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Traveling on a budget

Part three of our three-part series

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Check out Part 1 and Part 2

In our final travel installment, we’re going to go over the mildly boring, but incredibly important, details about traveling that people often forget about. Failing to take care of these details can have devastating consequences, both in terms of your health and your wallet.

First up, insurance. Insurance is essential for traveling, as even a minor injury or bout of illness in a foreign country can bankrupt you if you’re not covered with travel insurance. Good insurance can also cover you if your flights get canceled, or if something comes up and you need to cancel your trip at the last minute. A good option for travel insurance is Blue Cross. However, if you have a credit card, it’s also worth talking to your bank to see if travel insurance is a perk covered by your card, as this can save you from purchasing extra insurance. An important note though: credit card insurance often only covers you if you paid for your trip with that card, so make sure you read the fine print if you choose that option.

When traveling abroad, you may be exposed to certain illnesses that you wouldn’t be exposed to at home, which makes vaccinations essential. Not only that, but some countries have actual legal requirements about what vaccinations you must have before entering the country, meaning you won’t be allowed in without an up-to-date vaccination card. The Public Health Agency of Canada keeps an up-to-date list of necessary vaccinations for various travel destinations here. In order to get your vaccinations, you can either make an appointment with your family doctor, or visit a designated travel health clinic (most cities have one).

I feel this next point should be a given, but just to be fully comprehensive: you need a passport if you’re leaving the country. Do not leave this until the last minute. Canadian passports are good for five years, so if you don’t currently have one, it’s worth applying now—even if you’re not planning on traveling until next year. This will save you a lot of last minute scrambling and panic closer to your trip. Along those lines, you also need to check the visa requirements of the country or countries you plan on visiting. If you’re a Canadian citizen, you have the great fortune of having a fairly lengthy list of countries you can visit without a visa, but you should still always check. You can find up-to-date information about what countries require visas here.

The final thing you should do is visit TravelCUTS. It’s a student travel website and is full of great deals on everything travel-related. This is also where you can get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which will get you student discounts on everything from flights to museums to hostels around the world. It’s worth getting. Besides getting your ISIC card here, you can also browse the website for good deals on flights and transportation.

So, there you have it! That’s all the essential information for planning the trip of a lifetime on a small budget. Get planning, and soon you can get packing!

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