Red Tape varies from country to country and also largely differs depending of your very nationality. Therefore, we won’t start to be specific here. Do your homework before visiting one place:
- Is a visa required for your nationality?
- Where is the last possible place to apply for a visa? You cannot get visas everywhere, sometimes it might even be required that you apply for a visa in your home county or country of residence! This is the case for Iran (at the time of writing, though it might turn much easier in the near future) and for some African countries like both Congos.
- What is required for a visa? There specifically, some countries have odd demands (India for example requires a certain format for photos).
- How much does the visa cost? We recommend that budget traveler closely look into this, as visas can be very expensive, especially in Africa. Heidi had to pay 125 € for Malawi, whereas for Gilles, a French citizen, it was for free. Some South American countries require American citizens to have a visa, especially if the USA requires a visa from the citizens of the very country. (“Reciprocity”)
- Check rules regarding onward travel. Almost every country requires proof of onward or return travel. In reality, it is hardly ever checked: we have traveled to more than 40 countries outside Europe so far, and only New Zealand & the USA have been serious about it. Nevertheless, be aware that some major airlines do ask, mostly in Europe and the USA.
Also be aware of specific rules that sometimes apply: for instance, some countries are very serious about importing food, seeds, or whatever might endanger their agriculture. Entering New Zealand, Heidi got a serious fine for having some shells and beads she had gathered on a remote beach.
Last but not least, the most important item you have when you travel is your passport. Losing it might turn very unpleasant, costly and time consuming. We prefer to have it with us all the time, like in a tightly closed pocket, when traveling. Digital copies of our passports and of the current visas are saved on our DropBox accounts and on our Smart Phones. We would strongly recommend you to do so…