Things to do before traveling out of the country.
Securing a visa to travel abroad is usually very exciting, suddenly what seemed like a dream turns into a dream come true – You wake up from a long dream of living abroad and you realize you would actually be leaving your country for another country. At this point, you should start preparing for your journey, like a police informant who just got made, it is time to get your affairs in order.
1. Change some cash to dollars or euro
The bank offers you to the opportunity of buying a personal travel allowance of up to $4000 as a student and BTA (Business travel allowance) of up to $5000, take advantage of this opportunity, find a bank that offers PTA (Personal Travel Allowance) and get some dollars.
Naira MasterCard, Visa Cards, and every other MasterCard would work almost anywhere in the world but remember you would be limited to just ATM transactions and ATM transactions come with withdrawal limits and a wholesome commission on every transaction. This is why it is always a good idea to hold on to some cash in an internationally denominated currency such as the US Dollars or Euro.
2. Settle all scores
When your doctor tells you to put your affairs in order because you have few days to leave. It does not matter if he said “live” or “your leave your country” you need to get your affairs in order. Settle your debts, if you are not returning anytime soon, close or empty your bank accounts that are not linked to an internationally accepted ATM card, inform your account officer you would be travelling out of the country, try and recover some debts being owed to you, resign from your work or find an agreement that would allow you come back in an increased capacity after your studies, tell your loved ones you would be travelling out of the country and on a lighter note, go tell your crush about your feelings, it is worth a chance.
3. Bank charges
Speak to your bank, get an advice on how to operate your bank account from your intended destination, inquire about the charges for using your card at your destination, ask if your ATM card can work in that part of the world. This would enable you pick the best option available to you, even if it means you have to open a new account in a new bank. Additionally, I advise you to open a dollar, Euro or Pound denominated domiciliary account. It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
4. Research your destination
Once you get your visa, you should check the weather of your destination, this would help you know what kind of clothing to pack, what to wear on the plane, you do not want to land in a freezing country wearing light clothing.
Check the currency, the exchange rate, cost of living, cost of accommodation and if possible, learn basic words in the country’s language. Doing all these things would make your first few weeks in a foreign country a lot easier.
5. Update Your Electronic Devices
I am assuming you are travelling with a smartphone, tablet or a laptop. If my assumption is correct, you should fill your device with movies, songs, important files you might not need at your destination. This could also provide a good in-flight entertainment for you.
Download a translation app, this could help you communicate with locals when you reach your destination.
Download a currency converter, this could help you calculate your expenses in your local currency.
Switch off your phone’s data services once the plane is about to takeoff, this would save you roaming expenses, stick to WiFi till you switch your Sim card.
You should also download VoIP apps like Skype, Viber, and similar apps, this could help you communicate before and after switching your Sim card.
Add country calling codes to the numbers in your contact list, e.g add 234 to all your Nigerian phone numbers.
If you do these things before travelling out of the country, you would find your first few weeks very settling and less frustrating.