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Here are the 23 important things you need to do to ensure you get a hassle-free family vacation.
- Go to eRegister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and register as a group if your family members are not yet registered. The eRegister is a free service created by MFA for all Singapore citizens who wants to travel or live abroad regardless of the reason either for leisure, work or studies. The system records the itinerary of the citizen and other data including contact information to ensure safety and quick assistance during emergency.
Registering will only take a few minutes and if you already have an existing account, you can easily retrieve it and update with current travel details. When you register, you have to include information such as personal details, people traveling with you, accommodation, duration of stay in a certain city, and contact persons in case of emergency.
- Your passport should have at least 6 months validity. If you don’t have a passport yet, you can register online through Application for Passport On-line Electronic System (APPLES) under Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA). Should you feel hesitant with online registration, you can submit your application forms through any Overseas Mission.
In case your passport got lost or damaged, report it immediately to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Passports Unit (Citizen Services Centre), or to the nearest Singapore overseas mission abroad. Complete the Application and Supplementary Form for loss of Singaporean passport. If you lost it abroad and it involves a crime, report it immediately to the police. If you lost it by misplacing it there is no need to report it. Bring a valid ID to prove your citizenship and passport sized photos.
- Check visa requirements of the countries that you will be visiting and transiting. Visa requirements vary in different countries and to avoid any problems getting there is it important to check if you have everything. Should there be a problem, go to the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission.
- Secure valid onward/return tickets, if applicable. It is better to already have a ticket going back to Singapore. Always remember to validate your scheduled flight a day ahead to avoid confusion and to know if there is any possibility of cancellation.
- Check whether there are health and vaccination requirements where you are going. Remember that these days there are some prevalent sickness and to avoid any hold up, make sure you got these covered.
- Make sure you have enough cash for the duration and purpose of your stay. You might get carried away shopping around for gifts, souvenirs, and local delicacies, but always budget ahead of time. It is important to have extra cash in case of emergency. You are in a foreign land and getting extra cash will be harder.
- If you need sufficient cash at your disposal, you can apply for a personal loan in banks or online moneylending sites. Personal loans are easier approved online by legit moneylending sites than in banks. Some Singapore licensed moneylenders may even give you the cash you need on the same day you applied even with minimum requirements. Shop around for personal loans before going crazy on planning your vacation.
- Ask your travel agent and bank which currency you will need to bring. If you are not sure which currency to bring it is better to ask the professionals than meet avoidable money problems.
- Know the type of credit cards used in the country you are visiting. Your credit card might not work in the country you are visiting or transiting, ask your about this availability and which bank it is affiliated with. Also, tell your bank when and where you are going to avoid suspicion of identity theft.
- Never countersign unused traveler’s checks. This is to avoid losing money in case you lost your traveler’s check. Anybody can encash it if you have signed it.
- Check if currency declaration is needed. You may have brought cash in different currencies, know if the country you are visiting requires you to declare it.
- Research where you can easily change currencies. You might have brought different currencies if you are transiting on various countries. In case you need more cash, you must know where you can change the other currencies.
- Apply for an Exit Permit (applicable to male Singapore citizen on National Service). Applican can be sent to Central Manpower Base, National Service Department, and HQ SCDF.
- Purchase full travel and medical insurance to cover illness, injury and loss of money, baggage, and tickets because you will never know if an accident will happen. It is better to be safe than sorry so to speak.
- Research about the country and any cultural sensitivities. Different countries have various cultural sensitivities. What could mean well in one country could mean something negative in another country. For instance, hugging a woman in another country could be fine, but more conservative countries look down upon it.
- Bring your doctor’s prescription if you have any illness regardless if it is chronic or acute especially if skipping your medication could mean a medical emergency. You can also use a wrist band that tells people around you that you have a medical condition such as diabetes.
- Check if there is any health risk such as Avian Bird Flu prevalence. Some diseases may be present in a certain country, make sure you know how to protect yourself. For example, Malaria is prevalent in some parts of Asia, make sure you have brought anti-mosquito lotion.
- If you have to bring a medication, know the country’s regulation on controlled drugs. Your medication may need a special permit. Not all medication in one country could be legal in another. To avoid any trouble, research on it, and if they do have a special regulation ask your travel agent on what you can do to deal with it.
- Carry photocopies of your identity card and passport data page. In case you lost your original documents you can use these to prove your identity and citizenship in the nearest overseas mission. The overseas mission will not give you cash if you got short of money, but they will surely get in touch with your family.
- Get contact details of the nearest Singapore Mission. This is necessary since if you met any trouble in another country will need its assistance. The mission will also ensure that your rights are met.
- Inform family or friends where you are going and how you may be contacted, including names and addresses.
- Monitor news in the country you are visiting. Things happen in different places, be safe by knowing the current news.
- Purchase a comprehensive tour guide booklet to know the places to enjoy, restaurants to eat in, shops to get gifts from, and hospital and banks to go to in case of emergency. You will also learn the country’s culture and other special conditions if applicable.
Enjoying your vacation does not only depend on how much you have to go shopping, a well-planned itinerary will ensure a smooth holiday for everyone in the family, avoiding stress, confusion and possibly getting into trouble.
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