When you arrive at a new and exciting destination, it can be slightly stressful sometimes, because there are many things to take care of. So, rather than stressing out and wondering if you forgot to think about something, we have compiled a checklist on what to take care of before and after you arrive at a new destination.
Logically, before you book your flight and accommodation in your new destination, you need to make sure that you don’t need a visa, and if so, that you apply for one early enough. Sometimes, countries have complex visa regulations and they have different rules for different nationalities. For example, when Andrea and I went to Vietnam, I needed to apply for a visa because I’m Dutch, but he had a visa-free entry of 15 days.
Also, make sure you know how many days you are allowed to stay in a country. And be aware that border control counts the day you arrive as a day, as well as the day you leave! We were not aware of this when we went to Bali, so we thought we had a 2 month visa, and we arrived on 30th of March and left on 30th of June, but this meant that we had to pay an overstay penalty for 2 days.
This really depends on the country, because sometimes, you can arrange accommodation when you arrive, such as in Thailand. But in most other countries it is not so easy, so it is recommended to book a place in advance, if you are planning to stay for 1 – 3 months.
Also, be sure to have a look in which area you would like to stay, and if it’s close to any coworking spaces, nice cafes and solid food options. For checking which area is the best for you, have a look on Hoodmaps.com.
Flight out of the country
Depending on the destination, sometimes airlines refuse to check you in or border control will refuse your entry if you cannot show that you have a flight out of the country. We experienced a similar issue when we checked into our flight from Macau to Taiwan. The lady at the check-in asked us for our flight booking out of Taiwan, but we didn’t have one. She said that we would need to book one because otherwise, border control might not let us in.
Of course, this depends on the country, but quite often, they may ask for proof of onward flight and if you don’t have a booking, they might refuse to check you in or even let you enter the country. This is especially true for developed countries and countries that are more closed, such as China and Vietnam.
Co-working space or Cafes?
It might also be good to think about where you are planning on working in your new destination. Do you want to sign up for a co-working space? Or would you rather try out different cafe’s with good wifi?
For us, it really depended on the destination. For example, when we went to Koh Lanta, we knew that it was low season, so not many cafe’s would be open. Also, we heard a lot of good things about KoHub, so we decided to sign up there. When we went to Chiang Mai on the other hand, we knew that wifi would be widely available and that there were lots of great cafe’s around, that served cheap and excellent coffee. So in Chiang Mai, we decided to go work in different cafe’s.
It’s always good to know what kind of outlets they have at your new destination. Anyways, it’s definitely recommended to always carry an adapter around when you are traveling. Have a look at our post about things to prepare before embarking on a digital nomad journey.
It’s also good to check if there are any vaccinations needed at your new destination.
Cash and finding ATM without fees
Upon arrival, you’d probably want to get some cash, so locating the nearest ATM is a priority. Of course, the absolute best thing to do may be to sort out some cash from a bank before you arrive, so that you avoid high ATM fees at the airport.
Once you have settled down, it’s also important to find an ATM that charges no fees or as little as possible. This is very different for each country and also depends on your bank. For example, in Bali, we found a bank that charged us no fee, but in Thailand we asked the bank for a ‘cash advance’ which basically meant that we paid the bank a certain amount of money with our card, and the bank would give us the amount in cash, without any fees.
Simcard with 4G
Another important thing to do at the airport (if possible) is to find and buy a local sim card with 4G or 3G. In some cases, it’s not possible to find this at the airport, so you will need to do this when you arrive in the city. Have a look online to see if you can find reviews or blog posts about the best providers in town and analyze your options: what are the monthly charges and how much mobile data would you need?
Another thing you will need to think about is how you are planning on getting from A to B in your new destination. Will there be public transport? Or is a scooter the best option?
Additionally, have a look and see if Uber and/or Grab is available in the country, and how cheap or expensive it is.
Meeting new people
Finally, you want to meet some like-minded people at your new destination, so have a look on Facebook groups and Meetups in your city and area to see if there is anything interesting for you to attend!
Perhaps the coworking space that you signed up for also organizes events, so that might also be a good way of meeting people.
That’s it for our checklist! If you think that we forgot to mention something, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comment section below! Thanks 🙂