When planning your trip one of the most important things to consider is what visas you’ll need for the countries you want to visit. We had hoped to hop from country to country as and when we felt like it, which is okay sometimes, however sooner or later you’ll stumble upon a country that has strict visa requirements.
We were initially overwhelmed when we realised just how many countries wanted us to apply for visas, especially those that needed us to leave our passports with them for a few days and of course we discovered this at around the same time we had short trips planned and couldn’t risk posting our passports off!
We had a trip to the Caribbean planned followed by a couple of days in London, a week in Finland and then 10 days later (right in the middle of Xmas and New Year when everything is closed) we had flights to Thailand booked.
To avoid any lost passport issues we ended up going to the Caribbean for a couple of weeks, flying back into London and rushing over to the Thai Embassy straight from the airport to apply for a visa (where we had to leave our beloved passports), we then returned the next day to collect them before jetting off again a couple of days later to Finland – not ideal!!
Thankfully since then we have discovered the holy grail of visa shopping that is Visa HQ. This lovely little website will tell you what visas you need and how to get them. They simplify it all by obtaining the visas for you (yes, multiple visas for multiple countries) and all you need to do is fill out a form and post your passport to them. A few days later you’ll have your passport back in hand complete with all the visas you applied for.
Visa HQ where have you been all my life!?
We still like to travel freely and so whilst we have our visas sorted for the next couple of stops, we haven’t bothered to look any further ahead as we really don’t know where we want to go yet. We’re hoping to meet people on the road who will inspire us to visit countries they loved, and if we had a whole itinerary planned out on advance, we’d miss out on some really cool opportunities.
Thanks to Visa HQ we’re not too worried about visa issues on the road as we can use it to look up visa requirements easily. Although we won’t be able to post off our passports to them to sort the visas out for us, we can use the site to apply for electronic visas (like those required by Cambodia) and should we need to go to an embassy to apply for a visa in person, Visa HQ goes the extra mile by giving us the address of the relevant embassy at the country we’re in at the time of application.
For example if I’m currently travelling Malaysia but want to go to Thailand next, Visa HQ tells me that I can enter for 30 days without a visa. But hang on, I want to go to Thailand for 45 days! No problem. Visa HQ tells me I can apply for a tourist visa at the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It even gives me the address and contact details –
So whilst visas are always going to be a pain for us travellers, with Visa HQ in our pockets we can still travel freely, without long terms plans and know that the answer to our next visa conundrum is only a couple of clicks away.
Have you had any visa nightmares? How do you get your visas on the road? Let us know in the comments below.