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Travel Document Tips ~ Trip Planning

Passports, visas, vaccinations, emails autoresponders tips

travel  documents tips picture of passport cover and map.

Travel documents This page gives general information that applies to all Travel documents: these are a generic term for any and all of the documents needed to travel between countries -- visa, passport, proof of vaccinations, residency cards -- whatever travel documents you will need to travel internationally.

Passport Check that your passport is valid for *at least six months.* Even if your passport expiry date is for seven months from the time of your trip, every immigration / customs person you encounter will draw this to your attention! Allow sufficient time to obtain a new passport -- depending on your country, and your status, it may take some time, or require personal visits to the passport office. (note: Travel to/from U.S.A. by any means requires a passport)

Visas Check with the embassy for the country or countries you will be traveling to; If a visa is needed before travel (as opposed to a tourist visa that is issued upon arrival), then the embassy/consulate will require your passport and passport size photo(s). Arrange to send your application by courier, or hand deliver and pick up. Some emabssies/ consulates will return via your pre-paid, self-addressed courier/postal envelope.

Vaccinations Do I need shots / vaccinations? Consult your local travel health clinic for current issues for the country you will be visiting, and take into account every country on your itinerary. Some countries may only require specific vaccinations if you are entering from certain countries where there is a specific concern. Ethiopia, for one, requires a Yellow Fever vaccination before they will let you in. Make sure your routine vaccinations -- DPT, Polio, Measles, etc. -- are up to date. Diseases such as polio, that may be rare in much of the world may be a serious problem in some countries. Ask, too, about getting Hepatitis AB vaccine (Twin-Rix is one), and a current flu shot, and be sure to bring proof of this when you travel.  Haiti , for example, has a host of health concerns, including typhoid and cholera.

Conditions and Advisories Can Change: See Disclaimer page where I've posted links to Australia, U.K., Canada and U.S.A government departments, or check your own country's current travel safety and advisories e.g. Canada alerts.

Proof of residency Check regulations in your own country to be sure you can return; regulations may change. A few years ago, Canada implemented new residency cards for non-citizens. The change took effect with the first of the new year. Many travelers who had gone overseas for the Christmas holidays found themselves unable to re-enter Canada. Not only that, the foreign airport refused to let them board, effectively stranding them abroad. You, not your travel agent, are responsible for arranging all documents needed to travel.

Email Set up an online (web based) email address or make sure you know how to access your home email from abroad. Test it before you leave.

Make Copies of all travel documents, credit cards, etc.

Also, take a few extra passport size photos in case you need to replace yours on the road or get a new visa. As well, you can scan any information that you may need to access while away, and save it in an email friendly format, then email it to yourself. Also make photocopies of your itinerary, prescriptions (eye glasses, medications etc), passport page with your passport number and photo, visas, proof of vaccinations, contact information for travel agency, airlines, hotel, travel insurance, credit card numbers or other banking information.

Ideally this should fit on one page (or an index card if you do by hand). Take two copies with you -- one for your wallet and one in another location. (You may not be able to access the internet when you need the information.) The good news is you may never need this information, but if you do, it's at your fingertips.

Stop Unnecessary Emails Ask your email contacts who are fond of forwarding large files to stop doing this while you are away. Explain that you will be using (and likely paying for) internet access that may be a slow dialup connection, and that others may be waiting impatiently for their turns. If you use an autoresponder and you are on any listservs, then remove yourself from the list or turn of the autoresponder. List members will thank you!

More Travel documents tips for Passports Visas, vaccinations

  • Passsport visa vaccinations for specific countries, go to that country's home page in left menu.
  • For example, for Haiti travel information, go to Haiti page; for Ethiopia, see Ethiopia page.
  • Choose other countries from the left hand menu on this page.

Canadians: A Certificate of Canadian Citizenship is not a travel document.
A Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians for the purpose of international travel.

Canadian citizens returning to Canada who present other documents, such as a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, birth certificate, provincial drivers license, or foreign passport, instead of a Canadian passport, may face delays or be denied boarding by transport companies.
(Source:Govt. Canada)

When You Return Home: Don't forget where you've been:

Should you become ill in the months following a trip abroad, be sure to tell your doctor, since some diseases can incubate for many weeks. (I don't mean to worry anyone, just file it away in the back of your mind in case.)

If you live in a cold climate, and get a raging fever, and seek medical help, your doctor may not suspect malaria or similar unless you do tell him where you've been.