That Spectacular Vacation- the Dreaded Documentation
While envisioning all the great things you’ll be doing on your trip the idea of the ‘paperwork’ needed to make it happen makes most of us cringe.
Yet, without the proper documentation the trip may not happen.
Let’s keep it simple.
ID– If you remember nothing else when you leave for your trip, remember your ID.
For domestic travel bring your drivers license or other photo id. Keep it readily available for inspection at the airport.
For foreign travel it can be a little more complicated.
For any travel outside the USA a passport is required.
- If you don’t have a passport it is not difficult to get. There are two requirements, besides filling out the form. Go to state.gov for the form new or renewal.(If you are not a US citizen contact the country of your citizenship)
- You must have a birth certificate from a government agency
- You must provide two passport photos
If you do have a passport, check the following
- Expiration date- There are a variety of rules regarding how long your passport must be valid to enter a country, it varies a lot
- Visa pages- Make sure there are at least two available for Visas and passport stamps
- If your passport is expired or close to expiring get it renewed. If you are traveling in less than 3 months use an expedited service.
- Visas- Each country has different requirements. There is a good website visahq which can let you know what you need.
Tip-Many people ask about passports when cruising. As of today (it does change), technically you can use your birth certificate and government id or passport card in lieu of a passport when sailing on a ‘closed loop’ cruise. This means that you leave and return to the same port in the USA. Keep in mind, if you had to fly back from a Caribbean island, you would need your passport, the other forms of ID will not work at the airport.
Boarding Passes- There are a variety of options for boarding passes on the airlines.
- Print out your boarding pass –Tip-If you are traveling internationally you may not be able to do this if it’s the first time you are flying internationally with the airline
- Download the boarding pass to your phone
- Pick it up at the airport at the check in desk
Cruise Line boarding pass
- Print it out at home- You will generally need to do your online check-in to do this
- Get it at the check in desk
Printing out boarding passes at home saves time.
Tour companies vary and your travel agent should be able to give you the proper documentation.
Amtrak- Depending on where and when you travel you may be able to print out your boarding pass at home or at the train station. Note-Many Amtrak stations do not have personnel or machines for printing out your pass
Eurail- These vary depending on where and when. Check with Eurail or your travel agent.
Luggage Tags-Cruise lines will usually allow you to print luggage tags at home or mail them to you. This helps get the luggage to your cabin.
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Lots more tips to come on the do’s and don’ts, advice from good sources and more
Remember, travel is medicine for the heart, mind and soul and your travel agent has the cure.