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Thing to do Before Travel - Planning

Take out Travel Insurance -
Illness or injury on an overseas trip can be a financial disaster. We know of families that have been bankrupted of forced to sell of assets such as homes and securities to pay medical bills. Consult with your travel agent about a policy that suits you. Everyone should insure for medical, hospital and medical evacuation. Ask for coverage for pre-existing conditions. Coverage for loss of deposits, tickets, baggage and money is sensible. Get coverage for what you plan to do. Insurers should ensure their insurance covers them for their entire time away including the day of departure and day of arrival back home. Make sure that your travel insurance is appropriate.

Read up on where you are going
Also check developments at your destination by reading country-specific travel advices available on the internet or in the news. Most news and media outlets have web sites to keep you up-to-date with developments both at home and overseas.

Keep in regular contact
Conatct with friends and relatives back in your home country by phone or e-mail, and leave a travel itinerary.

Don’t carry illicit drugs.
Some countries such drug offences carry the death penalty.

Get the necessary visas
For the country or countries you are visiting - but be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry. A visa is a permit to travel to another country. It goes in your passport. You may be charged for it.

  • Weather you are on a visa or visa-free, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the time you enter.
  • A visa does not necessarily guarantee you entry to a country, particularly if authorities suspect you intend to contravene the conditions upon which the visa issues. Find out early about the visas that you need. Ask the embassies of countries you want to visit, or your travel agent or airline.
  • Visa rules are not simple and they change. Some countries require visas even for a short transit stop. Others may turn you back if they find a visa for a country they don’t like in your passport. The United States and many European countries have visa-free entry for tourists, but the rules are inflexible and strictly enforced.
  • When you apply for a visa, be honest about yourself and your plans. Take notice of the visa conditions. Plan to give consistent answers to questions at the barrier when you land or you could be turned back.

Protect and secure your personal information. Make two photocopies of:

  • Your itinerary
  • Your passport details - a copy of the photo page will do
  • Your phone card details
  • Your travelers cheques and credit card numbers
  • Your driver’s licence or international driving permit
  • Your insurance policy.
  • Carry one copy and leave a copy with someone at home. Note their phone number and address on the copy you take with you.

Plan to stay healthy. Consult your doctor or travel health specialist before you travel and discuss how to manage ay illness that you may have, your vaccination requirements and weather you should take medication to prevent malaria.

  • You should find out what vaccinations are required at least six weeks before you intend to travel. However, some vaccines can require several doses to be given over three months to be effective. If you are traveling to Africa or South America you may require a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Vaccination for common diseases such as tetanus, influenza, measles and hepatitis A or B is recommended. Special arrangements may be required for children who have not completed their vaccination schedule before they travel.
  • In some cases special vaccination requirements may apply for international religious events. You should check these requirements with the relevant national embassy at least three months before you trip.
  • Disease risks can vary between regions within a country. You should check with local sources before traveling to remote areas.
  • Some countries restrict entry of HIV +ve travelers. Ask the embassy of the country of the AIDS Council in your area.
  • Take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Wear light colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs and regularly apply an insect repellent which contains “DEET.” Yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria are common diseases in many tropical countries. Your doctor can tell you how to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria. Take the necessary things with you.
  • Both prescription and over-the-counter medicines which are legal in your country may be illegal in another country. Find out before you go.
  • DVT - Long distance travel by road, rail or aircraft may involve prolonged periods of inactivity. This is believed to be one risk factor for the formation of blood clots in the veins of the legs (known as Deep Venous Thrombosis or DTV)
    • 1. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids
    • 2. Regularly exercise the lower limbs to encourage blood flow
    • 3. Wear loose, non-restrictive clothing and avoid crossing your legs
    • 4. Avoid using sleeping tablets or other sedation in flight.

There is a range of other risk factors, including increasing age, obesity, pregnancy, cancers and heart disease, recent surgery or lower limb injuries, and use of oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy. If you are at a higher risk, we recommend that you consult your doctor before flying.

