Travelling internationally can lead to excitement and new opportunities. Without proper planning, however, international travel can also turn into a costly nightmare. With powerful mobile travel aids, there is no excuse for not taking the time to look up what to expect on your next international trip. Below are a few international travel hassles, which you can easily avoid by taking the time to conduct some quick research with your smartphone or computer.
Be Aware of Visa Requirements
Many countries require tourist or other kinds of visas to grant entry for international travelers. When you decide to visit a country, it’s important to research whether you’ll need to get a visa. For example, U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil need to obtain a visa before their travel date. In contrast, U.K. nationals do not need a tourist visa to enter Brazil.
You should refer to an official government page, either from your country of citizenship or the Embassy webpage for the country where you intend to travel. Do not rely solely on travel blogs or travel websites when gathering information. International travel policies are constantly changing, and relying on out-of-date advice can lead to stressful and expensive international travel binds if you arrive without the necessary visas for your country of destination.
Research Arrival and Departure Taxes
Many countries charge arrival or departure taxes. Sometimes these are included in the airfare price, but this is not always the case. These fees are also known as tourist or reciprocity taxes and may depend on your country of citizenship, as well as whether you enter by air, land, or sea. To be able to use your smartphone anytime and anywhere, make sure you are on a trusthworthy carrier with a reliable network such as T-Mobile that supports international calling
These policies can often be confusing or not consistently applied. For example, upon departure, international air travelers to Honduras must pay an exit tax of approximately $40 payable in U.S. dollars, Honduran lempiras, or by credit card. In contrast, if you enter by land, an entrance fee of just $3, usually payable only by lempiras, is sometimes assessed for foreigners. When making travel plans, don’t forget to research any potential entry or exit taxes levied upon the particular mode of travel you plan to use or for travelers with your country of citizenship.
Check Validity Requirements for Passports
Before getting on the plane, sometimes it’s not enough just to check to make sure your passport is valid. Many countries require that your passport be valid for many months beyond your planned date of departure. In most of Europe, this requirement is generally three months, while some countries like the United Kingdom require validity only for the length of your stay. Countries like Honduras, China, and Russia require a full six months of validity after your intended date of departure.
Watch Out for Multiple Airport Security Checkpoints
In some international airports, the level of security that you have to pass depends on your next destination. For example in El Salvador, only passengers with flights to the United States undergo two security checkpoints. You’ll find the second checkpoint before the waiting area for the boarding gate. Here, security officials manually search through all bags. Passengers receive a full body check, and water and most liquids are not allowed, even if you just purchased them after passing the first checkpoint.
Remember that airport security practices vary from country to country and may depend upon your next destination. To avoid hassles at international security checkpoints, don’t overpack your bags. These could be subject to manual searches, and getting everything to fit back in a tightly packed bag is time-consuming and stressful. Also, arrive with plenty of extra time to pass through all levels of security. Go directly to your gate after passing security checkpoints. This way you’ll know whether you’re good to go, and you’ll be the first to know about any last-minute gate changes.
No matter your destination, remember to stay flexible and respectful. Be patient when traveling to places with different languages and cultures from your own, and don’t hesitate to use your smartphone for quick translations and easier communication.