Research the visa requirements for the Country(s) you are going to before leaving.
Every country will have different requirements and they change depending on the country you are from. Sometimes you can get a visa on arrival, other times you will have to apply for it in advance. If you are going for a short amount of time the country might have visa exceptions like Thailand and Indonesia. (Due to COVID the rules are changing so make sure to check from official websites to stay up to date with visa information).
Here’s an example – Thailand from Canada:
If you are going to Thailand for less then 30 days you don’t have to worry about visas, you will get to stay visa free. You don’t have to do any extra steps or pay anything extra, but you will need a confirmed flight out of the country when you check in with immigration.
However if your trip is longer than 30 days like us you will need to do a bit of planning. To break it down for you these were the two main options:
Option One: (I recommend option two, i’ll explain why down below) Apply for a tourist visa. You can get it usually less then a week but double check if you take this route. A visa is around $50 for one time in and $250 for multiple entries that means you have to buy the $250 visa if you want to go to Singapore or any other countries (Price in 2018). This visa is for 60 days in Thailand, if you want to stay longer you will have to apply for a more complex visa.
Option Two: This is what we did and I prefer this way. You can stay visa free for up to 30 days in Thailand, so you then fly to a different country within the 30 days. When you fly back into Thailand you will get another 30 days visa free. You can only do this so many times a year but it’s great if you are doing a backpacking trip and want to explore other countries. Make sure your flight is booked out of Thailand before you arrive or they can refuse to let you enter. I prefer option 2 because sometimes your flight to the next country can cost the same as getting a visa. ($200 Round Trip to Bali, Indonesia)
We flew from Thailand to Indonesia and spent some time there before coming back to Thailand. Once you get down to South East Asia the flights are really affordable so defiantly look at checking out a couple countries while you’re here!
Quick and Crucial Tip
DO’NT LEAVE THAILAND LAST MINUTE. Leave at 25-28 days instead of leaving on the 30th day. You never know if you will get food poisoning or something happens that you miss your flight. Don’t put yourself in a position to possibly of you not getting out of the country in time. There can be severe consequences, and fines for overstaying.
Make sure you have multiple credit cards and double check the expiry date. I always say bring multiple credit cards because you won’t be able to get a new one mailed over if you loose yours or the ATM eats it. It happens a lot! Keep your credit cards in different spots for example one in your purse, one in your backpack and one in your laptop bag. If you loose your wallet at least you will still have a card. An issue I ran into was my card didn’t work at the ATM’s, I wouldn’t have seen that coming so always prepare for the unexpected by having multiple ways to access your money.
I found Visa was the most accepted, you can pay credit at some places like restaurants/tourist attractions which will save you the ATM fee which was $10CAD on every 1000baht (around $400cad). If you plan on using credit a lot it might be worth looking into card with low/no foreign transaction fees or a card with no ATM fee.
To get an idea of when to use cash and when to use credit – All of our hotels were booked with credit (and a refundable cash deposit when checking in). We also used credit at the ATM’S, certain restaurants, for flights, ferry’s, food delivery, and Grab’s (Asia’s Uber). We used cash at cafe’s, when shopping at markets, train tickets, and
The last to do is call your bank and let them know you are going travelling, they might lock your card if you forget to call in before. Depending on your phone SIM card you might not be able to call long distance so if it does lock abroad you can call the bank through the app Skype.
Check the expiry date on your passport, and license/ID. Most countries require your passport to be at least 6 months beyond the expiry date upon entry. Another thing to note is you can be denied entry into a country if your passport is in bad physical condition for example having a water stain or rips. Treat your passport like your baby, and if you can get a passport cover to protect it.
Upload a copy of important documents somewhere secure but accessible like Dropbox.
– Passport Copy – Drivers Licence – International Drivers Licence – Health Insurance – Health Care Card – Immunization Records – Hotel Reservations.
I also like to keep a photocopy of my passport with a trusted family member.
4. Health & Prescriptions
If you have stomach issues or something bugging you at home get that checked out and fixed before your trip. Travelling overseas will most likely make it worse, you will be exposed to different bacteria then your body is used to. In Canada health care is universal, if you are in another country a trip to the hospital can cost you a lot. On that note it’s important to look into health insurance, I will have a post up on that soon.
If applicable, check if you have enough medication, and contacts to last your entire trip. Note: if you are going to Bali you are supposed to provide a doctor’s note along with your prescription. Always research what medications are legal in the country you are going to because what might be okay in your country could be not permitted in another. You won’t be able to explain yourself because of the language barrier so just do your research beforehand.
As for contacts, bring more than you think you’ll need. Moving to bi-weekly’s will save you some room in your bag.
5. International Drivers Licence
If you plan on renting a scooter something to consider is getting an International Drivers Permit. In simple terms it’s a piece of paper that translates your license into 10 different languages. It’s around $25cad for the IDP, and you will have to provide 2 passport photos along with a filled out CAA IDP form. You can fill out and submit the application at an AMA centre or CAA office if you are from Canada. In person this will be processed within 15 minutes, by mail it can take up to 3 weeks. Some travellers choose to skip out on this, you will have to pay a small fine each time you are stopped instead. On my Asia trip I never ended up renting a bike, I was so pumped to adventure around but when I got down there and saw the traffic I soon realized i’m going to need more practice before attempting those roads. One thing I learned recently is you need your motorcycle license in order to be covered under insurance if you crash. At the moment i’m working on getting mine!