Which travel destination is right for you? What time of the year should you travel? How do you finance your long-term trip anyway? Which documents should you not forget? And and and. Here you will find tips for your travel preparation.
Planning for a longer trip is not always easy. Especially if it’s your first time doing one. In the beginning, I also found it difficult to think about and organize everything, but over time the routine comes!
So that you know what to look out for, I’ll list the most important things here, including my personal recommendations, and then all that’s left to do is: pack your rucksack, and off you go!
Where do you want to go?
The choice of the travel destination is an important thing. Depending on how much budget you have, you can stay longer or shorter in one country. If you are flexible about your travel destination, there is a good chance that you can secure a really good deal. For example, first, travel cheaply to a neighboring country and only then continue to your desired destination. Maybe overland too?
In any case, find out whether you need a visa for your desired country and if so, which visa requirements you have to meet. In some countries, you may need, for example, a police clearance certificate or a health certificate (depending on the type of visa). More information on this below.
In addition, the weather and climatic conditions play a major role and may give you information about the time of year it makes the most sense for you to travel.
Language & Religion
Also, find out which language is spoken locally and which religion prevails. The latter can also be an indicator of how you have to behave locally in order to show the religion the respect it deserves. Such information is especially important for foreigners, for example, if you are traveling alone as a woman or if you are traveling together with your partner. Which things are okay and which are an absolute no-go?
In addition, you should also find out about the local political situation. Do you have to pay attention to something? Shouldn’t you be traveling there at the moment? You can find detailed information on this at the Federal Foreign Office.
If you are traveling as a digital nomad, find out about the internet connection in this country. How stable and how fast is it? Is it available everywhere? How much does it cost?
Withdraw currency & money
What currency do you need? What is the current exchange rate and are ATMs available everywhere?
Financing & job
How do you calculate the costs for your trip or how do you divide your budget?
In any case, your basic homework is to find out about the cost of living: What do groceries, transport, accommodation, and activities on-site cost?
By and large, you should sell everything that you no longer need. On the one hand, you can muck out a bit and on the other hand generate some income.
You can or want to sublet your apartment for the period you are traveling? Ideal!
Also, make sure that you have canceled or closed all necessary insurance policies in Germany. So you don’t have to continue paying for your car, cell phone contract, pay-TV subscription, monthly magazines, or subscriptions even though you are not there at all.
If you want to earn money locally and want to work in your profession, find out whether your future employer may need certified documents from you. Depending on the country, you may have to bring your tax number and various identification documents with you in order to be able to get a bank account and a tax number on site.
Flights are usually the most expensive part of a trip. With these tips, you can start looking for cheap flights.
- Rule 1: It is always worthwhile to compare! Check, for example, idealo.de and compare the connections and prices found with those of the provider. Also, pay attention to the flight times. Flights early in the morning or late in the evening are usually cheaper than during the day.
- Rule 2: Be flexible on the flight date. Flights can be more expensive, especially on weekends. Of course also in the main season. If you can fly during the week or even in the off-season, you can often save several hundred euros.
- Rule 3: Look out for fork flights instead of direct flights. Can you handle a stop or two? Then definitely keep your eyes open for that. This can often save you several hundred euros. Direct flights are rarely cheaper than open-jaw flights.
- Rule 4: Also, check departure airports in your area or those that you can reach with a (very) low budget. Take the train to Frankfurt for two days and see the city and then continue from Frankfurt Airport. Or fly cheaply to London, Vienna, or Norway, spend three relaxing days on-site and then continue straight away. There are many options.
- Rule 5: You don’t really care about your travel destination, the main thing is that you get away? Then check out the “take me somewhere”. This throws you out the cheapest travel destinations according to prices. There is sure to be a bargain!
- Rule 6: Check travel comparison portals and bargain sites, Sites like these often look for, find and negotiate great deals with tour operators, flight providers, or hotels and often present you with fabulous bargains. If you subscribe to their newsletter, you will usually receive these findings sooner than others. Because here applies: first come, first served.
- Rule 7: Fly with low-cost airlines. Ryanair, EasyJet, AirAsia, AirLingus, or Vueling are just a few of them. I’ve been out with everyone and couldn’t complain.
- Rule 8: Travel with hand luggage instead of checked-in luggage. On long-haul flights, one piece of luggage weighing up to 20 kg is usually included in the price. But not with low-cost airlines. This charges an extra fee for checked-in luggage. However, if you only travel with hand luggage, you can save yourself this fee.
The important thing here is simply that you compare. This can take a lot of time, but in return, it can be financially worthwhile for you! Especially when your budget is limited.
Also Read: Hepatitis Protection For Travelers
Find the best accommodations
Especially after an exhausting and long day of sightseeing, it is nice to come to your own four walls. It does not matter whether it is a hostel room, a guest house, hotel room or complete accommodation. You just want to feel good in it.
You will find what you are looking for via these portals:
At Airbnb, private individuals offer a free room in their apartment, but often also rent out entire apartments, which you then have all to yourself (or together with your friends).
Airbnb is a great platform to come into direct contact with locals. They can give you tips or have a beer together. To be honest: can a stay in a strange city be even cooler?
