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.
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. A good practice is to use the same exact name on passports and driver's license so if you're flying domestically or internationally, the name will be the same.
Have you heard about the REAL ID ACT for state issued identification? It will be mandatory soon though the date was recently extended. Check your license to see if it has the star on it and if it doesn't, set up a time to visit the DMV!
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!
What about phones, money, and what 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 accepted much anymore. If you need local cash, using your ATM card is the most economical option. Small frequent withdrawals are suggested so you don't withdraw more than you can spend. Use your credit card whenever possible and save the cash for small purchases or when credit cards are not accepted.
- Be mindful some cultures prohibit camouflage attire for visitors, so leave the camo at home. Many American tourists dress much less casually than Europeans so you won't see shorts, white tennis shoes, or sloppy attire worn by the locals in public.