Learning patterns/International travel
What problem does this solve?
There are many considerations and problems that may arise when planning international travel.
- For general information about travel planning please see Grants:Learning patterns/Arranging travel.
What is the solution?
Careful advance planning is required for international travel.
Things to consider
Novice travelers. Be careful if your travelers have not traveled internationally before. They may need advice on certain matters, including immigration procedures, currency, time changes, language, and culture. In particular, check they have a passport or other acceptable identity document.
Check with your nation's diplomatic services for travel information about any country where you may pass through or which is your final destination
Check with your nation's diplomatic services about what passports and visas may be necessary, any important legal or medical information, precautions for safety and security, and any other information that diplomatic service personnel say is valuable for your journey. It is possible that a traveler may have the correct permission to travel to the final destination country, but may have their travel interrupted partway through their journey because of restrictions of a country that was between their starting point and their final destination.
Registering with your nation's government Some countries have programs that allow their residents who travel internationally to register with their foreign service offices and/or their nation's embassy or consulate that serves their destination. The U.S. Department of State version of this program is called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). An external link to the program is https://step.state.gov/step/. The benefits of registering may include receiving safety and emergency communications.
Government advice and warnings. Some governments issue travel advice and warnings to their citizens about travel to other countries. For example:
Safety tips. Some safety tips for travel are available from the Stay safe guide on Wikivoyage.
Jet lag. Long-haul flights are tiring and interfere with the body clock. Try to arrange arrival a day in advance of their event or else the benefit of their attending will be reduced if they are too tired to participate effectively.
Passports and visas. As soon as international travel is proposed, prospective travelers should ensure their passport is current and does not expire until far after the proposed travel. Always check the visa requirements for the country you are visiting or in transit through, even if you have visited that country before, as rules and processes do change. Make sure your travelers travel on the correct visa; a tourist visa is not appropriate for all visits. Some visas take many weeks to obtain, which means you cannot undertake other international travel during that time while the embassy has your passport for processing. Therefore, obtaining a visa may need to be scheduled well in advance to accommodate other planned travel. Also, as an organization, be aware of whether any of your travelers are not citizens of your own nation or will be traveling on some other nation's passport, as their visa requirements may be very different to that of your own citizens; do not assume the situation is the same for all of your travelers. Even your own citizens are born in other countries or even having recent ancestry in other countries, they may encounter different visa situations. Also, criminal offenses (even minor ones) and certain occupations (e.g. journalists) even when not traveling in connection with their occupation face restrictions in relation to visas. Generally there is little right of appeal in the event of a visa being refused, and one refusal can become be a lifetime barrier to entry. Therefore, take considerable care and accuracy with visa applications and people likely to be at risk of refusal should weigh up the risk of applying against the benefit of traveling. Remember that people may be tired from a long flights when they undertake inbound immigration formalities; remind them of the importance of being alert, accurate, cooperative and courteous in answering questions at that time.
International roaming. Given that Wikimedia is an online organization, it is realistic to expect our travelers to make cell phone calls and to access the Internet while traveling. While many telephone and data providers support international roaming, it is often at very high cost. Be sure the traveler is aware of this and offer advice about the alternatives. For instance, your organization may want to consider providing local SIM cards.
Insurance for international travelers. It is important that travelers have adequate insurance, including medical insurance, liability insurance, and insurance for items (like cameras and phones) that may be lost, stolen, or damaged. People who are adequately insured in their home countries may not realize that their insurance provides them with less or no coverage when they travel internationally. For some suggestions about insurance for international travelers, see this page from the U.K. government or ask your legal adviser.
Driving in another country. Many countries require drivers to obtain local drivers' licenses, registration, and/or insurance.
Local laws and customs. These may vary significantly from a traveler's home country. Travelers should learn about laws and customs of any country where they visit before they travel to that country.
Vaccinations. some vaccinations are recommended or required for visiting certain countries.
Medicines. there may be restrictions on bringing medicines into another country, even if they were legally prescribed in a traveler's home country. For example, medical marijuana may be legally prescribed in some jurisdictions, but carrying it into another jurisdiction may be a criminal offense. Check whether your medicines are legal in all jurisdictions that you may be visiting, and what documentation is recommended.
Money transactions in another country. Before people travel internationally, they should notify their banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions that they will be traveling. Travelers should be aware of currency exchange rates and fees. "Avoid carrying cash and consider using traveler's checks or major credit cards instead (but make sure they are accepted at your destination before departing on your trip)," and "Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill."
Emergency contacts with consulates and family members. It is advisable for travelers to leave copies of their passports and travel information with a trusted person at home, including information like airline flight numbers and the names of hotels where the traveler will stay. Travelers should know the contact information for their country's consulate or embassy in the country that they are visiting. In an emergency, a consulate may be able to pass communications between home and a traveler.
- Grants:Learning patterns/International events? Allow three months for visa formalities
- Learning patterns/Timing, Communication, Preparation: How to support your event participants in the best way to get a Schengen Visa
- Grants:Learning patterns/Arranging travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Air travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Rail travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Automobile travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Short-distance travel
- "Tips for Traveling Abroad." Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Accessed December 2014.