Must Know Before You Go! Travel Tips for Your Next Vacation
While traveling, there are always unforeseen events that can occur. Although, we will not be able to prevent everything, you have our commitment that we will plan your trip to the very best of our abilities to ensure your travels go as smoothly as possible. By taking a few extra steps, you can increase your chances of having a smooth traveling process. Below is our list of travel tips to consider before leaving town.
DESTINATION FUN TRAVEL is not responsible for travel cancellations/interruptions. These can occur for many reasons that are out of our control and can be due to passport/entrance requirements, airlines issues, etc. It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that they have the required documentation to enter another country. BE SURE TO READ THE BELOW information, visit the links provided, or even call the US Passport Agency should you have ANY questions regarding entrance and exit requirements. DESTINATION FUN TRAVEL highly recommends the purchase of travel insurance. Although insurance coverage varies, travel insurance is the best option available to protect your travel investment.
IMPORTANT! CHECK PASSPORT EXPIRATION DATES:
Check on the passport requirements for the specific country in which you will be traveling. Many countries require that a passport be valid for more than 6 months AFTER your return date. You will be denied boarding if your passport expiration date is less than 6 months after your return date! Be sure to check and renew if needed!
FOR QUESTIONS REGARDING PASSPORTS, VISAS, COUNTRY ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS, REQUIRED VACCINATIONS, ETC, GO TO: www.travel.state.gov
IMPORTANT! PASSPORT CONTACT INFORMATION:
The National Passport Information Center is available to answer your passport questions. Please note: If you’re outside the United States, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Passport Inquiries Phone: 1-877-487-2778/ 1-888-874-7793 (TDD/TTY)
Customer service representatives are available (except Federal Holidays):
Monday through Friday: 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Eastern Time
Saturday: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern Time
Automated passport information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Email: NPIC@state.gov. Most email inquiries are answered within 24 hours.
Please call for the status of your passport. We cannot email that information.
Do not email for travel emergencies. Contact us by phone only.
Life or Death Emergencies: If you have a life or death travel emergency outside of normal business hours, please call (202) 647-4000.
You may want to register with the Embassy which you can go at https://step.state.gov/step/ in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
DO I NEED A PASSPORT BOOK OR A PASSPORT CARD?
A valid driver’s license is required for domestic travel within the United States.
Passports must be booked in one’s FULL LEGAL NAME as it appears on their documentation of citizenship (Driver’s License or Passport) – No nicknames, incorrect spellings, different surnames, etc. will be accepted. For anyone traveling internationally, a valid passport is required and must be valid for 6 months after your trip end date, unless you are taking certain “closed loop” cruises from a US port. Even if the cruise line does not require a passport for this cruise, Destination Fun Travel recommends that ALL passengers travel with a Passport BOOK. If one would have a travel emergency and need to fly home from outside the US, they will be denied boarding without a passport BOOK.
IMPORTANT: A passport BOOK is required for all international flights. A passport book applies for international travel by air, sea, or land. A passport CARD cannot be used for flying. As passport card is only acceptable for: Entering the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
IMPORTANT! CHECK COUNTRY VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS:
IMPORTANT: Some countries may require certain vaccinations for entrance. Because Destination Fun Travel does not know your travel history as well as vaccination history, be sure to refer to the CDC website regarding any required vaccinations, etc. Destination Fun Travel will not be responsible if clients are denied boarding or denied entry into the country. The CDC website link is http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.
IMPORTANT! INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AND DENIAL OF ENTRY:
- Passengers traveling to any international destination must have a valid passport and, for non-U.S. citizens, valid entry documents.
- Passport – Apply several months in advance for a new passport. If you already have one, it should be valid for at least six months after you return home and have two or more blank pages, depending on your destination. Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter.
- Children’s passports – Passports issued for children under age 16 are valid for only five years, not 10 years like adult passports. Check passport expiration dates carefully and renew early.
- Europe Travel via Canada and UK – Europe’s 26 Schengen countries strictly enforce the six-month validity rule. If you are transiting through Canada or the UK – which do not have that requirement – your passport must be valid at least six months or airlines may not let you board your onward flight to Europe.
- Visas – You may need to get a visa before you travel to a foreign destination. Contact the embassy of the countries you will be visiting for more information.
