31 july 2019, text: Esin Ezer, photo: Unsplash
Relaxing on a white sandy beach in Hawaii, climbing Kilimanjaro or zooming around Thailand on a motorbike. The world is your oyster. But it’s vital to be well prepared before you go. These are our five top tips for embarking on your world trip free of worries.
Make two copies of all of your documents (passport, insurance cards, vaccination cards, medication/glasses prescriptions, flight tickets, hotel confirmations, credit cards, etc.). You should ideally give one copy of each document to a trusted person and keep the other copy in your luggage along with two passport photos, separate from the original documents. The documents should also be stored digitally in your e-mail account, so that you can access them from wherever you are in the world. If your documents are stolen, your travel insurance will cover various costs.
Before you set off, check that your passport will still be valid at the end of your travels. Some countries merely require your passport to be valid for the duration of your planned stay. However, many countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months after your arrival date. So if you’re travelling for one year, your passport must still be valid for one year and six months. Please bear in mind that you may also be forced to extend your trip, for example if you fall ill.
When making a payment by credit card, banks often charge an additional 2 to 5 percent of the amount as conversion and processing fees. However, many debit cards tend to charge a fixed amount of approx. CHF 1.50 per transaction. Therefore, you should pay larger amounts by debit card and smaller amounts by credit card. It is also better to use a debit card when withdrawing cash, since charges are usually fixed at CHF 5. Charges for withdrawals using a credit card amount to a certain percentage of the withdrawal amount, but generally at least CHF 10.
In terms of luggage, less is more. When planning your trip, consider countries where you will not have to deal with extreme changes in weather. For example, you could start your trip through global history in Africa during European summer time, then travel through Asia to Australia. When our winter begins, you can enjoy the spring in Oceania and travel onwards to Argentina. On your way north, you can escape the Patagonian cold and relax on white palm-lined beaches by the emerald-green sea in the Caribbean. You can finish your journey in the big cities of North America during the summer.
Stay informed on the current state of affairs in each of the countries you will be visiting, since political situations can change quickly, even in countries that are considered stable. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) provides information on the security situations in other countries and advises against travelling in particularly dangerous situations. If you ignore travel advice and then find yourself in distress, your travel insurance will not cover the incurred costs. Therefore, before you travel to a new country, make sure to check that the situation there is stable.