Passports and Visa
Of course, when travelling outside Europe, you are in need of a passport and probably some (tourist)visas. Before departing, make sure a) your passport is valid for at least 6 months after returing home, b) there is enough room for stamps and c) you make visa arrangements prior to departing. Take into account that most visas are valid for only 3 months before entering the country.
Some countries have disputed or troubled areas, where foreigners are not supposed to visit or need additional permits or clearance (like Tibet, North-East India or Gaza). These need to be obtained in advance. Of course, most foreign ministries will have a travel advise website, that can help on foreign issues (e.g. http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/reisadviezen)
Countries with neighbouring or regional disputes might not like you visiting their rivals, so pay attention to documents and stamps coming from one country, entering from a rivalling nation; e.g. Isreali stamps or visas in your passport blocks you from entering several Middle Eastern nations. The same might go for Iran and Saoudi Arabia, China and India, Pakistan and India, Armenia and Azerbijan, Russia and many countries. And of course, your country might be the rivalling nation, when it supports or opposes political or religious stakes. Knowing this in advance can save a lot of trouble.
When carrying medicine or drugs, a medical declaration may be advisable. Islamic countries generally have VERY strict drug legislation, sometimes punishable by death. Before departure, check all countries for need of vaccinations; if so, bring a medical passport. And it may come in handy to know your blood type, when things get real ugly and critical. Take into account that many foreign hospitals or doctors demand you pay ahead, in local cash.
A lot of personal insurance can be obtained, if you like. The most crucial would of course be health and possibly safety insurance. Maybe property and legal, but we don’t. When on a long-term trip, your national health insurance plan might not cover all expenses or countries: inform ahead. And bring your insurance papers and emergency numbers. Check in advance whether your insurance covers repatriation and whether it covers travelling in countries with a negative travel advice.
We tend to make laminated colour copies of all critical documents. Most places like hotels or other non-officials accept them as identification, and this way they can never keep you hostage by not returning your papers. Even random checks by police or military will often accept copies, and if they don’t you can always present the original documents.
Most major cities have ATM’s and many places will accept cards. But most interesting places involve rural areas. Physical money still rules globally. No need for travellers cheques, we carry cash. Of course you want to keep it safe, so you may want to spread it and not keep it all in the car. So we have some on us and keep most of it in a car-safe. How much to bring would depend on duration and destination, but at least a few hundred Euros, to maybe a few thousand (e.g. to Iran, where no ATMs are present). We keep to major currency, mostly Euro, sometimes Dollar.
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