- Research entry/exit requirements, visas, laws, customs, medical care, road safety, etc. in the countries you will be visiting at travel.state.gov/destination. Write down contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to carry with you in case of emergency while traveling.
TSA 3-1-1 LIQUIDS RULE & DUTY FREE PURCHASES:
You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. This is also known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule. If you purchased duty free liquids that are larger than 3 oz. and you have a connecting flight, you must put the liquids in your checked luggage after immigration before checking your luggage to its final destination. You will need to go through TSA again after customs/immigration. Here is a link for important TSA Travel Tips: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips
HOW EARLY SHOULD I ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT FOR MY FLIGHT?
According to the TSA travel tips, you are encouraged to arrive at the airport two hours prior to flight departure for domestic travel and three hours for international travel. This allows time for parking and shuttle transportation, airline check-in, obtaining a boarding pass, and going through the security screening process, which includes screening of your carry-on baggage. You are encouraged to contact your airline as times may vary depending on the airport and date of travel.
24 HOURS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE/ONLINE CHECK IN:
As flight schedules/time can change, it is important to confirm your flights with the airline 24 hours prior to departure to be sure you have the most updated flight schedule. Many airlines allow for on-line check in 24 hours prior to departure. Many airlines also now charge for checked luggage. By checking in “on-line” you can print your boarding pass and have your seat assignment confirmed. Also, some airlines may discount their luggage fees if paid on-line verses at the airport. Some hotels might also offer on-line check in to make your travel process go even smoother!
GENERAL FLIGHT INFORMATION:
Sometimes clients may purchase their own flights. If you do, be sure to get pre-assigned seats on the plane as soon as your flights are booked. If there are schedule changes, you will also want to confirm that you have pre-assigned seats. If you do not have complimentary pre-assigned seats, some airlines offer premium seats that you can purchase. The airlines leave a certain percentage of the plane to assign at the time of airport check in, so be sure to arrive even extra early to get those. Flights do oversell, so it is important to get pre-assigned seats.
If you are traveling and a flight is canceled or delayed, you need to contact the 24/7 help desk for your wholesaler that we provided in your travel documents. You will need to let them know of your new flight arrival time and information so they can let the transfer company and hotel know of your new arrival time.
Also, once you arrive at the airport, you will need to work directly through the airline for any changes, cancellations, etc. In case there is a line, you may also want to call the airline too while you are in line. If the airline does not have a good alternative flight, be sure to ask the airline if they can reroute you even through another carrier. Sometimes, an airline may work with another carrier and that may be a possibility.
CHANGES TO TRAVEL:
Once a trip is made, changes can be very expensive. It is BEST to book your trip exactly as you will travel. The airlines often charge $250 – $300/person in addition to any fare difference to make changes, plus there are usually hotel penalties as well. Flight prices usually become very expensive the closer to travel. Oftentimes when changes are made, it subjects the package price to the current sale rates and availability. Packages are great and can save money, however, changes to them are expensive, especially at the last minute. To save money, try to book your trip exactly as you will travel.
HOTEL CHECK IN & CHECK OUT TIMES:
Most hotels offer a check in time of 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. In case you arrive prior to your room being ready, be sure to have easy access to your swim suits or anything else that you may need once you arrive at the property. If your return flight is later in the day, you can request a late check out from the property. Some properties will allow you to check out later and/or some offer a late check out for a fee. Prior to the check-out day, be sure to inquire if a late check out is an option, and if there is a fee associated with it. A late check out is not a guarantee but may be an option for you.
DRINKING WATER, BRUSHING TEETH ABROAD:
It is recommended to only drink bottled water and brush your teeth with bottled water when traveling abroad. Oftentimes when traveling, clients eat and drink differently than what they are used to at home. Be sure to pack some Imodium in case you need it. Here is a very useful website with great travel food and water safety tips: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/food-water-safety
DRINKING AGES/LAWS OF COUNTRIES:
Be sure you abide by the laws of the country in which you are traveling. For example, the legal drinking age in most countries outside of the US is 18 and inside the US is 21. Be sure to abide by these country laws as they are strictly enforced.
PLACE YOUR CREDIT CARD ON FILE WITH THE CRUISE LINE FOR YOUR CRUISE:
Cruise ships must abide by the laws of the countries in which they are ported or cruising. There may be additional taxes/fees or VAT taxes that may be due while sailing, depending on the location of the ship when ported or cruising. To have a credit card on file will allow you conveniently pay those additional fees while cruising, plus you can easily add items such as excursions as well! Be sure to read your cruise line’s website for “Tips while Cruising,” as they offer great suggestions to get the most from your cruise.
