 kgs allowance for the baggage, it allows you extra room to bring back your binge shopping spree products. Be aware of extra charges for the excessive baggage before you shop. It might cost you more to bring it back than buy it.
Lastly, make sure your carry-on and checked baggage meets the requirements including Dangerous Goods.
9 Backup and empty your phone
In this day and age, people are obsessed with taking photos/selfies and most of us use our smartphones to take thousands of photos. It is very important the phones have plenty of space to capture the moments and monuments of the new place you are visiting. It would be a shame if you can’t capture the perfect moment because the device memory is full.
10 Pack necessary electronics and the correct chargers with the adaptors
Electronics are the essential part of our lives and especially when travelling, we use them to capture memories and to stay connected with our friends and family. Electronics are great; unfortunately, it won’t work without the juice in it, and it needs to be charged regularly. To ensure we can keep on using our devices, we need to pack the right chargers for it. Also, some of the countries have a different power outlet, so it is a good idea to buy the adaptor before you leave.