Archive for the ‘Travel Tips’ Category

Foreign Entry Requirements: A Couple Of Examples Of Unique Entry Requirements

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Often traveling internationally requires certain passport requirements that are specific to the country that you’re visiting. There are no universal rules that cover entrance or re-entrance into a country, so, if you are traveling, you will have to find out exactly which countries require which items. A few of the more popular travel destinations are included in this article. All of these destinations require a passport in order to gain entrance into the country and re-entrance into the United States, with the exception of Mexico. Mexico, Canada, and other nearby countries allow you to use a passport card as opposed to having to purchase a complete passport.

There are specific criteria for whether or not you will need a visa in order to successfully gain entrance into the United Kingdom. The UK runs by a five-tier system in order to determine who needs to obtain these visas. Tier one covers “highly skilled” workers, such as scientists. This is the only tier that doesn’t require a sponsor. Tier two is for “skilled” workers, such as teachers and nurses, who have received a job offer from the United Kingdom. Tier three handles “low-skilled” workers, like construction workers, who are sent to the United Kingdom for a specific purpose, such as shortages or help for a specific project. Students are covered in Tier four, and Tier five are for temporary workers, such as traveling musical artists coming to play a concert. A sponsor is required for Tier two, three, four, and five. The type of sponsor depends on the tier. For example, if a student under tier four wants to come to the United Kingdom, he or she needs to be sponsored by an educational foundation within the United Kingdom. The tiers that deal with work-related visits require the sponsorship of a United Kingdom-based employer.

A trip to Mexico requires either a passport or a passport card; however, a passport card cannot be used for air travel. Minors traveling without adults are required to carry a written consent by their parents, featuring the names of both parents and the child, the name of the child’s fellow travelers, and the notarized signature of the parents. This letter needs to be an original, not a copy. It’s recommended that this letter also give a brief summary of the trip, including such things as travel dates, reason for travel, and destinations, and airlines. The child also needs to carry proof of parent-child relationship, such as a birth certificate. Tourist cards, similar to a visa, are issued only if you’re staying for more than 72 hours outside of the “border zone,” or areas within 30 kilometers of the border. The price for these cards is usually included in air fare.

In France, you will only need to acquire a visa if you are staying for more than 90 days. Your passport also needs to be valid for the next three months.

As you can see, some country’s passport requirements are stricter than others. Be sure to do thorough research plenty of time in advance to ensure that you have all the requirements ready for your trip before the travel date. As previously stated, you will need a passport for any air travel. Traveling has the opportunity to create unforgettable experiences and awesome memories, so don’t let the preparation scare you away. Get traveling!

Passports And Child Support: What’s The Connection?

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Getting passports for children is becoming stricter, but, contrary to what you might think at first, this is a good thing. Child abductions by parents have been steadily increasing, along with the divorce rate between parents. In bitter custody battles, a passport can be used as a weapon of alienation from the other parent, which is never fair, for both the child and the other parent. This law was enacted to protect both parties involved. This also protects children whose parents refuse to pay child support and decide they want to indulge in a lavish vacation.

In Section 51.70 (a) (8) of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, it completely outlines how a parent owing more than $2500 in child support is not able to receive a passport. So many parents in the United States struggle with getting child support payments, so it’s no surprise that this is the number one reason that keeps people from getting passports. This law is a dramatic stride towards enforcing child support payments.

In order to rectify this situation, a parent who owes child support needs to contact the local county probation agency in order to arrange for payment. The State Child Support Enforcement Agency then reports to the The US Department of Health and Human Services with proof that an acceptable form of payment has been made. The Department of Health and Human Services then removes the name of the parent from the list of overdue payments, and the Department of State then gets an updated list. Passport services must also receive this list from the Department of Health and Human Services. Passport Services must then validate and verify the fact that the parent’s name has been removed. Only after all of this has been completed can a passport application be processed for the parent.

Many other laws exist that aim to help enforce safety when it comes to children getting passports. One of these is the Two Parent Consent Law. This law, enacted in 2008, requires that both parents give their consent when applying for a passport. The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program, or CPIAP, is another service established to protect children. This program lets the parents or guardians know that a passport has been filed for their child before the passport is actually issued. The Office of Children’s Issues charges itself with providing information to foreign countries and creates programs and policies in order to track down parents who have abducted their child.

These programs, policies, and laws combine to create a powerful tool of justice against parents who are negligent of their children. Hopefully, other areas of American life can follow suit and find ways to further crack down on parents who refuse to support their children. Also, the parent who supports her child can rest easy that the neglectful parent won’t be able to skip town in order to head to Cancun with his new girlfriend. Because the parent won’t be able to obtain a United States passport, he will be forced to pay the child support he has been ignoring, down to every cent.

