Oh, so there are some great deals to go to Europe in a few weeks, Australia, New Zealand, oh Morocco – I have been wanting to go there forever… Let me get on that deal there real quick. Wait! Stop! Not so quick, gotta check what the visa requirements are and if the process is gonna be a major pain… Travelling is expensive, added visa costs makes it even more restrictive and troublesome.
Oh yeah, I am from Jamaica so there is no just getting up and hopping on a plane for me. What I do is lots and lots of research on visa requirements and spend time pondering if what I want to experience in a country is worth the additional paper work and money. It all goes into the travel costs and budgeting to visit a country. I plan a year in advance for most of my jaunts. At the end of all of that it just reaffirms that travelling is expensive and only a deep longing to explore our world keeps me going.
Scenario 1 – visas that one can get on arrival at the airpot of a country being visited
The process to get this kind of visa is pretty straightforward though it may be costly. So while it is convenient it may be expensive…
Scenario 2 – evisas
All documents can be submitted online (usually passport details, information on lodging in the country and flight details) payments made online and the visa is picked up at the airport in the host country – not too painful unless the visa payments are over the top
Senario 3 – evisas
Some countries require all the same documents as in number 1 above but also bank statements, travel insurance with coverage over a specific amount with specific situations covered and a job letter detailing terms and salary among other documents. PAINFUL and can be costly
Scenario 4 – visas that one has to apply for in person at a consulate
To secure a visa one will need all the documents mentioned in two and three above and also have an interview. In many cases the costs of said visas for a single entry may be over 100 USD which is not refunded if an individual is not granted the visa.
Scenario 5 – transit visas
Yes, a flight may be cheap but do I need a transit visa for the country of countries it will transit through? This is important so I have to spend time checking and rechecking or calling embassies. Also how long is the layover? If I don’t need a transit visa but I can’t leave the airport, is it worth taking a cheaper flight just to fluff around an airport for 6 or more hours? Decisions, decisions…
Some tips and Strategies
I have friends from all over the world and I know there are some passports that allow for even more inconvenience when trying to jet set all over the world but I think the following may be useful for all of us:
- Focus on seeing a few sights in a region that has a universal visa such as the EU. The cost of the visa is not too bad and with all the documents to be submitted it is worth spending some good time in the region and getting your money’s worth.
- Visit countries where you don’t need a visa. Happily for me, there are quite a few countries that I am interested in Asia, on the African continent and in South America that has reciprocity with Jamaica.
- Check out countries that offer visa on arrival since the process is often more straightforward and in some cases the visa cost may be quite reasonable. I experienced this in Cambodia, Turkey and Jordan.
- Visit places that offer visas with some longevity such as Canada and America, so you can visit a few times before the visas expire.
- Save to visit the places you really want to experience that require ridiculous amounts for the visa such as Morocco, Ghana and Nigeria, in my case – I will get to them one of these days.
I am saving up since travel is expensive as it is then to add all those different visa costs.
It is not always easy to just jump on a deal and go but the greatest value for me is that I really spend time learning about a destination way in advance and embracing the privilege of being able to access these places.Travelling is expensive yes but many places are worth the expense.
C’est la vie…