Booking an overseas trip can be exciting, but before you jump right in and buy a plane ticket, there are some things you should consider to ensure the trip you book will meet your expectations. Below are the key things to consider before booking an overseas trip.
It is important to check the weather trends in the country you plan to travel to.
Let’s say you are wanting to book a two week trip with friends. You want to relax on the beach drinking cocktails by day and hit the clubs at night. Thailand sounds great right? But did you know monsoon season in Thailand runs from May to November? If you are planning a beach holiday you may want to avoid wet season.
Checking the weather trends will set your expectations and give you a better understanding of what to pack.
The Exchange rate
If you are travelling on a budget, you will need to look at the exchange rate. This will help you understand the value of your money, in the country you are travelling too.
I travelled to Hawaii in 2015 when the US dollar was 60c to the Australia dollar. This made my trip much more expensive than expected and is something I wish I had considered when choosing a destination.
Vaccinations required for the country you are travelling too
Certain countries, particularly third world countries require you to get certain vaccinations. This is something you should look into before booking your tickets. A great place to start is with the Travel Doctor Site. If a country has a high level of disease risk at the current time, you may reconsider your destination choice. Or you may simply just decide that the vaccinations will cost too much and may not be worth it.
Culture and Customs
Understanding a country’s culture and customs is very important. If you want to drink cocktails by the beach at day and party all night, a destination like Dubai may not be for you. The more you know about a country before you book, the better met your expectations will be.
It is always a good idea to have a look at the Smart Traveller website before booking an overseas trip. If there are terror threats or political uncertainty, this is where you will find out about it. This may have an impact on the destination you choose to visit.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months before entering another country, but some airlines insist on six months’ validity from the date you return home. Check your passport expiry date before you book.
Many countries require a visa for entry. Some countries expect you to apply and pay for the visa before arrival whereas others are granted on entry. If you have any criminal or driving offences, you may want to check that these won’t affect your eligibility for a visa. You will also need to keep an eye out for the time restrictions. Most tourist Visas are 30 days and overstaying this visa can have harsh penalties such as a ban. It is important to understand the Visa requirements before you book an overseas holiday. For Australians, I suggest using the Smart Traveller website for information on Visas.
Flights and transport
Before choosing a destination it is a good idea to research the cost of flights, both to get there and to travel around the country. If you do plan to travel around the country, understanding how much this will cost, and how long it will take will help you set your expectations for the trip. You don’t want to arrive to find out that getting from A to B is out of your budget. I use Skyscanner to book flights. See all my travel resource recommendations here.
Knowing how much money you will need to do everything you want to do will help you when choosing a destination. Look up the cost of a hotel or hostel, cost of transport and other costs. Use this to determine how much money you will need. If you want to stay in a luxury hotel, take guided tours and drink cocktails every day, you may be better off travelling to an Asian country. For all my budgeting advice, click here.
These are all the things to consider before booking an overseas trip, but what about after you have booked? Check out my Overseas Travel Checklist.
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