Visa is a travel document which says that the destination country allows you to enter their nation / group of nations for a particular period mentioned in the visa and for a particular reason (tourism, meeting relatives, study, seminar etc.). Indian citizens / passport holder don’t need Visa for Nepal and Bhutan only. India has agreements with many countries (52 countries as of March 2014) which provide the citizens of India (who fulfill certain conditions) the facility of Visa on Arrival (VOA) i.e. a visa is granted when you land at the destination port (air, sea, land etc.). The advantages of VOA are that you are spared the anxiety before your travel and it is usually cheaper.
You may have to stand in the queue at the passport control / immigration for some time, but I think in many ways it beats the running around if you get it in advance. For the full updated list on nations that allow VOA for Indian passport holders, go to www.tripwiz.in/visa-on-arrival-for-indians . However, it is strongly recommended that you confirm the visa requirements from the website of the destination country. Visas vary from nation to nation – some have stamps or stickers on your passport while some will issue a paper visa. As soon as you get the visa/s, make a photocopy and also scan it and upload it to your drive online. If the visas are paper visas, keep it in the folder in a prominent place or perhaps even inside the passport.
India Travel With Visa Photo Gallery
What is Schengen Visa?
26 European countries (referred to as the Schengen region) have opened up their internal borders and has made traveling between its 25 member countries (22 European Union states and 3 non-EU members) much easier and less bureaucratic. Traveling on a Schengen Visa means that the visa holder can travel to any (or all) member countries using one single visa, thus avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining individual visas for each country. This is particularly beneficial for persons who wish to visit several European countries on the same trip. The purpose of the visit must be tourism or business. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period. The member countries of the Schengen zone are Austria, Befgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
In all probabilities, this will be one of the documents required for obtaining a visa. Where there is no such requirement or where you will avail the VOA facility, do not ignore this valuable document. You can either get a cover for every single member of your group or get a family insurance cover. Travel insurance covers not only your health related expenses, but also trip cancellations / delays resulting in missed connections, theft of tickets, loss of luggage etc. You can either take a temporary travel insurance to cover exactly the duration of that trip, or avail a multi-trip insurance policy which will cover an unlimited number of trips within a set time frame. If you buy the insurance policy online (which will help you get good deals), you will most likely receive the policy document/s online – it is usually a PDF file. Save it to your online drive and keep printouts in the travel organizer at the back.
You must tabulate all the details of your trip in say, an Excel spreadsheet and upload it to your drive online as also print it and keep it in the folder. The itinerary should preferably contain (but not limited to) the following all arranged date wise:
• Your journey details (e.g. flight/train number, airline, departure & arrival date and times and cost).
• Stay details (hotel name, date, check-in time, cost and additional remarks like airport transfer, early check-in allowed etc.)
• Airport transfer (coach or cab details, distance to, time, cost and driver’s name if known)
• Trip attractions (date and time, cost)
Related Files : Go to www.tripwiz.in/resources/downloads . Download the template and use it, customize it or distribute it free.
When you book your air or sea or train tickets, it is recommended that you do it online. Again this will help you snag excellent deals. When you receive the ticket, print and keep the copies as also save the ticket email notification in a folder of your email / drive account. Print at least 2 copies of tickets for each leg of your journey and arrange them in sequential order with the first journey tickets on top, the return leg tickets at the bottom and others in between.
Hotel / Stay Reservation For India Travel
Just as you did for the tickets, you should print the hotel / stay reservation confirmation as also save the email notification. These should be arranged sequentially as well, with first stay details on top and the rest following it.
Tip: I usually mix and arrange the journey and stay bookings date wise and also flag them A, B, C etc. The details of these flags I enter in a tabulated (and printed) itinerary – like an index. So, if I need to look up or retrieve any booking, I just look up the flag in the index and go straight to it. Besides making my work easier, I have usually received compliments for this abroad!
Tickets to Attractions
Ditto for tickets to various theme parks, museums, safaris, tours etc. Arrange them date wise in the folder and also upload / save it online.
Keep your most frequently used credit card with you (in your wallet). Keep the rest and also the frequent flyer and hotel loyalty cards in the folder. Do not ever hand over the credit card to an unknown person. When paying at the restaurant, insist on you being present while it is being swiped, lest the card is cloned. There are many scams of credit card cloning – one of them goes like this: after your meal at the restaurant, the waiter/ess, asks for the card and clumsily drops it. On his / her ankle, is strapped a card cloning device which stores your card details with a quick swipe. RBI has mandated the use of APIN for avoiding this. Memorize your APIN and don’t write it on your card, please. I know I am stating the obvious. But, in a world where the most common password is password’ followed by abc123’, one cannot over emphasize these issues.
While you will be doing most of the big amount purchase or booking using your credit / debit card, you will need some cash for small expenses like meals outside, transportation, tips, laundry etc. Keep minimum required cash in your wallet and keep a small amount of foreign currency say which will last you for next 3 days in the folder. This is to mitigate the risk of any theft or scams. When the cash runs out, make a trip to the ATM and withdraw as required.
On a paper, you should print the contact details of the embassy and your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact details, as also medical details like blood group, allergies and medications required. Now keep it in the folder. God forbid, if something undesirable happens, these details can be used by the authorities to help you / your family during the crisis.
Tip: If you use a smart phone (iPhone / Android etc) or a tablet (iPad, Android), do download some very useful apps for trip planning and packing. I have blogged about it in my posts.