Your Passport to Time Travel

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

If you are looking for a fun vacation to enjoy with your family, why not travel back in time? Time travel is a fun and educational way to travel, and it’s incredibly easy. A little imagination, a little effort, and the right destination can have you and your family living the life of Medieval royalty or the life of a famous explorer. Before you can go on your adventure through time, there are some preparations you should make that will help you get there. Also, don’t forget about your passport. U.S. passport application forms are available online, making this once stressful ordeal quite easy.

There are a few rules if you and your family are going to be time travelers. The first is that there should be no modern technology. This rule has its exceptions of course, but the more technology you include, the less historically accurate your trip will be. This also means not dressing in current trends or modern outfits. Try to dress as plainly as you can. You don’t want your physical appearance to get in the way of your historical immersion.

There are plenty of destinations for your family to go, both domestic and international. These destinations can also be very relevant in your children’s lives. If your child is learning about the pilgrims and the Native Americans, take him or her to the Great Plains, Mesa Verde, or the Grand Canyon. Take your child on voyage a retracing of Lewis and Clark’s journey or to Gettysburg to see a reenactment of a battle. These are a few great ways for your child to become more interested and gain more knowledge about the subject, all while having fun.

Civil War Reenactment

International destinations make for a very dramatic sort of learning experience. Going to Machu Picchu or other ancient ruins can give your child a first hand history lesson that won’t be forgotten. Seeing the ancient Egyptian pyramids, or the Great Wall of China, or a Medieval castle will spark your child’s curiosity and leave them wanting to learn as much as they can. International travel, as previously mentioned, is getting easier every year. Knowing how to get passports fast and where to get them will help you and your family get to a unique destination with half the stress.

Traveling to these historic places can really put you in an entirely different mindset. No matter how addicted to Facebook or texting you are, simply being in a historically rich place can cure reverse these addictions. It’s like detox for techies!

History can be very exciting when experienced first hand. Learning about the ancient Egyptians or Lewis and Clark is a lot more interesting when learned on site as opposed to in a classroom. With the increased ease of international travel and U.S. passport application forms available on the internet, you and your family can plan an awesome trip without having to spend time worrying about the preparation. Last minute vacations are easily possible with knowing how to get passports fast, perfect for those who thrive on spontaneity. Time travel is entirely possible, no matter what physicists or scientists have to say.

Family Friendly Vacations: They Actually Do Exist

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Many people would testify that after a vacation with the kids, they need a vacation. However, these people probably aren’t picking the right sort of vacation destinations. So many places offer activities that are enjoyable for both children and adults. These destinations include international locales. Applying for a United States passport is even easier thanks to online services that allow you to apply right from your computer chair. Seeing the world with your children is a great opportunity to create memories that will not be forgotten. There are plenty of family friendly places to take the kids that are not only fun but also very educational. And who knows, you might even have a little but of fun yourself.

One of the top recommended international sites for children is Rome. The history that surrounds Rome, easily visible with the monolithic Roman architecture that still stands today, makes for a great history lesson that the kids will soak up like a sponge. Taking them from site to site and explaining the significance of each will not leave your kids bored or restless. Plus, what kind of kid could resist eating pizza and gelato all day?

While it’s not an international destination, Orlando can’t be left off of a list for family vacations. As the theme park capital of the world, a trip to Orlando can last anywhere from a day to a week. Places like the Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios will let your kids learn about their favorite movies – all while letting you let loose your inner child.

Believe it or not, Paris, France is actually a very kid-friendly vacation destination. The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe give your kids a breathtaking view of the city, all while remaining safe. A post office at the top of the Tower lets you send postcards to family and friends, and your kids will love signing their name from atop the Eiffel Tower. Paris famous for its parks, and I don’t know about you, but I spent many days of my childhood park-hopping with my dad. The beautiful floral scenery and relaxing atmosphere promises for an absolutely free way to spend a day with the kids.

For these international trips, you will need to locate the family’s passports. If this entails tearing apart the house, you can always invest in a new one. A new passport for children is accessible online, meaning you won’t have to physically drive anywhere. Booking a travel agent of eliciting advice from weathered travelers can help you decide just how to go about planning your trip. If you are unsure about vaccinations, visas, entrance fees, exchange rates, or any other process related to travel, there are many sources from which you can gather legitimate and helpful information.

Thoughts of traveling with your family doesn’t need to come with nausea. Simply picking the right sort of destination can keep your kids engaged and can leave your sanity completely intact. Applying for a United States passport online is easier than ever before, meaning you don’t need to bend over backwards to go about preparing your family for a trip. Obtaining a new passport for children is also easily done, and with the help of a friend or a travel agent, you can embark on a family-friendly adventure today.

