Travel guide: Lea On The Run – Part 1
In her four-part travel review and guide "Lea On The Run" Natucate ambassador Lea writes about her experiences of living abroad for several months – from travel preparations to returning home.
Soon you will start travelling! Nervous?
Of course, you are! You probably spent a lot of time deciding about the project you would like to join and cannot wait to start. And most likely some people will keep asking you if you have already packed and taken care of everything. There are definitely many things you must organize before it finally is time to say “see you soon!”. Often the excitement takes over and some things like entry requirements, medical care or equipment are forgotten. When I travel, my thoughts are with the new culture, beautiful nature and tasty food. Is it the same for you? Don’t worry! Help is on the way. I will tell you something about the most important things to remember, so that you have more time to dream about the adventure to come!
What you should remember for the arrival
This question is not easy to answer. Natucate will support and inform you before your departure. If you do not want to spend your holiday at the airport of Botswana or somewhere else, informing yourself before your departure is important. Every country has different entry requirements and it is easy to lose track. Most of the time there is a tourist visa which is valid for 90 days and is given to you at the airport, when you arrive in the country.
Sometimes it is a bit more complicated and you must proof that you have a return flight which takes you out of the country again, so that you do not exceed the amount of days which you are allowed to stay in the country. Especially when you plan a longer trip or an internship this can be difficult. Usually the ministry of foreign affairs of your home country should have up-to-date information about travelling to other countries, where you can inform yourself and start preparing for your trip.
What about health protection?
In general, medical advice is as diverse as the arrival information. But again, Natucate is there for you to help. Often there are a lot of vaccination recommendations. Diphtheria, tetanus and rabies are vaccinations we would always recommend as well as hepatitis A and B and typhus. When you start planning your trip you should consult your doctor and talk with him/her about vaccinations. Your doctor knows your medical history and can provide you with the best advice. For diseases like malaria or others you should bring a first-aid kit. In case you forget something, the local doctors and pharmacies can usually help you out. To be prepared for such a case or even for an emergency, you should get travel health insurance before your departure – this is an obligation when you are travelling with Natucate so that you can start your adventure with worrying.
And what should I pack into my backpack?
From my own experience I can tell you that I walk around in the same clothes almost every day. This is why my packing list is very simple, but sufficient. I only pack as much as I can comfortably wear on my back. To me it is important that my luggage is easy to store and does not take to much space in full busses. But I also want to be prepared for every occasion. Sports and functional clothing are my favourite because it dries super-fast and is comfy. If you are not sure what to pack, you can ask yourself the following questions:
What will the climate be like? Do I need a rain jacket, a fleece hoody, warm socks?
Will I be active, e.g. will I go hiking? Are hiking boots, functional clothing, bathing suits or shorts important?
How do the locals dress themselves? Do I need to cover my skin or is it okay to wear shorts and a tank top?
You can follow these criteria to choose the clothes you would like to take with you. Most of the times it is enough to pack for a week, you should only bring more if you will not have the possibility to wash your clothes. In case you forgot or miss something, I am sure you will be able to get it while you are travelling. Of course, you do not need to wear traditional clothes, but adapt to the local traditions abroad and take care about how revealing the locals dress. I can tell you that you will feel much more comfortable if your dress code is adapted to your surroundings. Next to your clothes you should bring proper shoes as well as flip flops or sandals. You also may need camping equipment or other handy gadgets like a headlamp. Besides your own personal toiletries your washbag should contain a small first-aid kit. If you stay with a host family, you should bring a small present for them.
Travelling is often not a low-cost undertaking. Medical preparation, visa fees or your new hiking boots can be quite expensive. But you should always keep in mind why you are spending this money. Matthew Karsten once said: “ Investing in travelling is always an investment in yourself” – and that is never wrong.
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