There was a light bulb flashed on my head after my Chinese colleague told me casually, “You’re already halfway your journey the moment you start preparing for your trip.”
True enough! Although spontaneous adventures may surprise travelers and tourists with unexpected fun, there’s nothing better than exploring a new place armed with concrete plans and options from A to D. My personal travel and life philosophy is simple : Better be prepared than sorry.
Once I decide to travel and destination is set, I usually start my preparation like a good old boy scout that I was! Always be prepared! Or at least I try my best all the time.
Below is the random checklist I usually prepare, research, complete and tick before leaping to another journey :
- limited budget and currency exchange rate,
- preferred accommodation (I tried the 100 Baht per night-10-people-per-room to the most luxurious 123-square-meter-suite),
- airfare tickets and flight timings,
- itineraries (I have to be wise in choosing where to go, what to eat, what to experience, as I don’t have all the time and money in the world. My Turkish friend and a Turkish hotel staff told me they haven’t explored neither the country nor Istanbul entirely yet. According to them, even one month isn’t enough in appreciating Istanbul),
- weather (Be appropriate with the climate. Important to know the weather forecast on the dates of your trip. Apparently, it dictates what to wear and what to bring! Can you imagine going to Turkey in slippers and shorts during winter?),
- dates of any holiday or festivals coinciding with my travel date,
- destination’s customs and traditions,
- time difference between destination and place of origin,
- mode of transportation,
- local food,
- any endemic disease,
- any political conflicts or social unrest, current events,
- my few gadgets and their chargers (I only usually bring my DSLR, mobile phone; sometimes I bring laptop),
- universal adaptor (very important as some hotels could not lend you adaptor for your gadgets).
- ballpen and my small travel journal (I support my friend’s handmade travel journal –Surat Journals).
- ATM Debit card, Credit cards (I read it’s wise to bring at least your debit card and just withdraw cash from ATM machine in local currency).
- and the most important : VISA REQUIREMENTS (does the country-destination require visa application? or visa on arrival? malarial or yellow-fever vaccine? 2×2 photos or 5×6? etcetera, etcetera!).
In my recent trip to Istanbul, Turkey (stay tuned for the rest of my Istanbul Travel Blog Series!), I thought I came so prepared on the day I went to the Consulate of Republic of Turkey at the 8th floor of Dubai World Trade Center (white building, left side from World Trade Center Dubai Metro Station). I even had my Turkey Tourist Visa Application form typewritten, however the officer at the reception desk found my requirements incomplete because I brought passport photos with incorrect size! Oh well! See, even the in your most prepared times, you’ll find some instances that put you inevitably into clueless state. I browsed the net, read the requirements from their website, but still something went wrong.
Below is the list of requirements for Turkey Tourist Visa for Filipinos living in Dubai :
- Completed Application Form (download from : http://www.mfa.gov.tr/data/konsolosluk/visaform.doc),
- Original Passport (with validity of at least 6 months from the time of application),
- Copy of Passport, Copy of Residence Visa in UAE,
- Two passport photos, 5×6 cm (I brought the usual passport size photos thus, I was advised to return once I have the right one. Luckily, there were two other Kabayan who went down with me to the ground floor of the same building, and had our photos scanned, resized and reprinted in a shop as per requirement, but of course, it almost cost me my arm and leg as I paid 30 AED or approx. 8 USD for those two photos!),
- No Objection Certificate or NOC from sponsor,
- Salary Certificate,
- Copy of confirmed flight and hotel reservation,
- Copy of 3-month-bank-statement,
- Application Fee of 225 AED (Tip : Be ready to pay in exact amount).
After presenting all my documents to the officer at the reception desk, I was given a token or a number (I was early, so I was number 6 on queue) and waited shortly until the consulate office opened at 8:30AM (they only accept 60 applications per day, only until 11AM). I turned off my mobile and submitted to the reception desk prior entering the office.
Process of presenting documents and paying the Turkey Tourist Visa Application fee of 225 AED (as of February 2015)was done quickly. I was given a stub with date and time of collection. Visa collection starts 1PM to 2PM.
It only took 2 working days to collect my passport after I applied it from Consulate of Turkey in Dubai. I was granted a Turkey Tourist Visa, single entry, valid for 3 months.
And that my friends, gave me access to one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been.
- My Travel Checklist and Turkey Tourist Visa Requirements for Filipinos in Dubai
- Sub Karakoy Hotel : My Home in Turkey
- Galata Tower At Sunset
- Sultanahmet District : Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome, Basilica Cistern
- Istiklal Caddesi, Taksim Square, Karakoy in Beyoglu, Eminonu and Ortakoy