Wait, what do I need again?
It's time to brush up on some international travel basics.
If you're reading this, it's too late--Just kidding.
In all seriousness, if you're reading this now you've most likely taken the first step in broadening your horizons by taking on one of our challenges. We have a variety of students every year who take our trips and a good percentage of them are traveling outside the country for the first time. Based on this notion, we wanted to outline some of the basic steps you need to take in order to get yourself squared away before your departure date. You are responsible for arranging and must be in possession of, a valid passport and any visas and vaccination certificates required for the entirety of your journey. I'd recommend bookmarking this post, as it will almost serve as a basic checklist for yourself. Also stay tuned for future posts on our Facebook trekking forum for more on this topic.
First things first, you're going to need one of these bad boys to travel anywhere outside the country. Make sure to get this squared away as soon as possible. Depending on where you are going you may need to start this process a little earlier, especially if it's your first passport. Depending on whether you do/don't have a passport, there are different steps you need to take:
- You DON'T have a passport: You'll need to head to your local post office, library, or fill out a physical form to begin the process of applying for a passport. Make sure not to wait until the last minute to begin this process because it takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks for you to receive yours in the mail. You can read more about getting a new passport here .
- You DO have a passport, but it's EXPIRED: There are a lot of conditions and qualifications in terms of whether or not you need to renew your passport. Visit the US Postal Service's website or the DMV to look up your situation to see whether or not you need to renew.
- You DO have a passport: Double check to make sure it's not expired 👍
Simply put: We require our participants to get this in order to ensure you are not only safe but that we maintain our standards as an ethical and professional adventure tourism group.
The two important things to note when getting your insurance are:
- Getting a policy that covers you up to the highest point of your trek (ft)
- For example, if you're climbing Kilimanjaro, you need to get a policy that covers you up to 20,000 ft to accommodate the mountain's peak of 19,341 ft.
- You get your policy and provide proof of purchase to us 10 days before your trip departure date at the very latest.
Some countries require an official visa to enter their country, and it's the responsibility of the trekker to acquire one (if needed) before the trip departure date. The two trips we currently offer (as of this post) that require a visa are Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Everest Base Camp (Nepal). While we cannot get you a visa directly, we can certainly help guide you in the right direction for starting that process. Just to get an idea of where to start, here is a short article from that dives a little deeper into applying for one or check out some advice from our London colleague, Lucy:
More of a cautionary point, but make sure you have enough funds in your bank account before leaving just in case you need them and to have a convenient way to pay for things throughout your trip. Depending on where you are going there may/may not be ATMs, so make sure to read your challenge info packs or ask us if you have any questions.
Make sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor ahead of time to ask their professional medical opinion as to which vaccinations you'll need before heading to whichever country your trip is located in. Make sure to bring your challenge info pack along with you to show your doctor to ensure you get all the proper vaccinations you'll need.
Do you need to know how to speak fluent Spanish when traveling to Peru? Not necessarily. Would it be a good idea to know some of the native language of a brand new culture you're about to submerge yourself into? Probably.
You can do anything from looking up information on Google, through travel websites, and even download some useful smartphone apps. Duolingo especially is a great language learning app that makes learning another language easy and fun.
Join our trekking forum to get the latest tips, articles, and advice for your upcoming trip. You can also follow us on social media to get the latest on what we're up to everyday to make your adventure even better!