A trip, even a short one, should be prepared in advance to ensure that it runs smoothly. Administrative formalities are part of this preparation phase. Knowing the 5 documents you need to travel allows you to make the most of your stay and leave with peace of mind.
Etymologically, the word passport comes from “pass” and “port”. It originally referred to the free movement of goods before applying to men from 1464 onwards. Today, this document issued by the state authorities of a country is used to prove the identity and nationality of a person who is about to travel to a foreign nation.
In France, it is generally at the level of the town hall that one has to apply for a passport. There are also, in some cities, counters equipped with a registration station to record your application.
A passport is valid for 10 years for an adult and 5 years for a minor. How long it takes to produce this important travel document depends mainly on the time and place where you apply. In general, it is two to three weeks, but can be shorter in a small town. Conversely, as the holidays approach, the time may be longer as the number of files to be processed increases.
Lost or stolen passports can have disastrous consequences for your trip. To prevent this kind of inconvenience, remember to keep it safe from thieves. Do not leave it in your empty hotel room. Always keep it in a safe place, whether it is in your room safe or in the hotel reception area. If you must keep it with you, be careful to avoid loss or theft.
Don’t forget to make copies of your passport and keep a few copies in your luggage, and even keep some in your mailbox. This will make it easier for you to get an emergency passport from the consulate of your destination country in case of loss or theft.
A visa is a document issued by the authorities of a country to allow a foreign national to enter its territory for a specified period of time. Some countries require a visa, while others require only a valid passport, so you should find out beforehand what the entry requirements are for the country you plan to visit.
For example, if you want to go sightseeing in Thailand, relax on the beautiful beaches of the Seychelles or in Bermuda, a 3-month tourist visa is sufficient. For some countries, obtaining a visa is one of the prerequisites before taking the plane or car. This is the case of India or Australia. Also, the cost is different. The visa costs 87,5 € for India while it is completely free for Australia.
In some cases it is possible to apply for a tourist visa when you disembark at the airport. Thus, for a stay of less than 90 days in the United Arab Emirates, French nationals are exempt from an entry visa for the Emirates since May 6, 2015. If you are going to Vietnam, the country offers visitors a one-month single-entry visa at a rate of $43, issued at Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi International Airports. Laos also offers tourists this type of visa, which is valid for 30 days and costs between $20 and $45, depending on the nationality of the applicant.
Some countries make the entry of a foreign national into their territory conditional on the purchase of compulsory travel insurance. These include Russia, Cuba, China and Algeria.
However, even if your destination country does not expressly require travel insurance, it is advisable to do so as a precaution. When you travel abroad, you are not immune to illness or accident. The quality of the local water, a diet that is generally different from what you are used to, the climate or the level of hygiene are the main factors that can cause illness during your stay. If you fall ill, are hospitalized or even repatriated to France, not only will your stay be short, but the expenses may be considerable and put a heavy strain on your budget.
With the purchase of travel insurance, a large number of claims will be covered by the insurer. If offers differ from one company to another, there are certain guarantees that must absolutely be included in your contract: medical expenses (including medical and paramedical acts, laboratory tests and pharmacy), hospitalization costs and repatriation to your home country if necessary.
Also think about civil liability in the event that you are involved in an accident causing property damage or bodily injury to others. Your insurance may also include cancellation coverage and luggage insurance in case of loss, theft or alteration of your personal belongings during the trip.
Before packing your suitcase, check that your vaccination record is up to date. Whatever your destination, it is recommended that you have up-to-date pertussis and tuberculosis (BCG), measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP) vaccines.
For those planning to travel to Africa, it is also advisable to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, typhoid, and possibly meningococcal A and C if you will be staying in an area where this disease is endemic or if you need to come into close contact with the population.
In South America, vaccination against yellow fever, hepatitis A and B and rabies is particularly indicated to ward off any risk.
If you plan to travel to Asia, it is best to get vaccinated against rabies, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitis.
While some “universal” vaccinations can be done by your doctor, there are more than a hundred vaccination centres in France that allow you to be vaccinated before a trip. If you live in Paris, you can go to the Institut Pasteur Hospital in the 15th arrondissement. Two injections against hepatitis B will cost you about €26 in this establishment compared to €42 for the yellow fever vaccination. You can also go to the Air France International Vaccination Centre in the 7th arrondissement for your hepatitis B or yellow fever vaccination, for example. You will be charged €30 for the former and €45 for the latter.
A driver’s licence is one of the essential travel documents if you plan to travel by car once you arrive at your destination. Renting a car allows you to discover the country at your own pace and, in some cases, to avoid travel sickness due to public transport.
If you are travelling within the European Economic Area (EEA) and wish to drive abroad, your French driving licence is sufficient. As soon as you travel outside Europe, it is often possible to use your French driving licence if your stay is short, but sometimes an international driving licence is required. To find out, you can find out before your departure on the portal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or at the embassy of your destination country.
Whatever the nature of your next trip, remember to check your passport, visa, travel insurance, vaccination record and driver’s license before you leave. It is essential that all of these documents are in order in order to leave with peace of mind. If you need assistance in choosing your travel insurance, ACS is able to provide you with all the necessary advice and direct you to the offers that suit you.