Travel Tips for a Smooth Vacation
In Advance of Your Trip
Cell Phones: As each cell phone carrier has its own policies regarding international calls, you must contact your provider before you leave home to determine how and when you may use your cell phone when traveling abroad
Passport & Identification: Please remember that even if you do not need a visa prior to departure, check your passport well in advance of departure to insure: 1) It is valid for at least six months after the date of return. 2) You have sufficient blank pages for visa/entry stamps that will be added as you travel in and out of various countries.
Make sure you have two forms of photo ID. Carry any medical information, including copies of prescription medications, in case you are injured or incapacitated.
Subscribe to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to get up-to-date safety and security information and to help them reach you in an emergency abroad. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Enroll by clicking here. Double check that you have all necessary information and documentation before leaving home ! Bank and Credit Cards: Alert your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling and where. This will avoid being locked out of access if they think overseas charges look suspicious and flag them as fraudulent. Take 2 different cards with you and carry them separately, in case one is lost or is not accepted by a shop keeper or restaurant. Check what foreign transaction fees will be. Some cards have very low fees. The easiest and usually least expensive way to get foreign currency is simply to withdraw cash at a bank ATM. Subscriptions: Contact all your monthly & weekly services to suspend services (depending how long you will be away).... Blue Apron, Home Chef, Newspaper, Gym memberships, etc. Also, Make sure the landscaper keeps coming because the more neglected your house looks, the more obvious it is you're not home. Empty your car so you don't have valuables showing, buy some smart switches or light timers, empty the trash in your kitchen, unplug unnecessary appliances and turn off your alarm clocks so they're not beeping all week long.
Checked Luggage: Airlines have substantially tightened their luggage policies for both carry-on and checked baggage; and their requirements are subject to change without notice. It is important that you check with specific airline carriers to determine weight restrictions and fees that might be applicable. Most airlines have recently begun to charge extra for suitcases weighing more than 50 lbs. Most airlines also limit the number of checked bags to two pieces. Generally speaking, from the US, economy class passengers are allowed to check in two (2) normal size pieces of luggage (each piece measuring no more than about 62 linear inches, which means length plus width plus height). As a general rule, flights originating outside the US have a weight limit for total checked baggage of 20kg/44lbs for coach class; 30kg/66lbs for business class; and 40kg/88lbs for first class. If your luggage weighs more than your allowance, you'll be charged for each extra pound (or kilogram). Small Plane Limits: Further restrictions apply for charter flights. For charter flights on small planes in various countries, the total including carry-on is usually 11 to 20 pounds, depending on the destination. Carry-On: Restrictions are subject to change without notice. Most airlines allow one carry-on bag in addition to one personal item such as a laptop or handbag. Most bags within the 22 x 14 x 9 (or, a total of 45 linear inches) size restriction will be considered legal carry-on size by major domestic U.S. airlines. Many US airlines check-in desks have sizing boxes within which your bag must fit. Note that when maximum size measurements are shown as a total number of inches, such as 45" for example, this is the total of the length, width and height of the piece all added together. If flying between countries internationally you may find that the carry one requirements are more limited in size than what you can carry on in the US. Locks: All luggage should have identification inside as well as secure baggage tags outside. Please note that the US National Transportation and Safety Board now suggests not locking your checked luggage. If a screener has to open your bag, the locks may have to be broken. This applies to flights within the US and international flights originating in the US. Therefore you should buy a TSA lock that allows them access. Lost Baggage: The most common complaint about airlines centers around lost or delayed luggage. In the unfortunate event that you arrive at your destination and your bag does not, you should report this to the airline baggage handlers before you leave the luggage collection area. You or the baggage handler should complete a property irregularity report and this is where your list and photos will help you describe what is missing. The report will have a unique file reference. This will typically be in the format of five letters followed by five numbers. The letters will be the airport code, then the airline code followed by five digits. For example, it might look like JNB BA 12345 (Johannesburg, British Airways 12345). Make sure that you receive this file number and use it in all conversations and writing, which may be necessary before you are reunited with your bag. You will also need to keep the sticker with the baggage check - this looks similar as it is the two-letter airline code followed by six digits – but bags cannot be traced using this number alone. The airline will take responsibility for locating the bag and getting it to you but please advise your local contact or our office so that everyone is aware of the situation. You will need a copy of the report as it will also be ne