Planning Your Trip – Passports, Visas and More
Passports and Visas
If you’re traveling overseas, one simple way to save money is to ensure you have your passport long before you depart. DO NOT procrastinate with your passport and/or Visas.
You will save money and reduce stress by having your passport in-hand early. There are procedures for getting your passport quickly, but you will pay dearly for that luxury. RushMyPassport.com is a valuable resource if you are in a time crunch. Start by understanding what is required to get a passport.
Do you need a Visa to your destination(s)? You should apply months ahead of schedule. If you are traveling to multiple destinations, ensure you have all of your mandatory required visas before you leave. Some countries, such as Mexico (and many others) allow you to purchase your visa as you enter the country. Ensure you keep your visa paperwork in a safe place, as you will need this documentation to exit the country as well. Use the Online Visa Requirements Checker website to learn and understand what the requirements are for your destinations.
Scan or take pictures with your mobile phone and email to yourself; your passport, driver license, insurance and any other documents you may need on the road. You can always get to any internet café and download your documents if they were lost or stolen.
Great free scanning app: JotNot
The CDC has a great immunizations webpage that lists places that require (or is a good idea to have) vaccinations prior to departure. We suggest visiting or calling your local Travel Doctor to get more information on immunizations for the areas you will be visiting. Both can explain the travel safety protocols for the regions. The last thing you want to do is spend more money on costly medications or hospital visits while traveling. Some countries require travelers to have vaccinations before you enter.
Side note: Blood donors who travel to malarial areas may be disqualified from giving blood upon their return.
Check with the RedCross.
Travel Health Insurance
Some countries mandate travel health insurance.
There are several types of travel insurances. We have only used Divers Alert Network insurance for our mandatory insurance when we sailed to French Polynesia. Of course there are many others, including Travelex Insurance.
Student ID Card
You can save a considerable amount of money at hotels, hostels, rail passes and much more by getting an International Student ID Card (ISIC).
I don’t recall how I did it, but I did manage to get one of these cards without actually being a student, well, let’s just say, “being creative.” It saved me quite a bunch of money in while traveling in Europe.
To be eligible for the ISIC, you must be a student, age 13 or over, currently enrolled at an accredited institution and matriculating towards a diploma or a degree. Sorry, but you can’t be in a continuing education or language school to be eligible. The card is valid for 1 year from the date it was issued.
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