Traveling Abroad for the first time – advice & travel schedule.

usa passport

Your first time overseas as an American international traveler? I can give you some advice on what to expect as well as my travel schedule, just for reference. I recently took a flight via Wizzair for the ridiculously low price of 8.99 GBP from London Luton to Tirana, Albania, granted it was the red eye flight and ill tell you more about discount airlines in Europe later in a related post. I also passed through the borders of England and Albania; as well as, through airport security at Luton airport and customs and border control in Albania. One important thing to note, as a traveler my passport is from the USA, so I was passing from one country that is NOT my home country to another country that is NOT my home country, a little more complex than if I was just returning home.

Here is some of what I experienced, but first of all I’ll give you a bit of background…. I am an American full-time traveler (American passport) who has visited about 20 countries but some of those were not on this trip, and as a child for example, I did not need a passport to visit Mexico (that was quite a few years ago) now you do of course. The same is true of the Bahamas. For England last month it was a super easy entry. I just needed to pass an E-gate that scanned my face in a biometric scanner and my passport in a text scan and image. It was not necessary to speak to a border agent upon entry. This is NOT true if you do not have a passport from the USA or countries like Australia or the EU. For other countries, entry was a bit more complex, So it really depends on the country that you are visiting and your passport of origin.

Most of the time getting a stamp on your passport as a tourist is just a formality. Thailand was a bit harder, more on this in a few sentences. Just as a rule of thumb, the longer you want to stay inside a country the harder it will be. Generally speaking, most countries will offer a tourist 90 days without too much hassle. Here’s one other note about my personal situation. I usually stay 1 to 3 months, so it might be a bit harder to explain that im a tourist for 3 months, if you are going for a week, it may be easier.

Things to check before you leave on your flight, do you need these? There are a few things that you may need to provide upon entry, and here’s the catch, it may be that is the AIRLINE that asks for these, not border control in the receiving country. So sometimes what happens is that the border control never checks to see if you possess an onward ticket for example, but the airline will. I personally had to purchase an onward ticket from Serbia, even though I had no intention of using it. I purchased the ticket via website then i refunded it for no charge within a 24 hour time period. The cost was $72 and after the refund $0.

Do you need to show proof accommodation? How about proof a bank balance? In some countries, you may be asked for these items. I was never asked, but it is suggested that you have a bank balance of roughly 60 to 100 euros per day for visits to European countries, or you can bring some cash in your pocket (but not too much because then it may have to be declared). Individual requirements vary by country. Here is a site that lists roughly the means of sustenance in many European countries. if you have prepaid accommodation, then it is less. Sometimes they may ask you for proof accommodation. I was asked where I was staying in Morocco. I told them the name of a hostel I booked for the first two nights, but this was only for 2 nights, not my entire stay in the country.

Do I need to be vaccinated for Coronavirus? or to have a PCR Test? Its been tough the past two years to be a traveler, but the good news is that virus-related restrictions are slowly going away. Here in Albania, just this month they lifted the requirement to have proof of vaccination. A few months ago upon entry into Morocco, I had to provide both a PCR test taken within 48 hours AND proof of vaccination to BOTH the airline before boarding AND to border control at the airport in Marrakech Morocco. I took the PCR at a clinic in Madrid Spain the day before my flight and had the results emailed to me the morning of (scheduled flight for the evening time). I received the Pfizer doses inside Albania before taking the flight to Spain. Spain requested JUST the vaccination in the form of a scannable QR code. At present only a few countries are totally closed to tourists, the big one being China. Just to make sure of the requirements, here’s my advice, contact the embassy for the country you plan on going to directly. Most of the branches have been very helpful in emailing back the confirmation of entry requirements within 48 hours of my inquiry. You can visit the US Embassy in Morocco’s website here:

Other requirements? Jordan has a requirement that you must have insurance to visit, so for long term travelers this might be an issue. I personally am not residing in the United States so I have no insurance there, or anywhere else (but I’m not yet visiting Jordan). There are some online companies that offer insurance to travelers as well as expats such as World Nomads. Some countries require you to have health insurance in general, and some require it in a specific amount for coverage of infection for coronavirus. You may want to check with your current health insurance company to see if they cover you in foreign countries. Happy travels!