Heading overseas for the first time is a life-changing experience. Nothing broadens the mind more than traveling to a foreign land and witnessing first hand its people and its culture. While traveling overseas has never been cheaper or more accessible, it can be nerve wracking. To help you enjoy a stress-free first trip, we have prepared this checklist.
Depending on where you are traveling, you may need a visa. Some visas take a long time to process, and you may have to meet specific requirements, so get in early to avoid disappointment. A passport is required every time you leave the country so make sure yours is valid and up to date. If you have never held a passport before you will need to apply for one, this can be done online or at the RMS. This process is straight forward though much like the visa can take a while to process so apply early.
Purchasing tickets and booking tours can be done online before you travel to your chosen destination. Paying for things before you leave is an excellent way of saving a heap of cash and will help you plan your trip better. Keeping track of all these tickets and receipts can be made simpler by keeping a digital copy of each document stored on an SD card or even your smartphone. It pays to keep a digital back up of all your documents on a password-protected USB drive in case the unthinkable happens, and you lose these physical papers.
Many places around the world remain cash-based, which can make things tricky for an overseas visitor. If you are traveling to a destination where cash is king, it’s wise to bring a moderate amount of physical currency before you enter your chosen country. Most countries will have international ATM’s, meaning you can use your existing bank account to withdraw funds. When using an ATM overseas beware: you will be slugged with hefty fees.
Make sure you are signed up to internet banking with your chosen bank, this will enable you to pay bills as well as receive and send money overseas. Cash cards can be purchased and preloaded with cash, but I find this option cumbersome. Internet banking has made it a snap to keep track of your funds and using your existing EFTPOS card. Withdraw moderate amounts of cash and only make withdrawals when necessary.
Insurance is another important factor to consider when planning your finances. Some countries have no safety net if you run into trouble and a trip to the hospital could send you broke and ruin your whole trip. Travel insurance can be found for not much money and offers peace of mind to the first-time traveler.
Of all the choices you can make regarding what to bring overseas, attitude is the most important. Bringing an open mind with you on your travels will open up more unique experiences than any gadget or piece of travel kit. While a visitor in a host country, you must remain respectful of their culture and traditions. Behaving in such a manner will help you integrate better and truly absorb different ways of life.
Travelling broadens the mind like no other activity, and once you catch the travel bug, there’s no turning back. Keeping yourself organized is the best way to ensure your first trip goes as smoothly as possible. Apply early for any document you may need and keep these documents safe, whether this means a lock on your bag or a backup of these documents…or both! Above all else, be open-minded and have fun on your first trip overseas!