  • Carrying Medication. If you are carrying prescription medicines out of your country for your own personal use, leave the medicines in their original packaging and carry a letter from your doctor or dentist describing the need for the medicine and quantity supplied. You should contact embassies of the countries you are visiting to determine if the medicines are prohibited. If your medication requires injection, purchase only unbroken sterile packs or needles and syringes, or carry your own supply if this is acceptable to the country you are visiting.
  • Mental illness
    Patients suffering form mental illness are often faced with unfamiliar environments which can exacerbate feelings of fear and bewilderment. This can be particularly true of those suffering from mental illness or depression.
    If you have a history of mental illness and are traveling, it is recommended that you take adequate supplies of prescribed medication, a spare prescription and a letter from your doctor advising your medical needs. If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Don’t take illicit drugs.
  • Special needs
    Many countries do not provide wheelchair access or cater for people with other special needs. Talk to someone who has been to places you want to go. Consult a travel guide for people with special needs.
    Carry additional copies of your passport photo with you.
    For longer stays in a country, or where the security situation is volatile, register your details with your local embassy or consulate as soon as possible.
  • Planning your trip Study your destination before you go - it will save you time and make your travel experience more enjoyable. Its society, beliefs and natural environment may differ from those of your country. Learn about the people and be sensitive to their differences. If you don’t speak the language, learning basic phrases is a good idea.
  • You are not immune to the laws of the country you visit. When you step off the plane, its laws apply to you.
    Drug-related offences can result in execution or life sentences Dual nationals can be conscripted.
  • How to get travel advise
  • Visit your country’s web site for travel advice. Country specific travel advice is regularly updated and an e-mail subscription service is usually available.
  • When overseas, telephone or fax your country’s overseas post and ask to speak to a member of the consular staff.
  • Dual Nationality
    If you or your parents were born in another country, it may regard you as its citizen or national even though you hold a passport from another country. This is called “dual nationality.” Some countries automatically give citizenship to people who marry their citizens.
  • Dual nationality can be a good thing, but it can create serious problems too. A country may not permit other consular assistance to be given to a person of dual nationality who, according to its laws, are considered to be its own nationals. Some countries may not regard you as a citizen of another country unless you are traveling on your other passport. You may need to contact embassies of both countries before you travel.
  • If you hold another country’s passport, seek advice about using it.
  • Accommodation
    No matter what country you are visiting, accommodation is an important ingredient for your trip. Staying in a good place can make your trip memorable and fun, but staying somewhere unsuitable can ruin everything.
    For peace of mind, it’s always best to pre-book accommodation for your first few nights in a foreign country until you find your feet. The best way to do this is to stay with a reputable accommodation chain. Depending on your taste and budget, this could be anything from a youth hostel to a Hilton hotel.
    If you are traveling alone and on a budget, youth hostels are a good place to meet fellow travelers as they have communal areas, like TV rooms and Internet Cafes.
  • Tips for women travelers
    Take plenty of feminine hygiene products you use. If you use contraceptives, pack a good supply along with reliable condoms.
    Learn about local dress standards for women. Find out weather bag and jewellery snatching is a problem at your destinations. Be aware that in some societies man may harass a woman traveling alone. Plan to avoid risky situations and stay in secure rooms.
    If you are the in the last trimester of pregnancy you should seek medical advice before traveling and check with your airline about any restrictions that may apply.
    If you are breastfeeding, find out if it is tolerated in public. This can affect your plans. If expressing milk, take the equipment you need.
    If you are the victim of sexual assault while traveling overseas, contact your embassy as soon as possible .
  • Traveling with small children
    If you are taking a baby or a small child overseas, stock up on nappies and other essentials. It is also important to talk about your needs with the airline office when planning your trip - especially seating arrangements for infants and toddlers. Fid out what baby products are available at your destination.
    weather you’re a man or a woman, traveling with small children means you won’t have hands free for all the bags. Be aware that you are more vulnerable to pickpockets and thieves.
  • Money
    Ask your travel agent or bank how to take money overseas. Travelers cheques and credit cards can be safest. But in some places credit cards can be of limited use, especially in Africa. Buy some foreign currency for phone calls, transport and tips on arrival. Find out about currency laws in countries you will visit - some are restrictive.
  • Driving overseas
    Don’t assume you can use your driving licence overseas. You can get an international driving permit for the auto club or association of your country. Do not get a driving permit via the Internet - they are illegal. Budget to insure for yourself, passengers, the vehicle and third party. Renting a car usually requires a credit card.
  • Things you cannot take with you
    You must not pack any of the following in your luggage: corrosives, gases, toxic substances, explosives, asbestos, dry ice, engines, infectious substances, flammable liquids, organic peroxides, radioactive materials, flammable solids, and oxidizing or magnetized materials.