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Travel Tips - Planning

A Word About Flat Irons

Be advised that many flat irons will not work correctly with voltage converters, and can in some cases be damaged. A better solution is to invest in a dual voltage flat iron. These can be used anywhere with the right adaptor plugs and allow you to save weight and space in your luggage.

Avoid the Crowds

Get to popular tourist sites early to avoid the crowds. The light will also be more interesting for photos in the early or late hours of the day.

Baggage Limitations

Be aware that tour companies may impose stricter baggage limitations than the airlines. Ask in advance.

Book Far in Advance

Book your trip as far in advance as possible to get the best rates and ensure availability, particularly during peak travel seasons.

Copy those Documents

Scan your important documents, (passport, credit cards, planet tickets etc) and email the images to yourself so that if you lose them, you can go to any internet cafe, log into your email, and print out the documents you need.

Departure Taxes

Be aware that you may be required to pay an airport tax upon departure. Find out how much it will be in advance and have it easily accessible.

Electrical Adaptors

If you are a frequent international traveler or even just taking that once in a lifetime tour, purchase a set of the most frequently used electrical adaptor plugs.

Entry Visa

If you plan to travel to a foreign destination, be sure to check if an entry visa is required. Be aware that these may take time to obtain and require that you have your passport in hand already.

Flexible Dates

Whenever possible, let your travel agent or travel company know if you are flexible regarding dates and times of travel. Often, booking a flight an hour later or on a different day may be a considerable savings.

Health Coverage

Don't assume that Medicare will cover you internationally. You will need to supplement your coverage with additional insurance.

Health Insurance

Thoroughly review your health insurance to determine if you need to purchase additional emergency medical assistance insurance. You may need this if you need to be hospitalized or evacuated.

Home Owners Insurance

Check your home owner's policy regarding coverage while you are away. Some may exclude coverage if your home is vacant.

International Rental Car Reservations

Book car reservations before you leave the country so you can get the best deal. As with rail passes, you can get special pricing by pre-arranging and pre-paying.

Involve the Kids

Let your kids get involved in the planning process. Buy maps and books in advance to help them learn about your destination.

On-time Performance

When booking flights, check http://www.flightstats.com for the on-time performance record for the flights for your itinerary. It may be the deciding factor in which flight you choose.

Passport Expiration Dates

Many countries require that the passports of arriving visitors have at least six months of validity remaining upon arrival.

Pet's Welcome

There are many resources available that list accommodations and attractions where your pet is welcome as well. Do some research and bring your best friend along for the adventure.

Review Cancel Policies

Carefully review all details of a tour company or cruise lines cancellation policy. Often, even if you purchase their insurance as part of the package, it may have severe restrictions. It may be wise to supplement this with an additional policy.

Too Good to Be True

There are many offers for extremely low priced vacations. A good rule of thumb is "if the price seems to good to be true, it probably is." Don't allow yourself to be pressured into making immediate decisions or giving your credit card to get information.

Travel Insurance

Check with your credit card companies to see what type of travel insurance they offer. Often, trip cancellation and/or life insurance is provided by credit card companies if you use their card to pay for your travel arrangements.

Travel Warnings

Take a moment to research potential travel warnings and consulate locations for your destinations. Keep a list of the consulates with you as you travel.

Use Index Cards

Use 3 x 5 index cards to record important addresses, phone numbers, friend's addresses, clothing sizes for gifts, international assistance information, etc., and avoid carrying a large address book.

Use Your Credit Card

Pay for your major travel arrangements such as flights, tours or cruises with a credit card. If, for some reason, the company ceases operation, you will be more likely able to recoup your losses.