There are two basic areas which relate to organising your trip. The first is deciding who to travel with. Finding the perfect travel companion is very important. The second relates to what to pack, health insurance, preparing for local transport issues, and the like. Here are some of our most useful tips to help you plan effectively..
What should I pack?
To help you determine what you need to bring, Connecting Worlds has made a list of items that you will need. You can download it by clicking here . A lot of what you pack will be determined by the nature of your program and the time of the year. Some destinations in Asia and Latin America experience all four seasons, but the other way around to Europe and the U.S…. For example, Summer is at Christmas and Winter falls during July and August. However, other destinations experience just two seasons: wet and dry.
Where to live?
Connecting Worlds has an extensive and reliable network of lodging and housing options across Asia and Latin America. We can help you find lodgings in safe neighborhoods, with good access to everything that will form part of your program, and in comfortable settings with welcoming families/housemates. We’ll make sure that you feel at home when you arrive.
In most urban destinations across Latin America, the following local transport options are available...
TAXIS: Taxis are the most expensive means of transport, and foreigners need to be aware that sometimes taxi drivers take advantage of your foreign status and they raise the rates. Therefore, only enter a taxi which has the meter running. Female travelers should be careful not to travel in taxis alone, particularly at night. It might be best to stick with public transport and in areas where there’s always lots of people.
BUSES:Some destinations have excellent bus systems and others have systems which aren’t so impressive. Most Latin American bus services are now converting to a plastic card system, whereby you charge up a card and use that to get on and off the bus as you please. Connecting Worlds will be able to advise you on the local situations of each place in turn. Buses in Latin America are normally the cheapest form of public transport available, but they rarely last all night. In some large cities, like Buenos Aires, some lines run all night, but far less frequently than during the day.
SUBWAY:Most large cities in Latin America have a metro system and it’s usually one of the more expensive forms of public transport, but also the quickest. One important thing to do before going out at night is to find out when the local metro system stops working. Latin American metro services never run through the night and they tend to stop working before the buses.
TRAINS: Trains are a great way to get to know that suburbs of the city you’re living in, or the nearby locations close to your host town. It’s normally best to reserve train tickets in advance and to plan your trips carefully. Train prices vary from one country to the next. It’s almost important to state that not all Latin American destinations offer train services of this kind.
WALKING:Walking is the easiest and cheapest way to travel, and one of the best ways to get a feel for your new “home” after you first arrive. Always give yourself enough time to return before it gets really dark. When you’re in a foreign place, walking around at night can be dangerous. Particularly if you suddenly lose your way.
You must check whether or not you need a visa to enter the Latin American or Asian country you plan to visit before you fly. You might get turned away at the airport if you don’t meet the necessary visa requirements. In some Latin American countries, depending on your nationality, you might have to pay a Reciprocity Fee when you arrive at the foreign airport, before they allow you to enter the country. Again, be prepared, and find out whether or not you will be liable to pay any fees upon arrival. Connecting Worlds is happy to help you investigate.
Anyone participating in one of our programs must have a valid medical insurance policy, which covers sickness, accidents, and third party liabilities. It is also a prerequisite that the medical insurance cover includes medical evacuation and repatriation.
Medications & Vaccinations
Anyone who takes regular prescription drugs should see their doctor before their trip. Connecting Worlds advises that you to bring a little more medication than you think you’ll need to cover you on your stay abroad, just to be on the safe-side and in case you decide to extend your trip and visit a few places before returning home. Lots of people fall in love with Latin America when they participate on one of our programs, so be prepared for not wanting to leave. To ensure that there are no problems with your medications whilst in Latin America, you must have either a copy of the prescription or a signed, stamped note from your doctor. Knowing the generic names, and not just the brands, of each medication is also recommended.
Depending on the country and region you choose to visit, you might have to get a vaccination from a local clinic before you fly. Again, Connecting Worlds is here to help you, but we also recommend you do a little investigation yourself so that you are thoroughly informed. Some vaccinations are advised, but are not mandatory. There are people who choose not to get vaccinated because of a disbelief in westernised medicine techniques. Unless mandatory before entering the country, no-one can force you to get vaccinated, but you should be thoroughly aware of all risks before making any decisions.
If you want to find cheap airline tickets, Connecting Worlds recommends the following:
1. Book in advance.
2. Travel during the week, not on the weekend.
3. Avoid traveling on days before an important date - which means you should check the cultural calendar of the country which you’re flying too as well.
4. Check secondary airports for even lower prices, as most destinations have secondary airports for low cost airlines. Choosing these airports will give you more of a chance to find lower fares.
5. Use a price comparison service on the Internet.