Consider this when travelling outside Europe!

Check your passport (!)

Check (well) in advance the expiry date of your international passport. In a lot of countries, your passport must still be valid for at least six months from the time you enter the country.

So if you arrive on 16 November, your passport should still be valid until 16 May.

Do you travel a lot? Check that you have enough blank pages left. You often need one blank page per stamp.

Your international passport is your most precious possession when travelling. So don’t forget to take it with you, and make sure it is always protected. Also, take one or more paper copies with you and keep them in different places. And keep a photo of your passport on your smartphone.

👉 Looking for a good passport case? Get a personalised one!

Unusual stamps in your passport?

In some places around the world, you can get special stamps on your passport. Think of Machu Picchu in Peru, Tikal in Guatemala, and the Galápagos Islands. Super fun, of course, but be aware that some countries can be difficult about this and may refuse your passport.

Check entry requirements

A whole number of countries require a visa. For some you can apply online in advance, for others it is enough to fill in a form on the plane. Are you travelling through several countries? Then you often have to arrange it at an office at the border.

Sometimes you will need one or more passport photos and cash. So check carefully in advance what the exact entry requirements are before you get to a border.

Also, check if there is a limit on the number of days you can stay. Observe these to avoid fines or other problems. You can often extend it for a fee, or, you can do a ‘border run’ to a neighbouring country, for example.

Some countries require an exit document, which may be requested when you fly into the country. So you have to be able to prove that you are leaving the country again within the specified time frame. Do you have a return ticket? Then of course you are fine. Don’t have one and don’t know yet when you will leave? Check if you can book a cheap flight to a neighbouring country. A bus trip to the neighbouring country is not always enough. Some websites do offer fake exit documents.

Need to fill in a form on the plane?

If you have to fill in a form on the plane, they usually ask in which place you're staying. Here, it suffices to fill in the details of your first accommodation. So make sure you have the details (name, address) to hand offline, as the name of a building usually does not suffice. A pen is also handy, of course.

What payment cards do you take with you?

Ever run out of money when travelling because your bank card doesn’t work? I have, and it’s not fun, I can tell you. Take several cards with you, preferably from different banks.

I recommend bringing at least a normal bank card, a credit card, and Wise and/or Revolut card. A what? These (free) multi-currency accounts are interesting when travelling outside Europe. After all, it saves you a lot of money in transaction and exchange fees.

👉 Create your Wise account via this link to receive a free physical card.

Are you missing any vaccinations?

Sometimes certain vaccinations are mandatory, and others are recommended. Always check that you are OK with the recommended vaccinations.

Also, always consider the (possible) route you are travelling. For example, sometimes a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory if you are travelling from a certain country.

Up-to-date travel information can be found on Wanda’s website, but be sure to check with your GP or travel clinic. Do you like petting animals and often travel outside Europe? Then rabies vaccination, for example, can be useful, although you rarely see it listed.

Planning to rent a car?

Want to rent a car outside Europe? Think about your international driving licence!

In Belgium, you can easily apply for your international driving licence via the town hall. Make an appointment, bring a photo, and assume a minimum processing time of five working days. The international driving licence costs €20 and is valid for 3 years.

But also consider a credit card! Most car rental companies – including in Europe – require a credit card on the driver’s name. Don’t have one? Then you either have to pay extra, or you simply don’t get the car.

Often, a deposit is also blocked on your credit card. It may be useful to increase your monthly limit (temporarily).

Mobile data while travelling?

Outside Europe, you face high roaming charges. So it is very important to turn off your mobile data as soon as you are outside Europe.

It is often quite cheap to buy a local SIM card at your destination. But you can also purchase an eSIM online.

It’s slightly more expensive, but with a virtual SIM card, you don’t have to change cards, and you have mobile internet as soon as you step off the plane. You can immediately arrange an Uber to your accommodation.

Get $3 off at Airalo with the code: KIMBER7371

Check your travel insurance

Do you already have a travel insurance? You can often choose between continuous travel insurance or one you take for a single trip. If you are going abroad more than twice a year or for a longer period, it is often cheaper to take a continuous travel insurance. In either case, it’s worth checking whether the country you are travelling to is covered.

Also, check what exactly is covered. That way, you’ll know what you might be missing out on. We found out in an expensive way that accidents with equipment were not covered. So we took care of that immediately after the trip.

It might be worth it to check the insurances that come with your credit card too. Sometimes it pays to buy things with your credit card because you benefit from extra insurance.

Oh, and if, like me, all the small print drives you crazy, take on an insurance broker. Those people know their business and can give you good advice. Especially if you have certain requirements, such as covering recreational drone use. In many countries, you are required to show that your drone is insured abroad.

Hopefully, this article has helped you prepare for your trip outside Europe. Did I forget anything or do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments! Enjoy your trip!