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Planning an overseas trip? Some tips

August 13, 2009 09:07 IST
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A Lufthansa flightEurope. Malaysia. Bali. These are destinations that most of us have always dreamed off going to whether alone or with family.

A holiday overseas is a dream shared by almost everyone. But a holiday, a time to just relax and enjoy, can quickly turn into a nightmare if not planned properly. But you may ask, why plan when you can have more fun being spontaneous. Well, having fun by being spontaneous does not hold true all the time.

By planning, you:

  • Choose your destination avoiding last minute second thoughts
  • Make better use of your travel time
  • Learn about your destination
  • Manage your budget more effectively
  • Minimise risks

Here are some tips while planning an overseas trip:

The itinerary

When you start planning your itinerary, ask yourself these questions and a good plan will emerge out of all the confusion in your mind.

  • What sort of trip do you want? A working holiday, extended trip, or a package tour?
  • When are you leaving and coming back -- in a week's time, a month's time, a couple of month's time?
  • What is your budget?
  • Which overseas locations fit into your budget?
  • Does your trip dates match with the best time to be at the chosen location?
  • What are the best things (sights, weather, art, culture etc.) about the chosen places?
  • What facilities are available in regards to accommodation, food and transport?
  • What is your budget for the same? Are there cheaper alternatives?

Managing finances

Once you have chosen the destination and fixed your budget, you need to figure out how to go about managing the finances. By merely using the proper mode for payments, you could save up to 10% of your costs. Travellers have the option of choosing from spending tools like:

  • Cash
    • Carry a sufficient amount of cash for small payments such as taxis, buses, tips etc. It also helps in case of an emergency
    • Avoid exchanging currency at airports as they charge a higher commission
    • Carry a small traveller's bag which can handle the cash, your passport and other documents and cell phone
  • Traveller's cheques and Prepaid Forex cards

Carry the bulk of your money in the form of traveller's cheques since these are the most secure and also protect you against exchange rate fluctuations

  • Credit and Debit cards

Use these as your last resort since the charges incurred when using debit or credit cards overseas can send your budget haywire

Managing health and other unplanned situations

Getting a travel insurance policy is slowly becoming an indispensable part of a traveller's list of 'must-haves'. The basic purpose of opting for travel insurance is to safeguard against high medical costs as well as baggage delay or loss. Other eventualities covered include loss of passport, missed flights, financial emergencies and housebreak when the traveller is holidaying.

For medical emergencies, ensure that you have a mediclain policy with cashless facility and which covers overseas expenses.

In conclusion . . .

  • Take a telephone charge card if you have one
  • Take¬†two photocopies your passport, visas, insurance policy, air tickets, insurance policy and travellers cheques issuing receipts. Keep one copy with you when you travel (away from the original)
  • Leave one copy at home with someone you trust
  • Take some spare passport size photographs
  • Get a doctor's note for any medicine you carry in case you are stopped at customs

Also, If you think that you might need some help to arrange for the finances, there are a lot of banks offering travel loans.

The loan meets any kind of travel expense such as cost of tickets, hotel stay, visa, airport tax, purchase of basic travel quota, etc. The rate of interest varies from bank to bank, depending on the current market conditions and their policies. It is generally between 14-16 per cent.

Normally banks charge interest on a reducing balance.

So the next time you dream about an evening in Paris, remember that making that dream come true is easier than you imagine.

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