I’m finding it hard to believe the words I am about to type, because this destination has been on my radar for, oh, you know, FOREVER. Many of you will already know (I’ve never been good at keeping secrets) that the newest country I have checked off my travel list is Norway – the land of fjords, cute little cabins and really lovely people.
It has been a while since I’ve approached a new country (having ticked off about 70 so far in my 25 years of living), so I’ve reverted back to old habits and wound up overly prepared for this trip. Which, might I add, is never a bad thing.
Thus I’ve teamed up with Australia Post to show you how easy it can be to travel to a new country – so long as you know what you’re up for! Below you’ll find a mega travelling to a new country checklist to ensure your trip kicks off with ease!
Do your research
First things first: passport, visas, vaccinations. You can’t go anywhere without checking these requirements first, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve slipped up once or twice on these bare necessities. Be sure to check the validity of your passport (each country has different requirements regarding expiry date and empty pages), whether or not your Nationality requires a visa, and whether or not you require any vaccinations. I find the best tool to cover all three in Australia is SmartTraveller.gov.au.
If you’re completely new to travel or (like my travel companion – my mum) haven’t travelled in a while, applying for a passport should be the starting point of any traveller’s checklist. But don’t be scared off the process of filling out forms and (not) smiling for the camera – in Australia we’re lucky to have a super easy application process! All you gotta do is head in to Australia Post to pick up the forms, submit them in person and grab a photo while you’re there. I have found the staff at any Australia Post office really helpful in making sure you only have to submit your forms + photos once and you’re good to go!
Register on smart traveller for travel alerts
While you’re there, if you’re a first time traveller, nervous traveller, or just like being extra cautious, I would suggest you sign up for email alerts on world happenings and changes to the safety status of a country you intend to visit. While this isn’t mandatory or always necessary, it is a great way to have piece of mind as following world events whilst travelling is often one of your last priorities!
Australia Post foreign cash services
Now that you’ve got all of the paperwork out of the way, its time for the fun stuff! One of my favourite things in the lead up to travelling to a new country is to see a new currency for the first time (I know I know, I’m a bit of a geek!) Ever since I can remember my mum and I have purchased currency in advance from Australia Post, who have just launched WAY more currencies on offer to pre-order online and pick up in store. Years ago I couldn’t get Polish zloty this way; now I can. Perfect timing in the lead up to my trip to Norway!
After a bit of a facelift, the Australia Post Foreign Cash services now offer more than 60 currencies online with a $0 commission to purchase foreign cash. This means you can arrive in a new country cashed up and ready to go, without paying any commissions or being ripped off when you’re overseas. I would also recommend familiarising yourself with the exchange rate so that when you land, you know exactly how much you’re paying before you hand over your cash.
Bookings: book tickets, accommodation & day tours
If you haven’t already purchased your plane tickets, accommodation and day tours, now is the time to do so. This is especially important if you are travelling in peak times as accommodation prices hike and if you get in early, you can get a good deal.
The Finer Details
What camera is best for travel? Should I use wi-fi or a sim? How do you deal with language barriers? Are all questions I am very used to answering and very used to dealing with. Let all be revealed!
For my travel camera I use two: an Olympus PEN E-PL7 for short clip videos and an Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II for all photography.
For connecting overseas I’m a sucked for free wi-fi, though in this day and age you can get some really good deals on phone connection.
My best packing tip is to pack your bags and then take half out. You’ll only wear one pair of jeans each day, so why do you need three pairs!?
The best way to beat jet lag is to switch to your new time zone as early as possible. Thus if you’re flying to Europe from Australia, don’t sleep on the plane until it is nighttime in your new destination.
The best way to beat a language barrier is to hit it head on: using a few key words and phrases before you switch to English with a nervous laugh!
If you are travelling with dietary requirements, fear not. Research restaurants and cafes in advance and make them a destination to visit on your itinerary!
Last but never least — start planning, pinning, researching and mapping out all the fun things you will do – half the fun in travel is planning the whole thing!
Thanks to Australia Post for inspiring this “Traveller’s Checklist” in light of their expanded foreign cash services! I am finding it more and more easy to travel to new countries and hope this helps you to, too!