TRAVEL WITH A TRADITIONAL Mastercard or Visa CREDIT CARD:
There are many hotels and car rental companies that do not accept debit cards or even debit/credit cards. To avoid problems, it is important to ALWAYS TRAVEL with a CREDIT CARD that is not a credit/debit card. Also, many foreign countries only accept Mastercard and VISA.
BE AWARE OF POSSIBLE CREDIT CARD FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES:
Many credit card companies charge foreign transaction fees. Be sure to check with your credit card company to find out if they do charge these additional fees. You might also want to find a credit card that does not charge those fees to use when traveling internationally.
CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY:
It is also advisable to notify your credit card company that you will be traveling, where you will be traveling and when you will be gone. That way they know to expect charges from you that are legitimate from a different destination.
Many areas in Mexico and the Caribbean do accept the US Dollar. However, many other counties do require that you to exchange currency. Be sure to check with the country in which you are visiting to see if they require you to exchange money before you go or when you are traveling.
CARRY EXTRA CLOTHES IN CARRY-ON BAG & PACK SUITCASES TOGETHER:
In case your luggage may be delayed in arriving at your destination, pack what you might want right away. For example, if you are traveling to the beach, put your swimsuit, cover-up and sunglasses in your carry-on. Therefore, if your luggage is delayed, you will still be enjoying your stay from the get go! If traveling with another person, pack some of each person’s clothes into each suitcase. That way, if one suitcase is delayed by the airlines, you both have clothes to get out and have a great time! Put your name and address INSIDE your suitcase as well, just in case your name tag on your luggage gets lost.
MAKE A MASTER PACKING LIST & INCLUDE ALL MEDICATIONS>
Make a master packing list, and make many copies of it. Keep it in a convenient place to add/subtract items you will need for each specific vacation. Thus, when it’s time to begin the actual packing process, you are more likely to bring exactly what you need and enjoy your trip even that much more! Pack a few days of extra medication than anticipated, just in case you have a flight delay so you will be covered just in case!
CHECK THE WEATHER:
Google the weather for your destination, so you will have a better idea of what to pack to make your travels more pleasant. If specific weather forecasts are not available, you can see averages for the month plus rainfall averages, etc.
BRING SMALL DENOMINATIONS OF DOLLARS FOR TIPPING:
Start saving your one and five dollar bills or visit the bank prior to your trip. This will ensure you will have lots of small dollars to tip your drivers, bellman, concierge desk, skycap, etc.
PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE:
Insurance plans vary, but if you are purchasing a nice vacation, you might also want to consider purchasing the travel insurance. Unforeseen things can always happen, and it usually is not a very expensive addition to a trip. It might just come in very handy when you least expect it but when you really need it! Travel insurance can vary between companies, so be sure to understand your travel insurance policy. If you run into snags while traveling, get documentation from wherever possible, such as proof of airline delay reason, meal receipts, etc. You will might need these when filing claims, so keep everything! And, contact the insurance company right away should you have questions or need to start a claim.
MAKE COPIES OF IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
Make COPIES of important information to take with you and leave a copy at home. In case you might lose your passport, wallet, or travel documents, make a copy. I recommend putting a copy of each traveler’s passport & travel documents in each suitcase. Thus, if you would lose your passport or travel documents, you would have your information needed to get it replaced while traveling. Also, leave a copy of your passport & travel documents at home in a safe place. Also, make a copy of both sides of your credit cards, driver’s license, etc. Thus, if you lose your wallet, you can call someone to get to those important documents. You will have the phone numbers to call each credit card company as well as your numbers to get things cancelled ASAP.
BE AWARE OF PEOPLE TRYING TO SELL TIME SHARES:
When leaving the United States especially, be aware of “hagglers.” These people might try to “lure” you in by offering free drinks, spa services, etc…only to try to sell you their version of a “time share” or other items. This can happen at the airport, along shopping/tourist areas, and even at the nicest hotels. Be aware of this, so you know what you might be getting into!
