When planning to travel, remembering to research where to stay, some cool places to see, and the food you want to try is easy. However, there are some fundamental things to remember to research before travel. Here are 10 things I research before travel regardless of how long my trip is (and you should too)!
1. Do I need a Visa?
Every country has different entry requirements with some countries requiring visas, some even require transit visas. This is definitely one of the more important things to research before travel. If you have a passport that requires you to get a visa to most places, don’t forget to research and apply for one in enough time before your trip. You can find out if you need a visa from your county’s foreign office website or on Do You Need A Visa. It can be quite expensive depending on your destination so don’t leave this off your research list.
Also check how much validity you have on your passport. Most countries require more than 6 months validity on your passport for entry.
2. Do I need a Vaccine? Or a Negative PCR Test?
It’s a good idea to research all destination-specific vaccines that could stop your entry. With the current state of the world, we now need to research if a ovid vaccine or a negative test result is required for entry into certain countries. This is now ESSENTIAL! But beyond Covid, there are other vaccines that may be recommended or required by the country’s government to protect yourself and the citizens. For example, yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into some African countries and South America.
You can check the recommended and required vaccines on the CDC (USA) or the NHS Fit For Travel (UK) websites.
Read More: How to Disinfect your Airplane Set in 8 Steps
3. What is the Local Language? How widely is English spoken?
I speak only one language fluently, English (with some Yoruba and a little sprinkling of elementary Spanish thanks to Duolingo lol). There are lots of countries where at least half the population speaks English and you can easily get by but there are also lots of countries where less than 10% speak English. This shouldn’t deter you from visiting those countries, but you should try to learn common phrases like “hello,” “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me” and “do you speak English?” in the country’s language.
It’s a good idea to download a foreign translation app such as iTranslate or Google Translate on your phone. Google translate works offline so it’s helpful for when you don’t have access to the internet.
4. What’s the Best Area to Stay?
When researching where to stay on your holiday, location is a pretty important thing to consider! It’s important to learn a bit about your destination to find out areas are good to stay, transport links, prices of the city, crime levels and nearest shops and amenities.
Read More: Fool Proof Guide for Choosing an Airbnb
5. Are there Public Holidays during your visit?
Another thing you might not think to research before travel is whether the country you’re visiting has any public holidays during your visit. Beyond any special festivals or cultural celebrations you wouldn’t ordinarily get to experience, there’s logistics to think about. Holidays can affect if public transportation runs, banks, shops and museums opening times, or access to tourist sites could be restricted. Doing your research means you don’t waste your time or money.
Check Timeanddate for all the public holidays observed around the world! It’s a handy website to save in your travel planning toolkit.
6. What’s the Weather going to be like?
Once you’ve settled on a destination, you’ll want to research what type of weather to expect and prepare for. Accidentally planning a beach break during rainy season isn’t the smartest thing to do and you know I’m all about travelling smart! You should also continue to check the weather in the days leading up to your trip. This helps you pack better so you’re not taking up luggage space with clothes you won’t need.
Read More: How to Create a Travel Budget (and stick to it!)
7. What does Culturally Appropriate clothing look like?
Your destination might have different expectations of what is acceptable or appropriate clothing. Mostly, countries that are majority Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist you’ll need to cover up as a sign of respect.
Depending on where you’re coming from, it might be a bit of a change but research allows you to be prepared and not have to buy a whole new wardrobe that you didn’t budget for. When visiting religious sites like temples, mosques, and churches, you might be required to cover your shoulders and legs above your knees. I remember when I visited the Vatican, they were pretty strict about covering shoulders and legs. So make sure you dress appropriately so you’re not refused entry.
8. What are your transportation options?
Another thing to research before travel is the public transportation options at your destination. Is there Uber and Lyft available or is there a local alternative you should know about? Would renting a car be a better option to get around because public transport is unreliable or too spread out? Is there a metro service? Researching this information is helpful so you can come prepared with your licence or driving permit if you need to rent a car.
9. What Plug Socket is used?
There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination and realising your charger doesn’t fit into the socket and you don’t have an adapter available. Different countries have different sockets and electrical voltages, so you might need an adapter and converter if you’re visiting a country with higher voltage. Check out the World Standards website for a full list of countries and their plug types. If you’re a frequent traveller, it’s probably best to get a universal adapter and converter.
10. What is the local currency? Are Credit Cards widely accepted?
When travelling, you usually need to convert your money into the local currency. You need to research what the local currency is so you’re prepared before travel. I always advise not to exchange money at the airport, trust me, you get the worst rates! Also, it can be worth waiting to change your money at your destination, the rates are sometimes better, so you get more for your money.
Most countries with widely accept credit/debit cards. And many cards like Mastercard, Monzo and Chase Sapphire offer zero foreign transaction fees. Some of these cards even have better rates than exchanging cash. Just make sure you alert your bank so your spending isn’t flagged as fraud.
And there you have it! I hope you’ll find this guide useful when considering what to research before travel and planning your next trip. Don’t forget to save and share this post so other people can get this information! You can use the pins below to do that!
Until Next Time xx
Such a great list of wise tips! I also go through this list of essentials before travelling! Well done for summarizing it this way!
Thank you very much! I’m glad you found it helpful
A very handy checklist, that is only going to get longer in these (practically) post-pandemic times. You are right it is easy to overlook simple but important things like plugs and credit card usage. Thanks for sharing.
Yeah! the checklist is only going to get longer now, how I wish we could go back to pre-pandemic travel times!
These are really great points that one should focus on when planning travel. Clothing is something that people usually don’t care about but it’s very important.
Yeah! I’ve fallen on the clothing on when I went yo Malaysia and visited the Batu caves but had on a dress that stopped above my knee, had to but a scarf to cover my legs.