PASSPORTS/VISAS: If you booked with us, you will have already checked your passport expiration date. Most destinations will require your passport be valid for a minimum of 6 months from your return home date. You must be sure to carry your passports (and VISA if applicable for your destination) with you when you travel. Do not pack them in your checked bag. Please be sure to make two copies of all your travel documents, including the full front page of each of your Passports. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and carry the other set in a different location than the originals. This way, if something should happen and you lose your originals, it is easier to replace them if you have proof of the original documents. NOTE: be sure your passport has not been torn or marked on. You could be denied entrance to your destination. NEVER get “fun” stamps in your passport, the only people that can stamp your passport are those from immigration.
VACCINATIONS: Check with your travel agent and your doctor to find out if you need vaccinations for your destination. IMMUNE DEFENSE: We recommend taking an over the counter vitamin drink, such as "Immune Defense" twice a day starting about 2 weeks before your vacation and during your vacation, as this may help keep you from catching colds before and during your trip. Multi-vitamins and 50mg of Zinc each day is also a good idea as these can even help ward off flu virus's. We also recommend taking probiotics, before and during your vacation as that can help your body adjust to the rich/different foods you will be enjoying. PLEASE do not take any of the above before consulting with your doctor or your pharmacist. Some over the counter vitamins and supplements can cause issues with prescription medications.
CONVERSION RATES: Be sure you look up the conversion rates for the currency of where you are going. You don’t want to be surprised that you way over paid for something! Check out www.xe.com, for current conversion rates.
It is highly recommended that you travel with a minimum amount of cash. Typically, we recommend no more than $200 in cash in small bills mainly for tipping. Most anything you buy you can use a major credit card and let your bank do the conversions.
Be sure to alert your credit card company that you will be out of the country, so they don’t shut your card off when they see charges outside of the US.
Do not plan to use a debit card for purchases as most foreign businesses will not accept them. You can use them at banks and ATM’s to get cash, but be aware they money will typically be given to you in local currency.
American Express and Discover Cards are not widely accepted. Best to use VISA or MasterCard.
Please check with your travel agent to find out if you need to exchange US dollars for currency of the country where you are traveling. Typically US dollars are widely accepted, but some countries prefer their own currency.
CELL PHONE: Check with your cell phone service to see if you can get an international plan. When in an area that you can access WiFi, always use WiFi instead of your cell/data plan. Best to keep the phone in airplane mode, so you don’t accidentally use up all your data or rack up a really high overage bill.
311 RULE: Please follow the 311 rules for carrying on liquids when flying
VOLTAGE CONVERTERS: Be sure to check with your travel agent about what type of converter you will need. Most countries, out side of the USA will require a converter for your electronic.
PICKPOCKETS: Pickpocket experts thrive all over the world, so please travel safely. We encourage all women to use a purse that has rip resistant materials and locking zippers, preferably cross the body type bags. Men should wear a money belt, or pickpocket resistant undershirt, shirt or pants. Men and women both should protect credit cards with RFID blocking sleeves. All these items can be purchased on Amazon, Ebags Travel Smith, and many other online companies.
CON ARTISTS: Con artists exist all over the world. Be wary of anyone that tells you that an exhibit/attraction is closed and they try to take you to a different attraction. Watch out for those that volunteer to take your photo with your phone/camera, they may just take off with it. You may be offered “friendship” bracelet. They will insist it is free, and then when they tie it on your wrist, they will ask for a tip. If you don’t pay them they may become verbally abusive and then cut the bracelet off.
DRESSCODES: If you plan to visit any temples or religious institutions, please note that there may be certain dress codes you need to follow. Mainly this will pertain to women, as they often need to have shoulders and or hair covered. We suggest women pack a shawl just in case. Some destinations even have strict laws on what women can wear in public. When in doubt ask.
WEATHER: Be sure to check what the weather is like in the country(s) you are traveling too. If you are traveling in their spring/fall times, you will want to pack a light weight jacket. You can find some down filled “packable” jackets that are actually very warm, and very easy to pack.
PURCHASING FROM STREET VENDORS: Most countries it is customary to offer less than what they are asking for it, and haggle over the prices. Also, be wary of street vendors selling knock off items. If the price is too good to be true, then it isn’t. Be happy you are getting a good deal or pass on the purchase.
