Anyone who wants to travel longer than the annual vacation days would allow must start early with the practical preparations for the long-term trip and also remember that there is a „life after“, in other words: when you return home, things should continue smoothly without financial and other turbulence.
Checklist for the practical preparation of the long-term trip
1. Clarify visa formalities
- For which countries do I need a visa?
- How far in advance do I have to apply for it?
- Do I have to send my passport to the embassy or to several embassies?
- Are there any overlapping dates?
- Is it worthwhile to hand over the visa procurement to a visa agency?
- Is one passport enough for me or do I possibly need two (it might not be so easy to get two passports)?
- What other documents do I need to submit together with the visa application?
- How many passport photos do I need for the application / applications?
2. Think about other important documents
- Can I drive / rent a car with my driving licence in all countries?
- For overseas countries you almost always need an international driving licence, which you can apply for at the Road Traffic Office and usually take with you. The international driving licence is only valid in conjunction with the respective national driving licence.
- Which vaccinations are mandatory upon entry (e.g. many countries require a yellow fever vaccination, which should not be given shortly before departure)?
- Do I have to take my allergy passport with me?
- Do I have copies of my passport and important documents in case they get lost?
- Do I have some passport photos with me in case of emergency?
3. Health: Health Insurance & Travel Vaccinations
- Have I already taken out an international health insurance suitable for the trip?
- Advice on travel vaccinations can be obtained from a tropical institute, general practitioners or other medical practitioners: which vaccinations are useful for the trip and which should be refreshed (e.g. tetanus, diphtheria).
- Get vaccinations as early as possible, so that incompatibilities do not occur after the start of the trip!
- Some vaccinations have to be refreshed within a short time, others are only possible with licensed doctors and are not without complications (e.g. yellow fever).
- Some statutory health insurance companies cover the costs.
4. Flight tickets
- More info: Booking low-priced flights »
- Check validity, rebooking and cancellation conditions
- In the case of complicated flight reservations, one usually flies cheaper if one leaves the booking to the professionals in the travel agency. The service fee is definitely worth it!
5. Vacation fund
- How do I get my money abroad?
- Can I use my EC or credit card to withdraw money at ATMs in the countries I am traveling to? What are the fees?
- Are Traveler Cheques still accepted in a few countries?
- Can I pay with my credit card on site without any problems? If so, which ones are accepted? Or are there limits (in Brazil, foreigners often can only pay smaller amounts with credit cards to avoid fraud)?
- Can someone from home transfer money to me via WesternUnion e.g. in case of emergency?
- Am I going to a country with a higher crime rate? If so, how can I protect myself from suddenly being left destitute after theft or robbery?
- Do I have all emergency numbers in case my credit card disappears or my account is hacked?
- Where can I get more information in these money matters (e.g. banks, Foreign Office „, embassies, consulates etc.)?
- What to do in an emergency, e.g. after the theft of money or cards?
- How can I try to protect myself in advance against robberies in insecure countries (e.g. get a money cat, money belt or similar, distribute PIN numbers in different places)?
- Can I possibly book trustworthy accommodation in riskier cities in advance (e.g. hotel with security guards, safe, etc.) or at least find out about the security situation in the various districts on the Internet if there is no opportunity to do so while traveling?
- Is there any tourist police in these places that I could contact?
- Do I have all the emergency numbers in case my credit card disappears or my account is hacked?
- Do I still have an email with my flight confirmations for security reasons?
- Does anyone in my family / friends know where I am staying?
6. Important utensils, which I must not forget at home before departure
- Passport, entry documents
- Credit cards, cash
- Vaccination certificate / proof of yellow fever vaccination, allergy passport
- Confirmation of coverage of an international health insurance
Driving licence (national / international)
- Medication (are they sufficient for the duration of the trip or can I buy additional medication on-site?)
- Glasses / contact lenses
- Camera / battery charger / memory card(s) (may be expensive abroad)
Mobile phone / battery charger (can I buy a card on site so that making calls is cheaper?
- Notebook / tablet with accessories
- World plug / adapter
- Contacts / addresses / notes on the trip / PIN and emergency numbers
- … Everything else can be bought locally.
Further links on the subject of long-term travel: