The bane of any trip, whether long or short term is generally in the planning or the admin. Other than trying to plan a route and buy plane tickets for the cheapest price possible (my recommendation is monmondo.com) the biggest hurdle to cross we’ve found so far is visa applications!
So starting with the good, Vietnam! If you’re planning a trip here currently the visa process is pretty dam simple, especially if you’re happy to do a bit of it online and pay a little bit more. Despite their website saying you could only apply six months in advance of your trip one email to the embassy later and we had been told we could apply whenever,
I noticed in your email that it says you can apply for a visa 6 months before traveling. I will land in Vietnam on 4 January 2015 but wanted to apply for my visa now as I will be travelling before landing in Vietnam, so won’t be able to apply for the visa in the UK 6 months before I land. Am I alright to submit my application now anyway? Or can you recommend an alternative?
You can apply for visa now.
And it was as straight forward as that, one scanned A4 form later, a bank transfer and a copy of my passport. Three days later we went into London, queued for about 15/20 minutes tops and had our first visa in the passports. Yay, so we took the rest of the afternoon to shop and drink cocktails :D. Our total cost for the visa was about £60 excluding travel expenses to collect. The only real downside of the process is the embassy is only open in the mornings and on weekdays. They also seem to have a lot of bank holidays, they close for UK and Vietnamese holidays.
Other very straightforward countries for UK citizens/passport holders; Australia, if you’re not planning on working you can do a pretty simple online form and they mail you what you need to print out, I think it was sorted in a matter of days. New Zealand, if your not planning on working it’s basically all sorted on arrival and Canada is again stamped on arrival. I was majorly concerned coming to canada for 3 and half months with no plans to work and no work visa as it is quite easy for them to assume I’ll try to work anyway, but I was asked all of about 3 questions, 1: where are you staying 2. Who are you staying with? 3. How are you getting there? I was so nervous and so over prepared just for that. I was in shock at how simple it had been as I stood waiting for my rucksack to appear.
**Please note these are only my experiences and visa requirements for individual countries change quickly and with little notice, make sure you check with your local embassy for full details**
Outside the Vietnam embassy and with my first visa!