Visas, Carnet and more
We both had several pages and a few years left on our passports but a quick calculation and we decided we needed to get new, larger passports. Pretty quick to organise but several hundred dollars lighter!
Many of the countries we plan to visit require visas, and most of these are fairly specific about when you can apply and several you need to apply before you leave Australia.
First application was for India. They issue a visa valid for 6 months so we applied in late October as we plan to get to India at the end of February. We organised a multi entry visa as we will be going into Nepal and back in to India.
We went to the India visa application centre in Adelaide. It was quite straightforward. We did an online application which is printed off and you make an appointment (can be done by post, but we chose to do it in person as we had to go to Adelaide anyway). Very helpful woman there who helped us finalised the application and followed up with phone calls until we got the visas back in the mail about one week later...great service.
Next was Pakistan. We organised a letter of introduction through the guest house. We also needed reference letters and bank statements. Sent to the Pakistan embassy in Canberra. A lot of paperwork, but the visa was back in under a week! Again it was valid for 6 months from issue.
China next. We needed to get some forms from the tour company and completed the online form which was then printed and posted to the Chinese visa application centre. We knew that China usually only does a single entry visa for 3 months but had spoken to them about this. We sent an explanation of why we needed to apply early and they agreed to a double entry visa valid for 6 months. Again, very quick, it was back in a little over a week.
Next was Myanmar. They were very clear they would not issue a visa before 3 months from entry. We could have applied at the embassy in Thailand, but luckily our time frame fitted ok. We were advised it can take up to three weeks but we had it back in about 2 weeks.
Finally Russia. We had to book all our accommodation and organise a confirmation and voucher which we did through HotelsPro. Again they say they only issue visas 3 months out, but we were advised by phone to go ahead with the application,so we did. The application was made at the Russian consulate in Sydney, we received our passports back with visas correct in 10 days.
Cambodia and Nepal will be visa on arrival. The only other visa problem if we stick to our planned route is Brazil, and we will have to apply for that either in South America or Europe.
Carnet de passage
The carnet de passage is required for several Asian and South American countries before you can import a motor bike into these countries. This was organised through the RAA in Adelaide. We had several phone calls to the RAA and the AAA in Canberra, and all seemed ok until we discovered the AAA was going to close for a couple of weeks over Christmas. A couple of stressful days and finally we were advised they would date the Carnet for when we needed it. Can't fault the service of either the RAA or the AAA.
we went to the Travel Doctor in Adelaide for advice on immunisations. We had to have Yellow Fever for travel to some South American countries, polio for Pakistan, we decided rabies was an expensive but sensible decision.
Also needed an international drivers licence organised through the RAA, a European camping card and "green card" insurance for Europe.
To transit Myanmar and China we needed to have organised tours with guides, they both required copies of passports, bike registration etc. And of course a deposit.
We have been researching websites and forums extensively. We have looked at travel advisories not just from Australia, but NZ, UK and USA as well. We have connected with people through forums and find most people willing to share experiences and advise.