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Preparation guide for travelling to the USA

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Passports and Visas

Countries which are participants in USA’s Visa Waiver Program will have its citizens benefit from the fact that they will not require to have a visa for travelling as a tourist or on short business for 90 days or less provided they meet a few eligibility requirements.

This does not mean that people will be able to just show up at an airport with their hands empty and just get leave for the US. Travelers must be in possession of a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The only way one can obtain this e-pass is to apply on the official website (esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta). Getting approval is usually pretty fast and it is recommended that you have this sorted out prior to preparing other things for you trip as without it you will be denied entry in the US. More information can be found ESTA Authorization here https://www.e-visa-usa.com/.

Vaccinations

It is generally not an obligatory thing when travelling to the US, however it is recommended that when travelling you should have the routine vaccinations kept up to date.

Travel Insurance

This should be an essential thing when traveling to the US, as the cost for medical care can be financially draining should something happen. A good thing to do is to purchase an insurance at the same time as you book the trip, this way you’ll be covered if you must cancel for whatever reason before you leave.

Monetary and Banking Tips

One thing you should start with when planning out your credit cards and your money is to announce your bank that you will be travelling to another country. Tell the banks you use a few weeks before your leave as they will consider card activity in foreign countries as potential frauds and this could get your accounts frozen.

As is the case with most developed countries, ATMs are available in most towns and cities. Just remember that there will be a foreign exchange free as well as a withdrawal fee for all your transactions. This can add up to quite a bit depending on the amount at hand so try and analyze the amount after each purchase.

To avoid this, consider changing your physical money before leaving for the US. Check out your local banks and see where is the best one you can get the most from this exchange. Avoid changing money at an airport as they will most likely have overinflated rates.

Handy phone/tablet applications

When travelling to the US you should consider downloading some map applications which will help you navigate the various cities and places you will most likely end up in. Consider getting offline applications just in case you will be stranded in a place with no mobile data available.

Clothing Tips

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If you are planning a long trip, taking the right clothes with you is extremely important. You want to be comfortable, but definitely do not want to be lugging around things that you do not really need. The globetrotter packing tips below will help you to do exactly that.

Dressing for the journey

The most difficult part of any trip is the journey. If you are going to be on the road, or in the air, for a prolonged length of time comfort has to be your primary consideration. Being comfortable is what makes the journey bearable, even enjoyable.

Bottoms

It is best to dress in flexible clothes, and wear layers rather than wear bulky items. Travelling in men’s joggers is far more comfortable than wearing stiff tight jeans that will cut into you if you have to sit for a prolonged period.

Tops and jackets

Wearing a t-shirt, with a light shirt and a wind and waterproof jacket is usually enough to keep you warm and dry. However, if you have a tendency to feel the cold wear a light jumper too, or buy a jacket that has a lining that can be zipped in and out. That way you can wear it separately should you need to.

The jacket you choose should have enough pockets to allow you to keep the essentials to hand. You need to be able to get to your passport and travel documents without having to go through your hand luggage.

It is important to have somewhere safe and secure to store your phone and money. Of course, you can keep these items in a bag, but if they are in your coat, you can feel them, so know they exactly where they are. Also, a coat is less likely to be snatched by a thief, or left somewhere by mistake. If you have the space, keep a charger, or power pack, in your coat pocket too. That way if you experience delays you can potentially keep your phone charged using a socket in a restaurant or airport lounge.

Footwear

The item many people get wrong is footwear. Shoes and boots take up a lot of space, and are often heavy too, so you need to minimise what you take. The best approach is to have one pair of sturdy covered in shoes or boots to wear while travelling or walking around. Then buy a pair of light sandals or flip flops for when you are in the room, on the beach or just popping out for a drink.

It is also important to take a couple of pairs of socks. Even if you are travelling somewhere hot, they can come in handy. They make a good alternative to slippers, and will save the day should it turn out that your shoes or boots were not as well worn in as you thought, and are rubbing.

As you can see, you need surprisingly little. Besides which, in most places, you can easily buy what you need, and replace the essentials as you go.

There is a good lightweight travel checklist available on this page. It tells you everything you will need to take with you for any trip, and explains how to make it all fit into hand luggage.

 

5 things to consider when moving abroad

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Moving abroad is a big deal and there is a lot to think about when you finally make the decision. So, to get you prepared for the move of a lifetime, here are a few things for you to consider while you’re planning your new life:

Don’t forget the boring stuff

It’s easy to get swept up in all of the excitement of moving, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about all the paperwork you have to organise. Taxes, health insurance, Visa and pension are all absolutely vital to your relocation. These should always be the first things on your mind when you’re planning your move as well as any other important paperwork that needs mailing or filing. It’s also a good idea to keep copies of all the important forms and keep them together in a safe place.

Get your money in order

Are you transferring your money to a bank abroad? Are there any payment plans that you need to update? How much money will you need to get you settled and where do you plan to go to get that changed to your new local currency. When you start planning these aspects f your move you also need to think about the exchange rate and the cost of living in your new home. The more you plan the easier it will be to make the transition. If you’re planning on only staying temporarily, a lot of banks can also schedule regular transactions from your account, so you won’t need to keep transferring money to fund your life abroad.

Storage or removal?

Depending on how long you’re planning on staying abroad, you might have different plans for your belongings. If you’re only living abroad for a short time – or at least intend to return in the future – you probably won’t want to take everything you own with you when you go away. In which case, storage would be something you need to organise before you go. If you decide to do that, you also give yourself the option of renting out your home while you’re gone instead of leaving it empty or selling it. On the other hand, moving abroad permanently or for a long time would require you to pack up most of your life and take it with you. Instead of trying to pack it into a million boxes and haul it across the ocean yourself, look into removal services. Reliable removal companies like ‘Imove International’ provide removals to Spain and elsewhere around Europe, so you can focus on transporting yourself while they take care of the rest.

Where is what and how do you get there?

Do you know where the nearest hospital is from your new home? Which bus will take you to work? Where will you be buying your groceries? Before you rush into life in a new country you would definitely benefit from getting a lay of the land. Acquaint yourself with all of the local facilities and know all the places to go and numbers to call if there’s an emergency.

Get to grips with the cultural basics

If you’re working in a foreign country, culture can have a big effect on the way employees and employers interact. Learning the basics of culture and language can save you from a lot of embarrassing incidents and misunderstandings. Being knowledgeable in foreign etiquette and social convention can be a great help when the time comes to make new friends and settle into your new life.

The Adventurists Ice Run: Now We’re Talking!

I always wanted to do one of the Adventurists crazy expeditions. The idea of driving across Europe to Mongolia or driving across India in a rickshaw just sounds like a big ball of fun. We did something similar in India in 2011 by rail, and being a part of a big rally like that is my sort of travel. But now they’ve turned it up a notch… check it out.

1400 Miles by Tandem

In late April Dave Cornthwaite Dave Cornthwaite and Sebastian Terry completed a 14 day, 1400 mile tandem bicycle ride between Vancouver, BC and Las Vegas, NV. The journey was the 4th of Cornthwaite’s Expedition1000 project, in which he is attempting 25 separate non-motorised journeys of 1000 miles or more, and the 51st item on Terry’s bucket list, 100 Things.

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