“How do you do it? How do you travel so much with your Nigerian passport?” This is the question I get asked by a lot of people, Nigerians most especially.
My answer is simple… “I research, plan, research some more and then I travel.”
VISA FREE COUNTRIES
If you’re really interested in beginning your travel adventures and you’re not looking to go through the hassles of getting a visa, well then you’re in luck because there are a few amazing countries you can go to that don’t require a visa or you get a visa on arrival. Apart from the 15 ECOWAS countries, Nigerians still have access to an additional 36 countries which some westerners would term as “exotic”. These include the Seychelles, Tanzania, Mauritius, Fiji Antigua & Barbuda and even the Bahamas. So to avoid all the stress and associated costs of getting a visa, just figure out the countries that you have ‘visa free / visa on arrival’ access to, decide which ones you want to visit, make your arrangements, grab your passport and viola, travel like a westerner!!!!
FOUR OR MORE COUNTRIES FOR THE PRICE OF ONE
If you choose not to go the ‘visa free’ route and have to get a visa, then make sure your money is working for you and gets you access into more than one country. A lot of people don’t realize that the United Kingdom is actually United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and is made up of four countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. London being the most popular city of the UK, usually over shadows the other countries but if you’re looking for off the beaten paths, Scotland has idyllic, breathtaking sceneries with over 700 islands, an estimated 31,460 lochs (lakes) and about 282 munros (mountains). Still with a valid UK visa, you even have access to islands which are dependent to the British Crown such as Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, Jersey and Guernsey both in the English Channel, British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. Another visa that gives you access to more than one country is the Schengen visa. Get a Schengen visa, and you have access to all 26 different European countries that are considered as Schengen States. Talk about making your money work for you.
Where to stay during your visit is another big factor to consider as some people will rather save money to do other things than on hotel bills. Your options vary from staying in a hotel or hostel to staying with family and friends or a benevolent stranger who offers a room or a couch (at no cost) for a night or more. There are various social networks such as couchsurfing which has helped open-minded strangers form amazing bonds of friendship just by offering their couch for the night.
A lot of backpackers and travelers who are on tight budgets will rather couchsurf or stay in a hostel or tent than spend a night in a hotel. So again, it’s up to you to find out what you’re most comfortable with and what works for you.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
Preparing financially for any trip is always very important, actually the most important part of planning the trip. So to ease the burden a bit, consider buying foreign exchange whenever you have “spare cash”. The trick is to start saving early. Tiny drops of water they say make a mighty ocean so the earlier you start, the better for you. With the current volatility of the Naira, chances are when you are ready to travel, the rate of foreign exchange would have increased. So why not start saving now?
Considering the fact that you wouldn’t want to withdraw your forex from an ATM and lose a lot due to the poor exchange rate, you’re more likely to just let it sit in your account till you’re ready to travel. Most banks allow and even encourage you to have multiple domiciliary accounts so why not take advantage of it.
When thinking of destinations to visit, also keep in mind activities that you might like to partake in, for example shopping. Trust me, most Nigerians, not all, but a huge majority consider this as a top activity on each trip. For the thrill seekers and outdoorsy individuals, activities that you ca
n engage in, including beach hopping if that’s your thing abound. But ensure you, at least, explore the city you’re visiting by doing a day or two days tour. It’ll be a crying shame to visit a city and not truly enjoy its true essence and appreciate all its hidden beauties.
August is festival season all over Europe and it is one of the best to travel as you have a variety of concerts and shows to keep you busy from the crack of dawn till the going down of the saints.
For the foodies, be adventurous, keep an open mind and try new foods. You might not like it, but at least after trying it, you can comfortably state what you don’t like. So while on your vacation, go out, have fun and return home safe to prepare for the next vacation.
So there you have it, just a few tips on how to begin and enjoy your travel adventures.
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