Friday, March 13, 2009

Traveling internationally this summer? 9 things to do now!

From Lydie over at the wonderful travel is more fun with kids blog comes some useful tips for those planning a summer vacation. Lydie has crafted 9 points to start considering now, in preparation for this summer's big voyage.

It is always exciting to book tickets to visit another country. My family is always looking forward to discovering new monuments, new food, new parks, new people, etc. But there are some not-so-much fun paperwork that has sometimes to be taken care of. So if you have booked your tickets, here are 9 things that you need to do right now.

Tip 1

Check the expiration date of all your passports. Some countries, like Thailand and Singapore, ask that you not only have a passport that is valid during your trip, but that you have at least 3-6 months of validity after you leave their country. If you need to renew your passport, pay extra for the expedited shipping: you do not want to be left behind!

Tip 2

Make a copy of your passports and give a copy to a family member who won’t be on the road with you. If your passports get stolen or lost, it will be easier to have them replaced if you have a copy of your information. You can also email yourself the passport numbers and date of issuance so you can easily retrieve the information, just in case.

Tip 3

Inquire for visas. Do not assume you do not need a visa even if you are visiting for a day. Check that information with the appropriate consulate. If you booked your travel through a travel agent, he or she should take care of the paperwork for you.

Tip 4

Check the immunization records of the whole family and make sure that no specific immunizations are needed. The CDC has an extensive list of recommended vaccinations and shots on a country by country basis. Be sure to consult your doctor as well.

Tip 5

Call your medical insurance company to understand how you are covered abroad. Check if your credit card provides any travel health insurance. If not, you might consider buying travel medical insurance.

Tip 6

If you are planning on driving, make sure you do not need an international driving license and if you need one, apply for one. If you are renting a car abroad, be aware that you will most likely get a stick shift car, so be prepared!

Tip 7

Be aware of the difference in electrical plugs and voltage in some countries like England and Australia. You can buy plug adapters at your local hardware store or online, click here.

Tip 8

Ideally, have some cash from the country you are visiting with you in case you need to take the taxi when you arrive or buy something right away. It will make your life simpler instead of looking for an ATM or currency exchange kiosks just after landing with tired and jet-lagged kids in tow.

Tip 9

Call your credit card company to let them know that you will be traveling abroad. If they see activities on your bank account abroad, they may deny the charges and cancel your credit card if they can not confirm the purchases with you. Always bring several cards with you when traveling in case one does not work. Be aware, that if you are using your ATM card, certain countries like France only have a 4-digit PIN number system. If you are trying to withdraw some cash and you have a 5-digit PIN number, you will not be able to withdraw money. Visit your local branch to inquire about this.

Bon Voyage!