Travel Planning: Passport, Visas and Travel Insurance

Mark Stewart Travel Planning Leave a Comment

#1 – Passport

Having a passport is the first thing you need when crossing borders into another country. Make sure to apply for a passport at least a month (preferably several) before your trip to make sure it arrives with plenty of time before your trip. Getting the picture taken is a feat in itself. There needs to be no glare, no smile, no smirk and exactly correct. If the passport office finds one tiny detail wrong with the photo, your entire application will be sent back. So again, make sure you have enough time before your trip.

If you already have a passport, make sure it will be valid for at least 6 months from the end of your trip. Most countries require this and may turn you away at the border if it isn’t, costing you a lot of money. And your travel insurance will not reimburse you for mistakes you made yourself.

Pro Tip
Once you have your passport in hand, make a photocopy of it. Give this photocopy to a friend that is back home to keep in a safe place. If you ever lose your passport abroad you can get your friend to send your photocopy to you (email or fax directly to the embassy) to get you well on your way to a new one.

#2 Visa

Depending on your nationality, visas will be required to enter certain countries. Sometimes it is applied for ahead of time, while others are given to you upon arrival into the country.
 
Check these websites to see if you need a visa to enter the country you would like to go to.

These websites will also tell you if it is safe to go to these countries and if there is a level of caution and where to stay away from if need be.

The IATA website works for everyone telling you all relevant information regarding your trip to another country. Enter all the information and it will tell you Passport, Visa and Health Requirements.

Colourful town square with a colonial church under grey clouds.

Many countries offer Visa’s on Arrival
Some Countries have special fees included, like the one Canadians pay to Enter Colombia

#3 Travel and Medical Insurance

Getting sick on the road is something that we hope never happens to anyone on their travels. Some countries it is quite easy to get a basic doctors appointment and usually relatively cheap. For basic illnesses and doctor visits, travel insurance usually won’t cover you.

What travel insurance is for are serious situations. Getting incredibly ill or injured and requiring a hospital visit. You don’t want some back-alley clinic repairing your wounds, you’re going to want the best care available. And in many countries, getting proper care without insurance can be difficult.

Even if you don’t plan on bungee jumping or performing crazy stunts, you could still get quite hurt. Accidents happen just as they can back home, you’re going to want to be covered. We have heard too many horror stories of people who didn’t have insurance and are still paying off that broken arm they got on their travels years previous.

We also have a friend who needed to be airlifted from the Everest Basecamp trek in Nepal. He developed tonsillitis, something that could have happened anywhere. Thankfully, he had travel insurance. The helicopter ride may have bankrupted him otherwise.
 
For trips that are a year and under we recommend World Nomads. For more information on World Nomads and Insurance, check them out below!

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