Pet Travel Unleashed: What You Need To Know About Traveling With A Pet

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Some pets are simply just another family member, and when it comes time to travel, they’re no exception. There are plenty of options out there if you’re thinking of leaving your pet at home, whether it’s with a pet sitter or a kennel. While traveling with a pet requires more paperwork and preparation, it’s easy to get a quick passport delivery and the paperwork needed is all easily downloadable online.

If you are traveling by plane, there are some requirements that you will need to meet in order to be able to bring your pet on board. First of all, you need to decide if your pet will be in the cabin with you or if it will remain in the cargo hold. If the flight is less than six hours, pets will generally be allowed to accompany you in the cabin. However, its crate needs to be able to fit under the seat in front of you. Most airlines allow only two pets in the cabin total, meaning you need to check with the airline beforehand to ensure your pet is one of those two. Also, if your pet will be in the cabin, you will need an airline compliant pet carrier. Different airlines have different rules, so make sure you are well-read in your airline’s pet policies.

If your pet is going to be in the cargo hold, you need to make sure you are aware of the requirements for your pet. Your pet will receive special handling and will be in a pressurized, temperature controlled compartment of the plane. However, the temperature may drop as low as 45 degrees, and you will need to download and fill out an Acclimation Certificate. This  paperwork, along with a passport and other travel documents for  the human travelers, are required for your trip. If your pet managed to eat your passport, damaged passport replacements are easier than ever to get.

The crate your pet will be traveling in needs to be large enough so they can stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably, and it needs to be made of strong plastic. Special certified crates are available online, so look into those to be sure your pet is traveling safely. It needs to have a secure locking system and needs to have large stickers that say “Live Animal” on them. A connectable food and water dish need to be connected to the crate, and they must be refillable from the outside, without having to open the door. You will also need to include contact information and the pet’s name.

Traveling by car is the easiest way to travel with your pet. Car travel is much more comfortable for your pet, as they changes in air pressure and temperature aren’t factors. Your pet has probably even ridden in your car before, making it a little less stressful for your pet. Be sure to stop every few hours so your dog can go to the bathroom, eat, and stretch. Make sure your dog has a comfortable place to rest with a familiar blanket or pillow.

Traveling with your beloved pet can be fun. Whether you decide to travel by air or land, certain precautions can make your trip all the more enjoyable. With the paperwork available online and damaged passport replacement easily accessible, traveling holds only half the stress it used to. Quick passports and forms for your pets ensure that you and your animal can have a safe trip and explore some new horizons together.

The Quick And Easy Explanation Of Passports And Visas

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

People who are considering traveling overseas are often faced with a problem. What’s the difference between a passport and a visa? This is a concern to be taken seriously, as one cannot be substituted from the other. As an example, a passport renewal is considerably easier to obtain than visa renewals. It’s important to know and recognize the difference between the two so you know exactly what you need to do and what sort of paperwork to acquire when traveling to another country.

Visas

A visa is a physical stamp or a sticker that gets placed in your passport upon arrival to a country. This mark is placed in your passport by a representative official of the country your traveling to, and it simply means that a the holder of the passport is authorized to visit that country. These are generally shown upon entrance to a foreign country, and many countries actually require you to get a visa in order to enter the country.

Unfortunately, there is no standard set of rules or regulations that deals with visas. Some countries require visas and others don’t, and this is always changing. One week you may need a visa, the next week you might not. Visas very in cost depending on the country, and because countries know they can charge whatever they want, they often charge exorbitant amounts.

Visas come in many different types, depending on what type of “visit” you’re making. These usually fall into three categories: business trips, tourist trips, or transitory trips. While there are many other visas pertaining to international travel, these are the ones most people commonly deal with.

Passports

A passport is an official document that states and verifies one’s identity and country of origin. These are needed in order to both enter and leave a country and are a necessary part of international travel plans. A passport is obtained in your native country from passport agencies with a passport application.

Passports don’t specifically allow you to enter the country, but it promises protection while abroad and allows you to return to the country that issued the passport. You probably won’t ever have to deal with these details, but they’re good to know. A passport is the only universally recognized form of identification, making them your lifeline when you travel to different countries.

Passports are valid for ten years if you are over sixteen and only five years if you are under sixteen, while a visa’s period of validity varies greatly. A visa can be valid for as long as ten years or as short as just the duration of your trip. Once the visa expires, you will require a new one in order to be able to get into the country again. The same goes for passports. Once your passport is expired, a new one  is needed before you can go abroad again.

