Before entering a foreign country
Before travelling abroad, it is necessary to ascertain at the embassy of the country in question, or at the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, the conditions of entry to the destination country and transit through countries along the route to that country and the conditions of stay there, including any requirement to register at the immigration office or with the police.
In the event that a visa obligation exists, it is essential to obtain a visa to the destination country and transit visas along the route in advance, or to determine at the relevant embassies whether it is possible to obtain entry visas at border crossings, and if so, the conditions under which they are provided.
Before travelling abroad, it is a good idea to obtain the addresses and telephone numbers of Slovak diplomatic missions in the countries to be visited, to where a Slovak citizen may turn for advice or assistance in exceptional circumstances, such as theft, the loss of documents, road accidents, detention, or injury. It is recommended that a passport-sized photograph be kept in reserve in the event that the issue of an emergency travel document is required for a return to the Slovak Republic. Most diplomatic missions of the Slovak Republic are equipped with a telephone answering machine, providing information on office hours and what may be done in the event of an emergency outside of office hours. Office hours generally correspond to local customs – it is therefore better to telephone in advance.
The validity of travel documents
Most countries, for admission to their territory, require that the expiration date of a travel document be at least 6 months later than the predicted date of departure from that country. When travelling to Israel and certain Arab countries (such as Lebanon), the same travel document may not be used for entry into both countries. Journeys to Libya require a translation of passport details into Arabic.
Each citizen must possess a valid travel document when travelling abroad. Slovak identification cards are only recognised as travel documents in the EU member countries, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Children of up to 15 years of age may only travel abroad without a travel document if they are registered in the passport of, and accompanied by, a parent or a legally recognised guardian. A photo of the child must be included in the passport.
Before travelling abroad
Before travelling abroad, the financial aspects of the visit must be considered. A credit/debit card valid abroad or travellers’ cheques are more appropriate than carrying money in cash; if this is unavoidable, it is recommended that money be carried in a number of different places, or that it be stored in a hotel safe. However, even these methods may not be relied upon in some countries.
Before travelling, it is necessary to purchase insurance and ascertain whether the package covers death, health expenses, third party car insurance, and valuable items. It is important not to overlook information on restrictions according to age and the territory visited, the conditions regulating claims (especially time limits), and the extent of cover for health care expenses, which are generally very high abroad.
It is a good idea to determine health care conditions in the destination country and to obtain information on compulsory vaccination when travelling to non-European countries.
It is recommended that increased attention be paid to personal safety; unlit streets should be avoided, and only a minimum amount of cash should be carried.
Local regulations and laws
Laws vary between countries, along with the penalties for their violation. Individuals are personally responsible for their behaviour in regard to the law, and there are generally some laws that are specific to each particular country. The use of cameras, video cameras, and binoculars may be misunderstood, especially in the proximity of military installations.
Any contact with drugs must be avoided. If not, penalties may be imposed in the form of fines, imprisonment, or in some countries, such as Thailand, capital punishment.
In some countries, the import, sale, and usage of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited. In most countries, limits on the import of alcohol, cigarettes, and foodstuffs apply.
It is suggested that travellers familiarise themselves with the local traffic regulations, and the possession of an international driving license is also recommended. In many countries, the violation of traffic regulations is punished by on-the-spot fines, and foreigners are not permitted any exceptions to this rule. If foreigners do not have enough funds to pay the fine on the spot, the confiscation of their travel documents is also possible (for example, in Hungary and Slovenia), along with any valuable object in their possession. A document is drawn up substantiating this, and any confiscated item is returned to its owner upon payment of the fine.
In the event of confinement (for example, when accused of committing a crime), it is necessary to insist that the pertinent Slovak diplomatic mission be informed. A consular employee may clarify and advise on local legal procedures and mediate access to a lawyer. However, the consular employee cannot pay legal expenses or bail, or, naturally, arrange release from confinement.
Loss or theft
In the event of the loss or theft of money, a passport, or any other document, it is essential to report this fact to the local police and to insist upon a written confirmation that the loss or theft has been reported.
In the event of an accident with fatal consequences, or in the event of death, it is necessary that accompanying travellers contact the nearest Slovak diplomatic mission.