So I have learned the hard way about applying for Visa's when you're travelling.... Here's a little story to help you avoid the same mistakes!
Let's start this story at the beginning... I hop in the car and ride for 2hrs from my home to the Guanzhou airport. I casually stroll over to the ticket counter to check in... the line is HELLA long y'all. After spying a shorter line to my left, I ask the airport attendant if I can join said line. Yo, it's not even a line, there's like TWO people. Request DENIED! Because that line is only for travellers on their way to Ho Chi Mihn. I'm flying through Hanoi you see, so NOPE, I can't use the Ho Chi Mihn line.
But eventually the airline attendant sees how inefficient this is strategy is and lets me check in at the other counter. Check in goes a little something like this....
"Passport please, and what city are you going to?" -Flight Attendant
"I'm going to Hanoi"- Me
"Okay, where is your visa?" -Flight Attendant
"UMMMMMMM, What Visa??? It says online that I can get a Visa On Arrival" - Me
"Yes, but you need an Invitation letter from Vietnamese government, BEFORE you are allowed to fly" - Flight Attendant
"But, the US website says nothing about this 'so called letter', it just says that you can get VISA.... ON.... ARRIVAL, after you've ARRIVED." -Me
"I'm sorry miss, you can't fly today. You need to come back tomorrow" -Flight Attendant
Cue Panic attack!!!!!
At this point, my heart starts racing. I'm going to have to drive 2hrs home and do this all over again tomorrow???? I begin to think about the hotels and tours that I've prepaid for.... I'm freaking out at the thought of buying a brand new plane ticket that I will have to PAY OUT THE ASS FOR BECAUSE IT'S CHINESE NEW YEAR (aka the most expensive time to buy a last minute ticket in China).
So as I back away from ticket counter to go drown myself in $1000 worth of tears, which is the price of a new ticket out of China....
I REMEMBER THAT......
I'm only transferring in Hanoi...
I won't actually need to enter Vietnam.
CUE VICTORY DANCE.......
" HELLO!!!! " *waves hands profusely in direction of flight attendant that's walked away.
"I'm not staying in Vietnam, only transferring" -Me
I'm crossing my fingers that the Laos government also doesn't have some random letter requirements in order to get a visa on arrival.
The flight attendant still acts like she doesn't want to issue the boarding pass. But, they check my flight connection times to make sure I'm leaving the same day..... And FINALLY issue me a ticket!
BUT THEN IT DAWNS ON ME....
I'm actually going to Vietnam a few days later. AND the Vietnamese travel office that can issue the this government invitation letter is probably closed the Lunar New Year.
The stress continues!
I frantically log online to request a travel letter.... But I'm unable to submit the form online. I then call the office in Vietnam, all the while thanking God that there's actually enough credit on my bootleg Chinese booster phone to make the call.
With only TEN freaking minutes to spare before the office closes, I'm issued an invitation from the Vietnamese government to enter their country.
So what have we learned boys and girls.....
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
1. CHECK THE VISA REQUIREMENTS for the country that you are entering, well in advance of your trip. This way you can avoid office closures, and last minute panic attacks
2. CHECK THE WEBSITE OF THE COUNTRY THAT YOU ARE TRAVELLING TO. I made the mistake of checking the travel website of the U.S. government. Their information was inaccurate and out of date. If I had checked the government travel website of Vietnam.... I would have received more accurate info.
3. DON'T GIVE UP!!! If the flight attendant tells you that you can't travel because of XZY.... Google that shit and make sure that you can't fix the problem. I was told before my flight the Australia that I wouldn't be able to check into my flight because I needed my ETA.... I didn't have a clue what an ETA was (An ETA is a number given to you from the Australian government once you register online with your travel information). The flight attendant told me I needed at least 2 hours to get this ETA number.... cue panic attack. BUT he was Wrong!!!!! the ETA was processed online in a few minutes, and on my way!!!
Travel on... and remember to check your visa requirements!
Thanks for reading!!!