The aim of Charlene and Henry’s website - Only A Day Away is to inspire and help travel enthusiasts plan their next adventure, private tour, small group or luxury travel. With their extensive travel experience, this amazing duo, has gathered some useful travel tips to make your next trip planning less maddening. In this episode, they share the nitty gritty of taking the off beaten path while touring a foreign country.
If you are bitten by the travel bug, this travel tips series by Charlene and Henry is sure to help you in the process.
1. Determine your eligibility. What do you need to enter a country as a tourist?
To be admitted to a country, you will need to meet some basic requirements. Do a thorough research about visa requirements, immunization records and government documentation needed to enter a country as a tourist.
Henry found out only a few days before leaving that he actually needed a visa to enter India. Also, they were asked to produce a yellow fever vaccination, that is, a proof of immunization, before entering Africa.
Hence, the duo suggests you visit the U.S. Passports & International Travel website to find more information on how to get a passport and also specific information on passport and visa requirements of each country. This is a great way to logistically prepare to visit a country.
Also make sure you stay updated with any administrative or governmental changes to immigration and customs requirements.
2. Exchange financials (before exchanging cultures) with a foreign country.
When traveling, most of your bigger expenses are pre-paid before you leave. But from the moment you step out of baggage claim, you'll have ground transportation to catch and baggage handlers to tip. And so Henry suggests, it's a good idea to have a little local currency on hand when you arrive in a foreign country.
If you're headed to India, you may find it difficult to track down some Indian rupees beforehand, since the currency is not available at local banks. Purchase rupees through an online currency exchange such as Travelex. On arrival in India, you will find several money exchange kiosks at airports and some train stations as you exit the terminal. Alternatively, you could exchange your cash for rupees from reputable currency exchange organizations such as the State Bank of India, Travelex and Thomas Cook.
One could also get cash from an ATM. But do keep in mind Henry’s word of caution, some financial institutions charge an exorbitant fee to draw cash.
Hence, firstly call your bank and inform them of your time and place of travel so they don’t block your card under suspicion of fraud and secondly, inquire about their international transaction fees. While there are ample of free cards out there, Henry’s personal favorite is Fidelity’s debit. We like it too!
Besides these, Henry recommends having the Currency app on your phone to check and get the best rate, use a money belt to safely store large cash and important documents and ask for receipts of payment wherever possible.
3. Always have back-up documentation to tackle contingencies.
Henry’s recommends that you don’t take the paperless route and print all the necessary travel documents – passport, visa, itinerary, hotel booking receipts, flight information, contact details of your homeland embassy and any local points of contact, etc. He has rightly emphasized that your passport is your lifeline when you’re traveling in a foreign country. Of course, make sure to store these copies in different places, separate from your passport, with a copy stored in your luggage as well.
Having paper documentation can be tedious and definitely not environmentally friendly. So if you do still want to go “digital”, the duo recommends that you download all important documents so that you can access it offline without having to rely on WIFI.
Also, have a map at hand to help you find your hotel or any other local support center in times of contingencies.
4. Our favorite and Henry’s best travel tip:
“Do not get caught up in the unexpected surprises, or let them ruin your trip. Look out for authentic experiences and no matter which country you visit we recommend taking a bike tour through the city to really experience the local culture first hand. We are especially excited to see our dear friend Tapesh starting out with his new company, Bike Street Boys, as they introduce new bike tours through India to the most amazing places.” – Henry Chen
Absolutely! Exploring India with BikeStreetBoys isn't just about taking a vacation. Attempting to experience the gorgeousness of India from the seat of your bike is inspiring, worthy and enjoyable. It is perfect. Contact us and make your dream trip come true now!