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5 Essential Checks for a smooth Sabbatical

Passport: Many destinations require you to have 6 months validity on your passport from the point of entry, and two blank pages for a visa.

When visiting several countries on one trip, make sure you have 2 pages’ space for each visa and that you’ve still got 6 months on your passport when you reach your last country.

Visa: These can take longer than you think! Carve out an evening a couple of months before travelling to navigate the process and answer all the questions. Make sure you use the official website – there are many fakes that charge extra. LiNGER can advise on this.

Print out your visa – Immigrations often require a tangible copy. Don’t forget that even if just transiting through the USA and Canada, you need to have completed an ESTA / eTA.

Currency: ATM fees and bank fees for card purchases can add up quickly abroad. Get hold of a currency card before you go to avoid these.

We’ve tried and tested Caxton’s: it does not charge ATM withdrawal fees or transactions fees, has more favourable rates than most banks, and is accepted wherever there’s a Mastercard logo. There’s also a UK-based real person on the end of the phone should you need it. Please see: (for UK-based travellers).

Note that American Express cards are not always accepted; Mastercard and Visa are a better bet.

Vaccinations: You’ll need to get vaccinations 4-6 weeks prior to travelling for immunity to be effective. Often, the standard combination is sufficient: MMR, Tetanus, Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid. A Yellow Fever certificate of vaccination is a requirement for entry into some countries.

Most countries no longer have Covid vaccination requirements but it is worth checking. If you need to take Malaria tablets, Malarone (or a less expensive equivalent) needs to be taken a few days in advance and a week after being in the malarial zone.

Check what you need for your destination in advance:

Insurance: Insurance: Unforeseen events prior to your departure and during your trip can be very expensive. It’s a good idea to take out comprehensive cover for trip cancellation and travel health insurance. Check your trip covers for the activities you’ll be undertaking.

We do not endorse any provider however have had positive feedback from UK-based travellers who have taken out policies with Campbell Irvine:


Photo credit: Flamingos Julia Craice – Unsplash; Atacama Desert – Vinicius Henrique Photography Unsplash; Mountain legs – Jakob Owens Unsplash; Cacti, jungle bridge, Cartagena backpacks – Pikist.


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