Archives for category: Planning

Belarus is not exactly somewhere you’d see advertised in a travel agent. It is a borderline dictatorship, the current President having been in power for nearly two decades despite the maximum term originally being 10 years, and has been denied entry to the EU as it still practices capital punishment and has a military that is not under civilian control.

To put people off even more they are also quite strict on the visa front, requiring you to get a letter from a resident/travel agent/hotel inviting you to visit the country, a signed letter from your employer and £75 to cover the admin all before you’ve even booked a flight. If you’ve reached this point you’ll then find that there are almost no direct flights from London and you’ll end up spending hundreds getting there.

There are various companies that will source the Letter of Invitation (LOI) on your behalf but they usually charge a substantial fee (£30+) and offer it as part of a visa application package inflating the £75 fee with a service charge of their own. So as it stands we’re looking at £100+ on the visa and £250+ on flights, and quite frankly if you’re not specifically interested in going to Belarus it’s not really going to be worth the time expense.

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I’ve had a few people suggest I start one of these travel blogs due to the slightly uncommon nature of a lot of the trips I make. I’ve got a bit of a habit of visiting off the beaten track places such as North Korea, Svalbard, Chernobyl, Palestine etc. and there tends to be a lack of information on trips to these places. There are blogs about all of them but very few cover how to go about visiting these places yourself.

I’ve always felt that a lot of people don’t travel because they are intimated by it, I know I certainly used to be. Thanks to the internet we have swathes of information available to us when planning a trip, but this presents the problem of having to sift through all of it.

So what to do? Well I thought I’d start by posting about trips whilst I’m planning them, distilling down the useful information I find and then discussing the decisions I’ve made based on that to put together a trip. Hopefully people will find my approach to the problems I encounter helpful.

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