World Trip Planning – Building Country Selection Profiles

To help narrow down the list of countries for our round-the-world trip, I have created a basic planning tool. It will give us perspective on the best time to visit a country, the key things to know before going, and all of the logistics of covering your basic human needs while abroad.  As we do more of these country profiles, there will be more things to consider, but this template should provide you with a good start to your trip planning.  Our next step will be to create a ranking system, which we will present in a later post.

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By reading lots of blogs, and even the U.S. government travel website, we can assimilate a lot of useful information about any country.  Thank you internet! This sample is for Thailand, and should provide you with some useful information and tips if you ever decide to go there.  Here is the MS Excel version if you would like to use it as a template. TravelChecklist

Category Description
Country Thailand
Region Asia
Best Season November to February is dry season.  June through October is the wet season.
Average Temp/ Weather conditions 79 degrees average in dry season, 87 degrees in hot/wet season (26 celsius / 31 celsius)
Entry/ Visa Requirements Need an onward or return airline ticket and a passport with 6 months of validity to enter.  Visa not required for under 30 days, for longer check with the Royal Thai Embassy.
Key attractions Food, warm weather, friendly locals, tropical location, jungles, cheap cost of living, Bangkok, Buddhas, architecture, islands, bars, monkeys and elephants
Water Quality Tap water is not typically consumed in Thailand as it collects toxins from pipes and bacteria as it reaches your location.  Get bottled water.
Lodging type Hotel, hostel, airbnb, homestay, couchsurfing
Food Street Food:  Don’t eat anything that has been sitting around long.  Have them make it fresh, and pick places that are popular as the locals know which stalls to trust.  Use hand sanitizer to clean your utensils.

Grocery Stores:  There are major supermarkets and local markets.  Local markets will offer lower prices than the major supermarkets selling fresh food and non-commercially packaged foods.

Toilets Squat toilets and western toilets are available.  Bring hand sanitizer and tissues.
General Safety Periodic civil unrest, small scale bombings, risk of terrorism.  Monitor media during stay.  Crime is generally petty theft, violent crime is rare against foreigners.  Never use your passport as collateral. Rental and bar tab scams occur commonly in tourist areas.
Transportation options Taxi, Uber, City Bus, Săhm·lór (three-wheeled pedicab) & Túk-túk (motorized three-wheeled pedicab), Light Rail (Bangkok), Train
Transportation safety Traffic accidents are common with high fatality rates.  Speeding, reckless passing, failure to obey laws are common. Scooters and motorbikes sometimes use sidewalks. Use pedestrian bridges when available, or look very carefully before crossing intersections.
Driving Requirements Some car rental companies require home country Driving License, and /or a International Driving Permit.  Over 60 days requires you to get a Thai Driver’s Licence.
English availability In most tourist areas and larger cities English is spoken.  Phrase book helpful outside these areas.
Attitudes towards Americans Mixed friendliness.  Foreigners pay higher prices for things, don’t get the same customer services as Thais and judge you on your social status and career in the U.S.
Location of U.S. Embassy / Phone Bangkok (95 Wireless Road, Phone 02-205-4049)
Customs Cover elbows and knees when visiting temples.  Watch for others taking off their shoes and follow suit. Use a fork to scoop food onto a spoon to eat. Do not eat with the fork.  See here for a list of things to know before going.
Local Laws
  • Illicit drug use can lead to death sentence.
  • Defacing images of the King (including currency) can lead to imprisonment.
  • Overstayed visa can lead to detention.
  • It is illegal to not be wearing underwear or be shirtless driving.
  • Fines for littering up to $2,000 Baht.
  • Always wear a helmet when driving a scooter or face fines.
Medical Facilities Medical treatment is adequate in urban areas.  Make sure to have health plan that covers you overseas, and add supplemental medical evacuation insurance.  Traffic may delay medical care as ambulances have a difficult time getting to emergencies as they occur.
Health Concerns Dengue, Chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, Zika, Tuberculosis, Influenza A (H5N1), Malaria.  Be up-to-date on vaccinations.

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Photos by Ioana Maria – Public Domain

Please leave your suggestions for additional categories in the comments section. We’ll update our template with your good ideas!

 

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