Know Before You Go

Know Before You Go

Passports  Many countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months from the date of your return, so check your passport’s expiration date when you book your trip.  If traveling internationally, your ticket must match your passport exactly, including your middle name or middle initial, whichever is on your passport.

If you need to apply for or renew your passport, visit www.travel.state.gov

If you need a first-time passport, or need to renew it, we generally recommend that you start your process at least 3 months before travel dates to avoid expediting fees and unexpected complications.

ATM/Credit Card Usage

Call your bank beforehand & tell them you’re going overseas.  Ask what foreign transaction fee they charge to use the card or withdraw money. A few credit card companies do not charge foreign transaction fees (verify that is current & accurate before you travel).  Most cards do charge foreign transaction fees, usually 1-3%.

For cash we generally find it easiest to withdraw cash in the country of destination.  You will receive that country’s currency and usually the best available exchange rate.  Use your ATM card in the machines matching the symbols on the back of your card – usually Cirrus or Star.  Again, check with your financial institution first.

Cell Phone Usage

Call your carrier before you go to ensure you have the right phone/SIM card/service.  You may have to add an international service for a nominal fee pro-rated for just the time you are away.  Ask if they have a special plan for the country you are traveling to for the time you are away to obtain a lower per minute rate.  Ask your carrier about data and data roaming charges if you have a smartphone;data-roaming in foreign countries can be extremely expensive. Don’t forget - you use minutes when you check your voicemail!  Check to see if your phone works over WiFi.

 

Difference between Travel Insurance and Travel Medical Insurance

Travel insurance helps protect the money that you put into your trip.  There are different policies, but they typically cover things like trip cancellation for emergency reasons, trip interruption, baggage loss or damage, emergency medical and dental coverage overseas, etc…  Please check with the individual policies to see what is covered. 

Travel medical insurance helps cover the costs of emergency medical attention while you are traveling.

There are a number of great and cost effective options that we will gladly walk you through.

Medical Coverage

Check with your health insurance to see what medical services will be covered overseas.  The amount of coverage, or lack of coverage, varies based on your policy.  If they do provide coverage, PLEASE bring your identity cards and a claim form (if your company has them).  Please remember, even if your insurance offers coverage in a foreign country, it may not cover all of your costs.  Affordable travel insurance policies are available, we will be happy to discuss your options with you.  Many policies require you to pay for your medical services out of pocket and file a claim for reimbursement upon your return.

Suggested Packing List for Most Overseas Vacations

layers (jacket, sweaters, layers)                              

notebook/journal

backpack for daily outings                                        

sunscreen& sunglasses

chargers for cameras/cell phones                                   

adapters/converter plugs

comfortable walking shoes                                       

bathing suit

umbrella                                                                          

your passport!!!

copies of your passport

medications – prescription & over the counter         

limit the number of valuables

pack lightly    

watershoes (optional)

The U.S. Department of State U.S. Passports and Travel Abroadhas some useful information under Traveler’s Checklist (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/checklist.html)