Never booked through Airbnb before? Then I’ll give you € 25 on your first night if you book via this link here!
You can get hotel rooms and bungalows worldwide via booking.com.
Many hotels can be canceled free of charge if you have to cancel or reschedule the trip without further ado. This is definitely super practical and you retain your flexibility.
Agoda.com is the Asian equivalent of booking.com. My husband and I also booked through this a number of times during our trip to Asia.
It’s super easy and quick with a credit card.
You can find cheap accommodation in hostels or hotels at hostelbookers.com.
Same same but different: hostelworld.com
It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: Free accommodations can also be found around the world. This then runs through couch surfing and house sitting!
Documents & money
The most important thing of all: your passport. Without him, nothing works outside the EU!
You should therefore check in good time that it is still valid for at least six months when you enter the country. If not, remember to apply for a new one early. Depending on the municipality/city, this can take up to six weeks.
Also, find out whether your destination country has any requirements for your passport. I have now read somewhere that sometimes you have to have a certain number of free pages in your passport in order to get a stamp. Therefore it is better to inform too much than too little.
Another important criterion: the condition of your passport.
It has now happened to a friend of mine that they almost did not want to let him leave Germany because he had stuck his passport on the fold. This is not allowed on an official document. But after some back and forth he was allowed to leave the country. Also, make sure that there are no kinked corners or loose and torn pages. In extreme cases, you are not allowed to leave or enter. And that would be pretty annoying.
Boarding school Driving license
Do you want to drive a car or a scooter in your destination country? Then you definitely need an international driver’s license. Take care of this in good time.
Note: The international driver’s license is only valid in conjunction with your original German driver’s license!
As mentioned above, you have to check whether you need a visa to enter the country. The same applies if you want to work on-site.
If a visa is required, carefully review the associated visa requirements.
- Do you have to certify or submit anything to get your visa?
- By when do you have to leave the country despite having a visa?
How much does it cost to extend the visa on-site, if necessary, or what fees are due if you overdraw (but the latter should be treated with caution: In extreme cases, you will be officially expelled from the country, you will also get a fine and a (temporary) Entry ban).
In most cases, a valid ticket is required upon entry, which confirms your departure at a certain time. In some countries, such as Australia or New Zealand, it is enough if you can prove to them, instead of a ticket, that you have the necessary financial means to buy your ticket.
If you cannot or do not want to prove one or the other, you should at least book a flight that you can then cancel after your entry.
Request to forward mail to parents/friends
Is your apartment empty or sublet in the meantime? Then make sure that your mail is being redirected reliably. And preferably to your parents or friends.
They can then inform you about all the letters they have received once a week. So you won’t fail to settle any outstanding bills or forget other important things.
Create digital copies of all documents
Very important: Make copies of all important documents (passport, visa, international driver’s license, ID, foreign health insurance, etc.).
Print out all of them as a backup for you on the go, save them digitally on your laptop, in the cloud, or in your email program and also send them to someone you trust – just in case of an emergency.
In addition: Take copies of the receipts for your laptop, smartphone, e-book reader, camera, tablet & Co. with you – in case you have to provide this proof when entering or leaving the country so as not to pay taxes.
Important addresses & telephone numbers
An accident or an emergency can also occur on the go. Therefore, always write down the numbers of the police, emergency services, and fire brigade of the respective country in your mobile phone or on a piece of paper that you always have with you.
You should also have the blocking hotlines for bank accounts written down somewhere so that you don’t waste time in case of doubt.
When entering the country, you will sometimes be asked where you will live. So write down the address of your hotel on a piece of paper so that you can show it. Even if you are only staying temporarily in this accommodation.
Also important: always carry the phone number of your emergency contact with you. If something happens to you in the meantime and you cannot be contacted, a small card with the most important contact details will help the helpers and the local police.
When traveling, you should have at least two credit cards and at least two EC cards with you per person. In the event that you get stolen or one suddenly stops working.
In addition, always inform your bank when changing country, not that they will block your cards for you because they suspect that they have been stolen.
Have a medical check-up
Before you go on a big trip, you should have yourself checked from head to toe at home.
Talk to your family doctor about your planned trip and where exactly you want to go.
Maybe you still need a booster of the basic vaccinations? Or special travel vaccinations? Then clarify this early on, because several weeks often have to pass between vaccinations before you have complete vaccination protection.
You don’t really like flying that much and are you always very nervous? Your family doctor can certainly prescribe something for this too.
And if in doubt, ask him which travel medication he would recommend. This is how you make sure that you don’t forget anything.
If you regularly rely on special medication (and you may have large quantities of it with you), have a medical certification/certificate issued for you, which you can show to the foreign authorities if in doubt.
Have everything checked again at the dentist – so you go abroad with a safer feeling without having to worry about whether the nasty tugging should not have been treated.
Also, visit your gynecologist again. On the one hand, to have your normal preventive medical check-up, on the other hand, to also ask about contraception.
Do you need the pill for a year? Do you still want to switch to another method of contraception or do you still need something for period pain? Your gynecologist will be happy to help you and may even be able to give you a contact point abroad. Just in case, of course.