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What to remember before travelling this summer

Lost Coast backpacking by Melanienacouzi, via Wikimedia CommonsOne of the great advantages of being a student is the freedom to travel during the summer months of your university years before you enter the world of work. Going travelling allows you to explore new cultures, meet new people and create fantastic memories, so it is no wonder we see so many of our tenants set off with backpacks filled to the brim, ready to explore all that the world has to offer.

Visa and money

Many countries require you to have a visa for entry, which - depending on the country - can be free or will cost you money. Some countries may also charge for additional entry paperwork, e.g. the US charges about $14 for their compulsory ESTA form. Visas should generally be acquired before you arrive in the country - although in some countries such as Egypt UK and EU inhabitants don’t need a visa and just get their passports stamped at the airport on arrival -, so it’s important to research this, especially if you’re planning to travel to several countries. In doubt, don’t hesitate to contact the embassy of the country you’re going to. Once you have your tourist visa, you need to make sure you keep an eye on how long you are allowed to be in the country for and plan your travels accordingly.

Unless you’re travelling to somewhere extremely remote then there will usually be somewhere to change money and get cash out. However, it’s good to take some local currency and a travel money card with you, available from travel agents or the post office.

Injections and insurance

In certain countries there are diseases we do not have in the UK and to protect yourself you will need injections. This is of paramount importance as many of these diseases can be very serious and in some cases even deadly. Several jabs require two doses which may need to be administered over a number of weeks or even months before your trip, therefore, the NHS recommends that you visit your GP well in advance of your departure date to discuss what injections you may need and how much they will cost you.

For injuries and eventualities that an injection won’t cover it is crucial to purchase a good travel insurance policy. You must make sure that the insurance plan covers you for the whole time you are away and you will need to check all the small print to understand what you are and are not covered for - if you plan on doing some potentially dangerous activities such as scuba-diving, mountain hiking or more simply skiing, make sure your policy covers it.

Passport picture by Chris Fleming on FlickrAccommodation

If you’re not great at planning holidays, the more popular travel destinations will likely have a selection of hotels and hostels that won’t require you to book in advance, allowing you to be more spontaneous with your plans. However, if you are visiting a place because of an event such as Thailand’s Full Moon Party or the Rio Carnival, then we suggest trying to book somewhere before you go, as places will book up pretty quickly and there will be a steep spike in prices. You don’t want to end up paying over the odds for somewhere that’s far away from all the action.

Plan, plan, plan

There’s no point spending a huge amount of money on flights, jabs, visas and supplies if you end up returning home not having done everything you wanted to. Make a list of the top things you’d like to do whilst you’re travelling whether it’s riding an elephant, visiting a specific landmark, taking part in an extreme sports activity, or attending a specific cultural festival, and work out the logistics. Even though you may be going for several weeks, that time will fly by, so plan your route to make sure you have enough time in each place, and research travel options and costs.

The moment you mention you’re going travelling you’ll be bombarded by friends who have been before telling you the best places to visit and things to do, and by all means check these places out! However, it’s good to make sure you allocate some time for places you may come across en route, since after all that’s the true nature of travelling!

Have you started planning a trip to spend the summer outside Cardiff? The team at Capital Properties would love to know where you’re off to and what you’re planning to do when you get there! Feel free to share your travel plans with us via Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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