BE AWARE OF HOTELS “OVER-BOOKING”:
Very common while traveling to other countries is a hotel “over-booking”. Be aware that this occurs, and if, unfortunately it happens to you, don’t hesitate to ask for something for the inconvenience, such as a room upgrade, spa credit, etc. It can’t hurt to ask, and most hotels are very “customer service” friendly…you just might get something extra!
SPECIAL REQUESTS/ROOM REQUESTS:
Destination Fun Travel will note your booking of any special needs and requests and those will be sent with the reservation to the hotel. It is the client’s responsibility to also follow up regarding those upon check in with the concierge at the hotel. Not all hotels will be able to accommodate all requests. Specific requests such as location of a room, adjoining rooms, etc. are just “requests” and cannot be guaranteed. These are based on availability, and in most cases the hotel will try to accommodate your request to the best of their ability.
Be aware that many cities/countries charge fees while traveling in their country. While many vacation packages do include these fees with vacation packages, occasionally you might be required to pay these fees while traveling. If you come across a situation where exit/entrance fees are required and are not part of your vacation package, this is a customary fee that you would be required to pay.
There many communication options available to you while traveling. The first option is using your cell phone. I would recommend calling your cell phone carrier to see if service is available through your carrier at your destination. Some carriers have to add international service to your plan which allows the cell phone to work abroad. Then be sure you ask your carrier about all of costs of using a cell phone at your destination. (For example, if you have internet data service on your cell phone, you could incur high usage costs just for having your phone power on.) Your second option is call directly from the hotel. This can be a very expensive option and be sure to check with the hotel regarding all of their phone fees + long distance charges. Lastly, the internet is also an option for communication while traveling. Some hotels charge a per day fee to use the internet, some offer a lounge with free wi-fi, and a few even offer wi-fi in your room with either a fee or complimentary. Check with your hotel website to see what internet services are available at your destination. This could be a very economical way of communicating while traveling!
HOTELS MAY CHARGE “DAILY USAGE FEES”:
One way hotels keep their room costs low is to charge guests for items they use during their say and some hotels just charge all guest “daily access fees”. For example, some hotels charge a per day fee to use the work out facility, internet, pool, phone, etc. While you check in, ask the front desk if there are any services at the hotel that are not included in the price of the room. Often times you can view the hotels website prior to your travels to see what is included and what is considered available. “Available” often times means it is available at a fee, so be sure you know exactly what you are looking for. That way there will not be any surprises on your bill when you go to check out!
BE SURE TO ALWAYS BOOK THROUGH A TRAVEL AGENT!
The best way to work with a travel agent is to be open about your travel budget, flexible with travel dates to get the very best prices & flights, book early, and be ready to jump on great deals! As prices & availability can vary tremendously, there might be a very narrow window of opportunity to get the very best prices/flights/specials etc. Be ready to move quickly…what you want might not be there later! Typically, prices only go up the longer you wait. Remember, it’s FREE to use a Destination Fun Travel travel agent. We get paid from the hotels themselves! Sit back & dream of that perfect vacation, and let us do the work for you!
IF YOU ARE GOING TO A SANDALS OR BEACHES RESORT, SANDALS SELECT GUEST & LOYALTY DESK
Be sure to sign up for an SSG account (Sandals Return Guest loyalty program), if you do not have one! You can get an SSG account after you have stayed at a Sandals or Beaches Resort! The SSG will accumulate points that convert to additional savings that you can apply towards future bookings! If you sign up within 60 days of travel, you can also get points from your last trip too! Travel agents are not able to set SSG accounts up for clients, so be sure to sign up while on property or call 800-327-1991 ext. 4197, or you can go online to https://sandalsselect.com/.
Please call and send Destination Fun Travel your SSG number once you have that, so we can always be able to apply that towards future bookings! Don’t miss these savings! Also, when you are at the resort, the Loyalty Department is now offering additional savings, if you book while on property! These can add up quickly, so if you want to book while you are there, do so! If Destination Fun Travel has your original booking, you can super easily transfer it to us! You will just take a photo of your booking or scan it when you get home and e-mail a copy to us!d We want to be sure to let you know so you can take advantage of the additional savings!
We want to thank each of you who has booked through Destination Fun Travel or referred us to friends & family! If you know someone thinking of planning a fun destination get-away, thank you in advance for passing our information along! We love to find GREAT deals and help others take advantage of the fabulous traveling specials available RIGHT NOW! We look forward to hearing from you!