Travelling out of your country can be very exciting. There is always this euphoria that comes with preparing for the trip, packing of clothes and planning the location to visit. Amidst this excitement, your travel document is of immense importance. It is a crucial part of the trip which you certainly don’t want to forget. Thus, in this series of Expand your Travel Knowledge, we will be discussing the essential documents you should have when travelling out of your country.
The first essential travel document you should have is your passport. A valid Passport is your legal ID and gateway to travel outside your country of residence. Your passport ID is also the piece that carries your Visa when approved. Therefore, it is pertinent that you acquire it before travel.
The next most essential travel document you must have is your Visa. Visa acquisition can be strenuous. This is especially when going to the embassy for visa interviews or browsing online contents to understand likely questions that may be asked at the embassy.
When approved, a visa grants you access and entry into the country you want to visit. To confirm your Visa has been approved, there is a small stamp on your passport that provides conditional permission for entering the country for a specific period. Also, take note that there are countries that grant you on-arrival- visas.
Now that you have received your Visa, the excitement certainly will have no bounds but you need to Pulse! Take a deep breath, bring out your Visa and confirm the following;
First, the date the visa was issued and the valid date of expiration. Knowing the date a Visa was approved compared to when you got it helps you measure the time you have left and plans you have to put in place. Validity date, on the other hand, explains the last day you are entitled to enter into a certain country or the date your visa expires.
Please note, staying beyond the valid date makes you an absconder and can incur a fine, deportation or even permanent visa denial into that country. These would give you a bad image with immigration.
Moreso, if you’re travelling to any of the Schengen countries, the validity of your visa isn’t the same as the duration of your stay. You have to confirm and take deliberate steps to plan your itinerary within the verified duration. Thus, immediately you realize you’re staying beyond the valid period, you have to apply for a visa extension.
Passing through the Schengen countries to board a connecting flight requires a connecting visa or a Transit Schengen Visa. This visa is what permits you to pass through the airports in Schengen countries. A passenger flying to another part of Schengen or moving out of the airport must have a tourist visa or a Schengen type C visa.
Now that you are well-informed about Visa acquisition, the next essential travel document you need for your trip is an air ticket. Booking a flight ticket is very important. No flight ticket, no air travel and without air travel, then your beautiful visa will expire right before your eyes.
You can either choose to book your flight tickets online or employ the service of a ticketing officer. When booking tickets yourself, you should check various air platforms to compare flight prices and pick the choicest airline to fly with. See curated booking platforms here.
Beyond booking your flight ticket, you must have a printed copy of your ticket when going onboard or face printing the document at an exorbitant rate in the airport.
Another travel document you don’t want to miss is the evidence of your accommodation booking cum itinerary – especially if you’re on a tourist visa. You may also want to keep a copy of the hotel address, invitation by friends and family or evidence of online booking. Failure to take this may result in a brawl between you and immigration officials at the immigration counter.
Though very little importance is attached to Travel Insurance, having it is of huge importance. Your travel insurance serves as a cover in the face of emergencies, trip cancellation or loss of luggage. The insurance helps you get reimbursed in case of occurrences in the course of your journey.
Travelling without extra copies of your document can be very embarrassing. You certainly don’t want to be caught in a fix. You must have at least three copies each for every travel documents. Note that a copy of your documents should be left at home with your next of kin, in case of a mishap. Another may be given to your friend and the last copy should be in your possession.
Please put all your documents in a waterproof bag to prevent them from getting smothered in case of natural disasters or water spillage.
Getting your travelling document right will save you the stress, embarrassment and immigration issues. Have them handy and available before taking that next trip!
Keep up with our blog for the next series on Expanding your travel knowledge. Till then, I say enjoy your next trip.
Written by Victoria Ilori