Recently I was watching a video about people obtaining their visas for the country that they are living in. It brought to mind the importance of planning ahead. Now, I have gone on spur of the moment trips before, but only one that was international. While it was a great experience, I would definitely recommend more planning than I did at the time. Yes it can be tempting to book a cheap flight somewhere but internationally you have to be cautious, the last thing you want to happen is to touch down in your destination and you have to go right back home because you don’t have the right paperwork. If you are from the USA you can travel to several places without a visa for less than 90 days, typically (this is true for many countries like Canada, UK, EU, etc). So whether you are American or not, please check your country’s travel rules to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Another thing to be aware of is vaccinations. Some countries require that you have certain vaccinations and you have to bring proof of it to the airport. Note: Vaccinations proof is needed based on the countries that you are coming from, not necessarily your country of citizenship. So if you are country-hopping this might apply to you.
I personally do not have experience with getting a visa before my trip, but I have heard other peoples experiences. Each country is different and from what I have heard from others, it can be a relatively easy process or a long and annoying one. Some people have gotten their visa as late as the day of their flight or later, delaying their plans. If you are planning a trip, and you need a visa, give yourself a wide window for the process, if you can help it.
Other important things to keep in mind with travel is there are quite a few countries that require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after you get there. That means if you’re planning on going there in May 2018 and your passport expires in August 2018, you can’t go, but if it expires in November, you are good to go. Please check your country’s rules, don’t make any assumptions and keep your passport up to date.