Generally, travellers do not have a destination in mind when they start thinking about a trip. But if you have a green passport, your options are kind of limited.
However, blogger Anam Hakeem says it’s a myth that green passport only creates difficulties. She shares a few travel destinations where Pakistanis can travel without a visa or get a visa on arrival.
“Sri Lanka is the closest country you can visit without a visa,” Hakeem said on SAMAA TV’s morning show Naya Din on Friday. Nepal and Seychelles (an Asian beach destination) also do not require a visa, she reveals.
She suggested other places such as Kenya, Malaysia, and Turkey have e-visa facilities. “You can easily get their visa in three days,” she explained.
Junaid Qureshi, an admin of Facebook group The Travel Diary, believes that hiring a travel agent is not necessary for travelling, adding that this only increases travel costs.
“The process of applying for a visa is quite simple. For example, if you want to go to Turkey, you can search for visa application form online and fill it. You will then have to gather all your documents and apply,” he said.
Qureshi said travel agents’ commissions may also vary. “Agents charge somewhere around Rs5,000 to Rs6,000, so you can easily save that money by doing a little research on your own.”
There are forums and blogs available for all types of travel information, Hakeem said.
While unplanned trips sound adventurous and fun, Hakeem said planning ahead would only make the process easier. “When you apply for a visa, you should know your schedule by heart,” she said. “Most people leave it to the travel agents to figure it out and when you are questioned at immigration, your plan deviates,” she added.
Qureshi added that one should be prepared about the difficulties of communication in non-English speaking countries. “I had to use a Google Translator on my visit to Jordan.”
Hakeem said one should be ready to face the different challenges of traveling, because as fun as it seems, sometimes things don’t go as planned.
Talking about her own experiences, she said: “When I went to Cambodia, I landed at night. They saw my passport and detained me. They questioned me, scanned my passport and photocopied my documents.”
Qureshi suggested that one should stay confident and be prepared for whatever comes their way.
“Complete all your documents and know your reasons for going,” he added.