There are few things comparable to the joy of stepping on the plane and taking off for an overseas vacation. For most of us, packing suitcases with the right kind of clothes and shoes tends to be the priority while preparing for a foreign trip. While that is necessary, yes, there are a few other equally important things to keep in mind before travelling abroad.
1). Keep your passport and visa up-to-date
Once you’ve booked your tickets, the next step is to ensure that your passport and visa are up to date. Check that your passport has not expired. If it has, then apply for a new one – if the date of travel is close, avail the Tatkal passport service. It is advisable to get your passport ready at least a couple of months prior to your departure.
Once you have got your passport, make copies of it and carry along one with you – this is a step of precaution which will be useful in case your passport gets lost or stolen.
Next, read up on the visa requirements of the country you are visiting. A visa is a document issued by the country that permits you to travel there for a certain number of days or months. Note that every country requires either a pre-approved visa or a visa on arrival. For a pre-approved visa, you will have to apply for one and get it processed before your trip – so plan it well in advance! Visa on arrival is relatively convenient but keep in mind that the entry fees for a visa on arrival varies country to country, so make an account of that while budgeting.
Overall, it is important that you have got all your travel documents in place. The last thing you want on your trip abroad is a nasty surprise where you have to cut short your trip because you haven’t been granted a visa.
2). Get all the required vaccinations
Certain travel rules have changed post the pandemic. While earlier, vaccinations were not required barring exceptions, today, it is a good practice to ensure you have the vaccinations mandated by the country you are visiting. Because each country has different rules, regulations and restrictions, keep a constant check on the official website and travel advisory of your destination for the list of vaccinations and medical documents you would need to enter. And ensure that you follow the rules of the place to the tee.
3). Understand and carry the local currency
If you want your overseas travel to be comfortable, it is imperative that you carry adequate money with you. A wise move would be to get yourself an international debit card with a decent balance enough to see you through the duration of your stay. Most banks in India also offer travel currency cards or forex cards – these are cards where the balance can be loaded with multiple currencies and are a more secure way to handle foreign exchange. If you have a credit card, use it sparingly.
Carry a small amount of cash in the country’s currency or dollars for small expenses or unexpected emergencies. Also, remember to not carry all the cards and cash with you when you are being a happy tourist. If your wallet gets stolen, you need to have a fall back option!
4). Book your stay in advance
When you are travelling abroad, accommodation is an aspect that you don’t want to leave to the last minute. Even more so if you are travelling to a popular tourist destination. If you are heading there during peak tourist season, book your stay right away. Before you sit down to book a stay, it would be ideal to have an estimate of how much you are willing to spend on accommodation for the entire duration. Then, it’s time for research.
Spend a good amount of time on multiple travel sites to get the best stay for your budget from the 100s of options available on these sites. While zeroing in on a stay, it would be good to check how far it is from the main tourist attractions in the city and if its easily accessible by public transportation. You don’t want to be travelling 2-3 hours every day to just get to popular venues or walk back long miles after a busy day! Tip: To book a stay, don’t go by the photos of the stays. Read the reviews as well.
5). Keep an eye on the weather!
In the ideal scenario, you have booked your tickets after having studied what the weather at your destination will be like on your travel dates. If you are planning to visit any country in the West during Christmas for instance, you need to be prepared for the cold clime. Your luggage will have to include warm clothes and accessories. If you are travelling to a country that is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes or even volcanic eruptions, keep an eye on the latest weather reports and news from the country. When it’s a foreign trip, it better to be prepared than be stranded in an airport due to unexpected weather.
6). Purchase tickets for attractions in advance
Are you heading to New York and plan to visit the Metropolitan Museum? Or to Paris to see the Louvre? A tip that most seasoned travellers will give you is that before travelling abroad, it is a good idea to book tickets for attractions in advance, especially if your holiday is for a short duration. This not only helps streamline your itinerary and budget, it also reduces your chance to get disappointed.
Imagine going to the place and finding it closed either because it’s a weekly holiday or due to renovations. The same rule holds true for award-winning restaurants you may want to eat at. Most famous restaurants have long waiting lists and rarely take in walk-ins. It’s best to reserve your table before your trip. Most international cities like New York, London, Paris have passes that offer tourists with discounted packages to see their attractions and landmarks. Get one for yourself because of the savings and convenience offered.
7) Activate International Roaming On Your SIM
International roaming is a service that enables mobile users to make and receive voice calls or text messages while visiting another country. Roaming service extends the operator’s coverage to allow usage of the home operator’s mobile number and network services within a foreign country. Travelling abroad with Vi’s international roaming plan is effortless as Vi offers customized plans based on your travel destination and the duration of your trip.
To activate your international roaming service on Vi:
If you are a post-paid customer, activate the international roaming service before leaving the country.
If you are a prepaid customer from Kolkata, West Bengal, Orissa & Bihar circles, International Roaming Services need to be activated before traveling by sending ACT IR as SMS to 144 (toll-free). If you are a prepaid customer from all other circles, the International Roaming service is pre-activated.