Tips to remember when travelling abroad

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Many foreign countries are rich in unfamiliar sights, enchanting landscapes, and thrilling activities. The huge cost involved in undertaking such journeys is the only discouraging factor.

However, with proper planning and judicious selection, these countries can be visited at lower costs. Advance planning and estimation is required on the expenses of stay, food and travel while touring. Costs could be considerably reduced with such advance preparations.

• For getting visa, all countries require the passports to be valid at least for six months.

• Passport is not required if travelling to Nepal and Bhutan by road. Any recognized identification document will do.

• Various countries have various norms for the issuing of visa.

• The visa approval is done by the High Commission, Consulate, or the Embassy. They have every right to reject visa for applications of doubtful authenticity.

• The High Commission issues visas in the Commonwealth countries. Apart from the prescribed documents, whatever documents the High Commission asks for will need to be produced.

• Most countries accept US dollars apart from the local currency. Some countries even prefer US dollars to the local currency. Some countries accept US dollars directly while some others will need the US dollars to be converted to the local currency.

Schengen visa

Schengen Visa is required for travelling to 26 countries of the European Union. All the member countries could be toured using Schengen Visa. If there are more than one member country in the itinerary, the visa is to be issued by the country in which the stay is going to be the longest. Fifteen working days are required for the issue of Schengen Visa. The visa should be obtained through VFS Global Facilitation Centre.

The Schengen visa application form, available online can be downloaded and filled and this is to be submitted along with air tickets, hotel bookings, bank statements for the past three months (the statement should indicate enough amount to cover the travel expenses. Details of credit cards etc. could also be produced), International Travel Insurance, NOC from the work place and recent photographs of prescribed size.

The passports should have at least three blank pages. 200-300 AED is normally the visa fee. Visa will be issued in 15 working days. The processing is facilitated through VFS. If the itinerary includes countries outside the Schengen members, the Visa will need to be separately applied to the respective countries with all the documents. Normally, senior citizens are charged USD 90 for issue of visa. The charges may be lower than normal depending on the age of the applicant, his/her nationality and other factors.

If the tour is only to one of the European Union countries, it is sufficient to take the Visa of that country only. Some of these could be obtained directly while some others will be processed through VFS.

Singapore Airline's Scoot, and India's Indigo, Air India Express, Fly Dubai, Spice Jet are budget airlines. If you choose one of these, the expenses on airfare could be reduced. Scoot runs the services only on fixed dates.

Travel packages of varying itinerary and expenses are provided by various travel agencies. The most suitable may be chosen from these.

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