Traveling overseas can be so exciting. Some of my best memories come from trips to foreign countries, so don’t let the preparation scare you away. Easy passport applications are online, so you can get a passport renewal right from home. Often, a travel agent can arrange all of this for you, requiring little to no effort on your part, so you can focus on packing and getting ready for an awesome vacation.

Emergency Trips: What To Do When You Need To Travel Now

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Some vacations just aren’t planned. When you’re faced with a death in the family or a terminally ill family member, throwing together travel plans at the last minute can be exceedingly difficult, especially if the relative lives far away or in a different country. However, there are some things that can help you get peace of mind when figuring out how to get to your relative. From getting an emergency passport to booking an airline ticket, there are ways to effectively create a plan that can get you to your loved one in no time.

If your loved one lives far enough away that you have to fly, you might be able to get a bereavement fare, also called a compassionate fare. This rate is reserved especially for those traveling in order to attend a family funeral or in the case of imminent death. While these rates may not always be the lowest, they are notably close, and are actually great discounts when compared to other last-minute plane ticket purchases. These fares range from anywhere between 10% and 75%, with the average hitting around 50%.

There are some drawbacks with these fares, however. While some airlines may give you the discount before purchasing your ticket when you provide the right documentation, many will only offer a rebate after you return from your trip. This refund must be submitted no more than 90 days after the flight. Bereavement rates for international travel are harder to acquire. Because these circumstances may be harder to verify, a refund can only be issued after the trip with the death certificate. International travel also poses another problem: if it takes more than one airline to get to your location, you will have to apply for bereavement fares individually for each one.

If you need to go overseas in order to meet with your loved one, make sure you have a valid passport, as these are still needed for international travel.  A one day passport renewal is available if your passport is either missing, damaged, expired.

The information you will need to provide in order to obtain your bereavement fare needs to be presented either in person or over the phone to the airline. The requirements varies by airline, but there are some major details that are usually always required. These details include the name of your loved one, your relationship, the name, address, and phone number of the hospital or funeral home, date of the service, and the name and phone number of the physician. If your airline only offers discounts after the trip, be sure to also have a copy of the death certificate. This information is simply used to verify your qualification for a bereavement fare.

Everyone faces emergencies, and luckily, there are some programs that can help you through them. Especially if your relative is overseas, getting yourself there can be stressful. However, emergency passports and bereavement fares facilitate your trip. During such a sad time, the last thing you want to deal with is planning a trip. One day passport renewals and last minute plane tickets are available for those who are faced with death and wish to be with their loved one.

From Packing To Passports: Creating A Vacation Plan

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Planning out your vacation can be very exciting, but it can also be very stressful. Knowing exactly what you need to do can take a little weight off your shoulders and make planning less of a nightmare. Make sure you have a passport before you even start planning. If not, passport application is getting easier and definitely isn’t the nightmare it used to be. Also, it’s never to early to start planning for a vacation. Oftentimes, getting everything booked in advance ends up saving you a lot of money.

The first and probably most exciting part is picking a destination. This decision relies very heavily on who you’re traveling with and when. For example, you might not want to hit the craziest party town on Earth with your kids in tow. There are many places that are both adult and kid friendly, so be sure to research the various activities and attractions that are available at your destination. Also, be mindful of the weather. You don’t want to head to Florida to see Disney World during the summer in the middle of hurricane season.

Paperwork is a necessary and sometimes time consuming part of planning a vacation. If you have a damaged passport, an expired passport, or you simply cannot find your passport, you will want to renew it as soon as you can. Processing for a passport can take up to six weeks, and you want to be sure to have it in time before you leave. Do some research and see what sort of vaccines you and your family will need for traveling. Every country has different requirements, so be sure to check with the embassy in that country. Also, see if you will need a visa or if you will need to pay entrance fees for the country you will be traveling to.

Making a budget is an important part in picking a location. Sit down with your spouse and decide exactly how much money you are willing to spend. A vacation can still be enjoyable without having to completely obliterate your bank account. Simply searching for cheap flights, hotels, and rental cars can end up saving you a lot of money in the end. Many websites offer affordable packages for flights, hotels, and rental cars. Ask friends and families which travel sites they use the most. Doing this can save you a lot of time and money when it comes to planning your vacation.

If you’re going to be traveling for an extended period of time, make sure to leave important phone numbers and itineraries for a family member or friend so someone can always reach you. Be sure to have plenty of prescriptions and other medications for the duration of your trip.

No matter how big your family is, there are vacation destinations that can fit into any budget. Many of the best family activities that produce the best memories are absolutely free. If you have a damaged passport, invest in a passport replacement and make sure all your passports are valid and in a safe location. Finally, pack batteries for your digital camera and get ready for a great trip.

