I am not a seasoned traveller – 2016 will feature my first major expedition. I hope to have a whole pool of wisdom to share on my return, but at the moment, I haven’t got much to give. But I thought I would jot down a few pointers in the direction of visas, which can be very tricky indeed. You need certain documents in certain countries just to visit, not even necessarily to work there. I hope this post will be like a guiding light through the maze of visas.
1) Ask your travel agent/advisor. After we got stuck filling in form after form online, we headed back to STA to seek advice, which was handed to us by the bucketload. Most people at STA have travelled aplenty so can offer real, current advice, not just read from a script. When the agent was unsure, she told us so and also told where to go for more comprehensive information.
2) Visit the British Foreign Office website, and click the Travel Advice link. This clear and clever website will deliver information on hundreds of countries. From disease risk to local laws, the most helpful section to the budding traveller is the entry requirements. Study and complete this agenda before you even pack up your rucksack.
3) Read the form carefully. Visas language is in a world of its own, and it’s a confusing one. Sometimes, the sites for the visas have been translated into English and therefore risk an error of communication. Read, read again, fill in, then read once more to check you’ve fully understood. The chap was left doing one form three times before discovering it was not the right one in the first place! Read to see if the form needs to be filled in online, or in person. Read to check if there will be any charges. Read to check you even need the visa in the first place. READ.
Fellow explorers, do let me know if this post was of any use at all. We are getting so close to setting off, yet there is still so much to do. At least we’ve got fun things like Christmas and upcoming birthdays to keep us in good spirits. Glad tidings to all.