ITEM RESTRICTIONS: Some countries have restrictions on what you can bring into the country, even for your personal use. Be sure to check with your travel agent or the foreign embassy of the country(s) you plan to travel too. Some restrictions can be: certain over the counter and prescription medications, cigars/cigarettes, ivory, gems and precious metals, leather/fur/animal skin products.
JEWELRY AND DESIGNER ITEMS: It is recommended that you leave your fine jewelry and designer bags, shoes, etc at home when you travel out of the country. Buy inexpensive faux wedding rings and jewelry to wear when you travel.
PACKING: It is recommended that you travel with a minimum number of clothing items. It is very easy to travel with a weeks worth of clothing in one carry on. If you need tips, please be sure to ask us for advice. Many times, we have clients ask how to bring home souvenirs if they only have one bag. We often travel with our rolling carryon in our medium sized checked bag. This way we can have an extra bag to bring home souvenirs. We really discourage large heavy checked bags. Remember, many destinations have narrow cobblestone streets and lots of steps. You will need to be able carry your luggage yourself, so pack light.
DEPARTURE FLIGHT INFORMATION: For those traveling on non-stop international flight, please arrive at the airport 3 hours before your scheduled departure time and 2 hours prior for flights with a domestic connection. If you are late arriving to the airport you stand the chance of losing your seat on the plane. If you miss your flight, you will have to ask the agent if you can fly stand-by on the next flight out. Insurance does not cover you for missing a flight due to late arrival unless there was an emergency on the way to the airport! Avoid this frustration and allow plenty of time to park, get your boarding pass, and clear security. It is easier to relax and have too much time, than to be rushed and worried that you will miss your vacation and lose out on the cost as well!
ELECTRONICS: TSA has a new rule for some international flights that require all electronics be fully charged and able to be turned on. If you cannot turn your electronic item on you may be forced to leave it behind or possibly miss your flight as TSA can deny you entry through security until you can power up your electronics. So plan ahead, and have all items fully charged!
ENTERING THE USA: We highly recommend that you download the US Governments, “Mobile Passport” app to your phone. https://mobilepassport.us/ Only one member of your traveling party needs to download the app. Open it and put in all your required information before your trip. DO NOT SEND IT! You can only send the information when you are no less than two hours from entering the USA. I recommend to have the app open and ready as you are about ready to land, then as soon as your touchdown, hit SEND. Once you deplane and enter the airport, watch for signs for “Mobile Passport”. This will save you time and hassle as you enter the USA.
For those that are unfamiliar with the process of entering the USA: once you deplane, you will have to go through “Immigrations”. Most airports are now using kiosks for Immigration. You will need your passports, so be sure you have them out and ready. Just follow the prompts on the kiosks, take your printout and your passport and follow the directions/crowd to exit the Immigrations room. From there you will go to Baggage claim and collect your checked bags Take your bags and proceed to “Customs”. Just follow the signs/crowds to Customs. Once you have cleared Customs you can exit the airport if you are not making a connection. If you are making a connection, you will need to re-check your large checked bags. Typically you will see someone standing in front of a conveyor built ready to take your checked bag. Next step is to follow the signs for connecting flights. You WILL have to clear security again, so be ready! Once you have cleared security proceed to your gate.
LIQUOR AND LIQUIDS PURCHASED ON VACATION: Any liquids purchased while on your vacation must be stowed in your checked bag before you arrive at the airport. If you are at the airport and you want to purchase an item that contains liquids, such as snow globes, insulated cups with liquid in them, liquor, etc. Please check with your gate attendant before you make the purchase. Most destinations will not allow you carry on any liquid that did not clear security with the 3-1-1 rules. This bottles of water or beverages purchased at restaurants and stores after clearing security.
CHECKED BAG FEES: Most airlines are now charging for checked bags. Check with your travel agent or your airline to find out the checked baggage fees. Some airlines are even charging for carry-on bags that go overhead!
PEN! If you are traveling internationally, please be sure you carry a pen with you on your flight. You may be required to fill out a customs forms and immigration form before you land.
CAMOUFLAGE: wearing of camouflage clothing outside of the United States is not advisable, and in some countries illegal, so please do not wear them when you travel nor should you pack any to take with you.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us or call us!