Traveling While Staying Safely Within Your Budget

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Going on vacation doesn’t mean you and your family will have to live off of bologna for a week. More than ever, cheaper travel options are becoming available, one of which is the passport card. Passport cards are much cheaper than normal passports and offer many similar benefits. These cards allow you to travel by land or sea to many areas surrounding the United States without having to invest in a full passport. There are websites that offer a passport card online application so you don’t even need to leave your home to get passport cards for your entire family.

One way you can save money when you travel is by staying with friends or family. Often one of the biggest expenses involved with a vacation is lodging, followed by food. Staying with a friend or family member can help reduce or completely eliminate these costs. A good host also often gives better travel advice than any sort of travel agent. Bring your own snacks and water bottles. Often, a water bottle at a theme park could end up costing the same as a whole case of water, so do your best to stock up with your own supplies. Some packed snacks also help kids satisfied without having to waste time and money driving through fast food restaurants or expensive convenience stores.

I recently booked a flight and saved a lot of money just by switching the day of my departure from Friday to Wednesday. Not only was the flight cheaper, but it was also less crowded. Being flexible with your travel dates can end up saving you a lot of money as well, so be sure to explore all your options. Also check the prices of different airlines as well as different airports. If you save $25 per person by driving a little further, you end up saving more money. If you are flying out of the country, make sure everyone, including your children, has a passport. If not, invest in a child passport or a renewal for yourself.

Driving is always an option. Although to some it may sound like a torturous option, there is some great advice online about how to pass the time and how to keep children entertained. I know some of my best vacation memories come from the actual car ride there. Compare the price of airline tickets for the entire family and the price you will end up paying for gas. Most of the time, especially with large families, driving ends up being the cheaper option.

A lot of people have told me that they have saved a lot of money by calling hotels directly and asking for the lowest possible rate. Also, look for coupons online for hotels surrounding your destination. Be a little flexible with the expectations you have for a hotel. Often, downgrading just a little bit could end up saving you a lot of money, especially with a large family.

There are plenty of ways to save money and stay on budget when you travel. Get your family passport cards with a passport card online application. Or, if you already have passports, get yourself a passport renewal. Vacations can be fun and liberating without having to break the bank, so spend the little extra effort in finding the cheapest options for you and your family.

How To Stay Sane If Your Flight Gets Canceled Or Delayed

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

So you’re sitting at the airport, and you hear that your flight’s been canceled. This can be an extremely stressful situation, especially when it’s an international flight. After an emergency passport replacement and spending hours learning a little bit of Spanish, it’s frustrating having to deal with travel delays. After all, you paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars for an airline ticket, and you jumped through all the loops and tricks of airport security. Getting yourself to your destination on-time while still retaining your sanity.

Probably the best thing you can do to help yourself in this situation is to be prepared beforehand. Research other flights that are available just in case yours gets canceled. Have all your options available, so that if something goes wrong, you don’t need to scramble to come up with a panicked Plan B. Also check the proximity of other airports in the area and see if the agent can rebook you on a flight there. Oftentimes, an agent might not weigh this option, but a friendly reminder can help them help you. Visit your passport office and make sure your passport is valid and that you have all the necessary paperwork required to travel overseas.

The first thing you need to do is keep your cool. Getting angry or upset is understandable, but it won’t end up helping you in any way. Stay patient and realize that the staff working the flight are probably just as stressed as you. Dropping expletives in their face will not get you any sort of benefits, no matter what situation you’re in. Remain firm, but be kind. You are more likely to get favorable results when remaining humane with the employee as opposed to threatening their life.

One of the key things to remember is that most airlines are obligated to give you a free night’s stay and a meal voucher if your flight is canceled due to their fault. This does not include inclement weather or other factors outside of the airline’s control, but it does include technical problems or staff problems.

Planning for a delay beforehand can greatly reduce the effects if you are faced with a delay or cancellation. First, try to book flights that are earlier in the day. If there is a delay that is effecting the entire airline, such as the weather, delays will begin to stack and flights will be pushed back later and later. The later flights will be the first to get canceled, and if you’re on the first flight of the day, you will be the first to go once the delay has ended.

Airline delays are notoriously stressful. However, it doesn’t need to be a situation that leaves you wanting to go on a homicidal rampage through the airport. Remain calm and carefully weigh your options. Remain patient with the airline personnel. Flying between countries is stressful enough. One of the greatest new things concerning international travel, however, is how easy it is to get a passport. Online passport offices offer great services, like emergency passport replacement or expedited passport replacement.