International Travel Visa Advice

Before we proceed, a word to the wise: When I was in my early twenties I bought a round the world ticket, starting in Sydney. The first flight was to Vietnam via Singapore. Rather than take responsibility for my trip, I blindly arrived in Saigon, where they asked for my travel visa, which of course I didn’t have. Travel visa?

Turns out you had to buy your visa before landing on Vietnamese soil. In my case, they quickly escorted me back to the plane I arrived with, and flew me back to Singapore.

Here is my advice for people interested in international travel visa requirements:

Buy travel visas prior to arrival. This lesson was driven home with monster truck force. Ever since that fateful day, I have always arrived with my visa in hand. There are several countries where you can buy your visa once you are on their soil, though I prefer to error on the side of caution.

Understand the different types of visas available. I have seen several instances where someone was denied entry into a country for business, but was able to purchase a tourist visa instead. Some countries grant an automatic visa for thirty days, but you have to apply for a visa if you want to stay longer. Learn the ins and outs of each country, and use them to your advantage.

Expect delays. Ah, the world of bureaucracy, where today can just as easily mean next week. There will be extra charges, fees, delays, bribes… plan your visa purchase at least a week in advance to avoid any chance of delaying your trip.

Unsure if you require an international travel visa? I recommend you search your country’s embassy site, as they provide the best information about limitations and requirements of your stay.