What about Passports?
Tip number one is never leave home without your PASSPORT (or other required identification), TRAVEL DOCS, and a CREDIT CARD or two! Everything else you leave behind can be purchased along the way, but without those three things you could be saying Sayonara as your plane or ship departs without you! A great practice is to have a little "show and tell" before you leave your driveway to be sure you not only have these with you, but can easily find them in your CARRY-ON luggage.
Speaking of passports, they are required for international flights and highly recommended for cruising though may not technically be required depending on the cruise itinerary. If you cruise without a Passport, you will not be allowed to fly home in an emergency-YIKES!
When travelling always leave a copy of your Passport with someone you can contact in an emergency, email a copy to yourself, and take a printed copy to tuck away somewhere safe. Having a copy is very helpful if you ever need an emergency replacement.
Check for any updates to entry requirements for all countries on your itinerary right up until departure. There may be digital forms, or uploading of documents to a specific app prior to travel. Check your airline websites for guidance or the State Department website or embassy websites of the countries you are visiting.
Always be sure to reserve your flights with your names exactly as they appear on your passports for international flights or you could be denied boarding.
Google Translate and WhatsApp are good to have on your phone, so check them out. WhatsApp will allow you to text or talk with other WhatsApp users when connected to Wi-Fi.
Tip number two, always consider a Travel Protection Plan to help cover your vacation investment. Life has a way of throwing unforeseen things at us when we least expect it. At the very least, email to ask for a quote and take a look at all the benefits a plan offers over and above cancellation protection. You may be surprised at all the benefits and delighted with the peace of mind too!
If you have a travel protection plan, take a copy of your summary of benefits and contact info while traveling. Keep all receipts (food, lodging, transportation, medical, etc) and get copies of records at time of service. Getting receipts and records later is nearly impossible. Contact the Travel Protection Plan company immediately for guidance on what services you will receive and for any help/resources they provide if you have a problem while traveling.
What about phones, money, tours, and what Should I OR Shouldn't I wear?
- Before you leave home, check with your phone provider for details on usage and rates while travelling. Cruises have different rates/rules than land.
- Alert banks of travel plans to avoid credit cards being blocked. Visa and Mastercard are more widely accepted than American Express. Foreign transaction fees may apply but there are cards that waive those fees.
- Traveler's Checks are not recommended. Use your ATM card to get just enough local cash to get by for use at small kiosks and plan to use your credit card whenever possible.
- There may be city tax or environmental tax payable directly to the resort at check out. It's usually just a few dollars, but it is becoming more common.
- Reconfirm any pre-purchased tour the day before so you know exactly where and when to meet, and what to bring (or leave behind)!
- Some countries prohibit camouflage attire for visitors, so leave the camo at home. Europeans dress less casually than Americans, so you won't see shorts, white tennis shoes, or sloppy attire worn by the locals in public. Having a scarf or pashima is handy if visiting certain religious sites. Remember, at resorts and on cruises there may be a dress code for evenings which usually means long pants, closed toe shoes, and shirts with sleeves (sometimes collars too) for men. The ladies seem to have more leeway. Formal attire can have different meanings, so check website FAQ if in doubt (or call us and we'll help you find the info you need).