Category Archives: TRAVEL TIPS

6 Travel Documents You Can’t Leave Behind

Today’s traveler has one mantra: travel light! Trying to shave every ounce possible, it’s easy to see the temptation to leave as much paper behind as possible, and many documents are indeed electronic. Still, there are certain documents almost every traveler needs…and only the real thing will do.

Passport21) PASSPORT

If your trip takes you outside of the U.S., you’ll need a passport. Most countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months AFTER you plan to return home, so check the expiration date at least several weeks before your trip to make sure you have time to renew if necessary. (To see how to apply for or renew your passport, visit the US Department of State website.) Many countries will also require a visa. Electronic visas can usually be obtained quickly and easily, but others are much more difficult and time-consuming. Again, check your destination’s requirements well in advance. (A great resource for visa requirements is CIBT Visas.) Make two photocopies of your passport, as well. Keep one in your luggage separate from your actual passport, and leave another copy at home with a friend or relative. If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re traveling, this will make obtaining a replacement much easier. (TIP: You can also scan your passport, and bring the files along on a thumb drive. As long as you can access a computer, you’ll be able to print your copies.)

2) TICKETS & VOUCHERS

These days, airline tickets are generally all electronic, so there’s no worry about losing them. It’s still a really good idea to print paper copies of your itinerary (including your booking reference numbers) as a backup. Other tickets might be paper only (and irreplaceable!). Train passes and tickets, tour vouchers, car rental agreements and hotel reservations are some of the documents that often require paper copies.

Passport33) IDENTIFICATION

If you’re traveling within the U.S., you’ll need a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state-issued ID card. Naturally, if you’re driving you’ll need a driver’s license; and if you’re driving overseas, it’s a good idea to bring an international driver’s license (you can get one at AAA). The international driver’s license simply translates your license into a variety of languages; some countries require it, while in others it’s optional. If you’re a student or teacher, you might also want to bring an International Student ID Card (ISIC) or International Teacher ID Card.

4) TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY

Having a good travel insurance policy in place gives you peace of mind should something unfortunate happen during your trip. Most travel insurance will cover trip cancellation, interruptions & delays, loss of luggage, medical emergencies and more. However, policies can be complicated, and knowing who to call in an emergency is crucial, so this is one document you should definitely bring along. Need help finding the right travel insurance? Contact Susan at Distant Lands Travel for a quote.

5) CREDIT & DEBIT CARDS

Obviously while these are crucial, they’re not documents. However, you should make photocopies of the front and back of your cards, and keep them separate from the cards. In case a card is lost or stolen, you’ll have all the information you need to report the loss to your bank, and request a new one. (TIP: Remember to call the issuing banks of all your credit and debit cards before you leave, and give them your travel dates and destinations. Tighter security measures can result in your credit card being blocked after only one transaction that’s outside of your usual spending pattern.)

Health Card6) PRESCRIPTIONS & MEDICAL DOCUMENTS

Be sure to bring your insurance card along in case you need medical attention during your trip. Depending on your destination, you may also need a vaccination card to show you’ve had required immunizations (such as yellow fever). (To find out what immunizations you might need, check out the Centers for Disease Control website.) Pack any prescription medications in their original prescription packaging so that it’s clear what they are. It’s also a really good idea to pack photocopies of any prescriptions you need as well, just in case a medication is lost. This applies to prescription glasses and contact lenses as well.

 

 

Advertisements

5 Tips to Avoid Pickpockets

For many, vacation time is right around the corner and the thought of the perfect getaway does not include being a victim of crime. While most vacations will go as planned, some will fall victim to petty theft: mainly purse snatching and pickpockets. Thieves target tourists because they are the ones with the money. In Barcelona alone, it is estimated almost 6,000 incidents happen daily–that is 1 out of every 4 tourists. So how do you protect yourself from becoming part of the pick-pocketing statistics? Here are 5 sure-fire ways to better your odds.

1) Wear a money belt – This is the most important thing you can do to lower the chances of being pick-pocketed. A money belt is worn under your clothing; this is where you keep your passport, extra credit cards and cash. Keep that day’s cash and a credit card in your day bag or wallet for easy access. You want to think of the money belt like a safe deposit box, and only get into your money belt when replenishing your wallet. When getting into your money belt, do it in a safe area like your hotel room, a bathroom stall or a changing room.

2) Do not put anything in your back pocket – The outline of a wallet in the back pocket is advertising to pickpockets to rob you, especially in crowded areas like metro platforms and escalators. Place your wallet in your front pocket and put an elastic band (like the rubber band that you find holding the broccoli in the grocery store) around your wallet. This will create friction in your pocket and make it just that harder for a thief to steal from you.

3) Valuables need to stay in your hotel room – Laptops, tablets and such are much safer in your hotel room than in the bottom of a bag on the streets. When leaving valuables in your room, put them away so as not to tempt the hotel staff. Better yet, leave them in a hotel safe or at the front desk.

4) Carry a purse or bag with the flap against your body – You want to cut down the number of entry points into your bag so thieves’ fingers have fewer places to wander. If your bag has a long strap, carry your bag across your body. Never keep important items in any outside pocket.

5) Get to know your new money before heading out – If you’re traveling out of the country you will be confronted with foreign money. Become familiar with the local currency before you hit the pavement. Pickpockets observe travelers shopping, and then later know exactly where to lift their wallets. Count your change and put it away right there and then, and don’t be rushed by cashiers.

5 tips to Avoid Pickpockets

 From the well-dressed businessman to the group of children with outstretched arms, it can be difficult to recognize a thief. But travelers can prevent the majority of common thefts by arming themselves with these 10 tips. Follow these time-tested tips and soon you will be enjoying your vacation and not worrying about pickpockets.