“When you go on a trip …” – the most important preparations for overseas travel

Sometimes wanderlust just arrives without warning! If you suddenly get the urge to travel to far–away countries, to foreign cultures or different climates, you will want to act quickly and put your plans into action. But before you depart there are also a few things to be prepared so that your trip abroad is successful. Here we have put together a list of things to think about beforehand.


Leave yourself enough time to make preparations for your journey as after all, there are quite a number of things to do. If you need to apply for a visa, there are set time limits and periods for issue which must be taken into account; if you get a vaccination, then a certain period of time must also pass before it takes effect. It also does no harm to leave a small time allowance for any other unforeseen circumstances. Depending on your destination, a preparation time of 6-8 weeks is recommended.

Entering the county

It is absolutely essential before starting your journey to take a look at your passport or as necessary, to apply for a passport. (Caution: it can take up to six weeks for a passport to be issued). Always take a close look at the validity period for your passport and also at the regulations prevailing at your destination on how long a passport should still be valid after your entry to the country. It may also be that you need a visa whereby for most travel destinations the limit is set at 90 days so only those who stay longer need to have a visa. On the website of the Foreign Office you will find an overview of all countries and their entry requirements.


It depends on your destination which vaccinations you will need. It is therefore essential to consult a doctor. Classic vaccination protection for example against measles, diphtheria, poliomyelitis or influenza should also be checked during a travel medical check-up and updated as necessary. These medical advice centers, especially institutes of tropical medicine and public health departments, are specialized in overseas medicine precautions. The classic travel vaccinations include hepatitis A, yellow fever and typhoid. You must also take into account that some vaccinations, e.g. against rabies or hepatitis B, must be given in several doses at specific intervals so that the preparation time can be considerably longer. If your journey takes you to countries where there is widespread malaria, then of course malaria prophylaxis is recommended.

Pre-travel medical check

In general it is always advisable to consult a doctor before overseas travel. It can be clarified if your physical condition is in order for a long flight and the subsequent climate changes. Regardless of this, advice on thrombosis precautions is also useful. On long flights which entail sitting for a long time there is an increased thrombosis risk. When sitting for a longer time the veins in the knee region are “bent” and so the blood flow is slower. There are medications or aids such as thrombosis stockings. During the flight you can also practice some special exercises against thrombosis for example by walking up and down the aisle, massage to the calves and drinking a lot of fluid. Another point to be clarified by the doctor is that of medications to be taken. The time for taking medicine must often be coordinated to time difference. This applies in particular for medication to lower the blood pressure or for anticoagulants, cortisone and contraceptive pills.

Travel First Aid Kit

In conjunction with your visit to the doctor you can also check how well equipped your first aid kit is or start to put together a first aid kit for your journey. Basic requisites include: agents to reduce fever and pain, tablets in cases of nausea, intestinal ailments, sunburn, insect stings, allergies, fungus infections, conjunctivitis and bruises.

Sun protection

Regardless of whether your journey takes you to tropical, Mediterranean, polar or more moderate climates, you must always take sun protection crème with you. The sun’s rays reach the earth at different angles in different places and this has a major influence on their effect. Our skin has a certain built-in protection level which is dependent on skin, hair and eye color. The rule of thumb is: the lighter the skin and hair, the more sensitive you are to the sun. A waterproof sun cream with a high protection factor can reduce the risk of sunburn, but cannot prevent it entirely. Such protection increases the time for the skin’s own protection in the sun but also in the shade. Even if you are not a sun-worshipper, sun protection is incredibly important as in southern countries the sun has a stronger effect. The right way to apply sun cream: always allow the cream to be absorbed by your skin before you go out into the sun; apply generously; re-apply after swimming and drying off. Use “After Sun” products to give moisture back to your skin. Wear a sun hat to prevent sunstroke.

Travel health insurance

When booking a journey, no-one thinks that they might be ill. It is, however, very important to take out medical cover for long journeys to far-away destinations. Especially when traveling to countries where the climate can be quite a challenge to people from central Europe and where hygiene conditions are somewhat problematic, it makes sense to insure against all eventualities. The national health system has only limited means in other countries and so health care or hospitalization at your travel destination could have a severe negative effect on your holiday funds. International medical insurance takes over the costs for treatment, operation, medication, dental treatment, hospital stays and even for return transport. Premiums depend on the provider, the duration and the tariff model, but in all cases are better than what would have to be paid without insurance. For a journey to an overseas destination it is therefore essential to take out international medical insurance.

Conduct in other countries

Different countries have different customs – how to behave in foreign cultures, the codes of conduct etc. are not always immediately obvious and therefore it is worth while getting the respective information. In particular, for example, should your journey take you to Islam countries and you are traveling as a couple, then you should be aware that it may be prohibited to exchange any “signs of affection” in public which can also be punishable. It is also advisable to adapt your clothing to suit the local customs. In general, we recommend that you research in advance the customs prevailing at your destination if you wish to move around freely in appropriate manner.


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