Travel protection is optional, but highly recommended – especially for international travel. It is not something anyone wants to consider, but travel insurance can save a fortune in medical bills if there is a covered medical emergency while on vacation. Travel usually goes smoothly, but when there are unforeseeable circumstances, it is best to be prepared. I strongly recommend protecting your vacation investment with some type of travel insurance plan. I can assess your needs and recommend the best coverage for your specific situation. Travel protection provides peace of mind and convenience, offering coverage for instances such as:
- Trip Cancellation / Cancel for Any Reason
- Lost or Damaged Baggage
- Trip Interruption / Trip Delay
- Emergency Medical & Dental (U.S. health plans are often not recognized internationally)
- Medical Evacuation
- Missed Connection Coverage
- 24-hour Travel Assistance
- Concierge services
- Have mail held (or arrange for a neighbor to pick up).
- Put timers on some lights and/or set up additional patrol by local police.
- Notify credit card company that you will be out of the country (if necessary for your card).
- Add international plan to phone if you plan to use and get instructions on how to manage data / avoid expensive roaming charges. There are apps that can be used for calling on WIFI.
- Review baggage policy for the airline you are flying and current security restrictions.
- Provide copy of itinerary / contact information to anyone who may need to reach you.
- Make a copy / take a photo of your passports and keep in a separate location.
- For beach vacations, pack swimwear in an easily accessible place (in case arrival is before check-in).
- Check weather forecast for your destination and pack for any situation (layers are great).
- Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours (3 is better) before the flight time for an international flight.
- Check-in for your flight 24 hours prior to flight time.
- Check airline website or app for flight status/terminal & gate info the night before and periodically before boarding flight (the gate can change).
- If you have a connecting flight, you will have to clear customs upon entry into the U.S. (and go through security again) – so any duty free items that are liquid will need to go into your checked luggage (make sure they are packed to do so).
- Passports (make sure the expiration is not within 6 months at time of travel)
- Travel documents & any visas required
- Pen (to fill out any forms on the plane, they never have pens to loan)
- Sunglasses / Hat / Hair Ties
- Sunscreen / Aloe (expensive at resorts)
- Beach bag
- $1s / small bills for tipping
- Long pants / dress (some al a carte restaurants at the resorts have a casual elegant dress code and require men to wear pants and shirts with sleeves / no flip flops)
- Layers of clothing are always a good idea
- Insulated cup / koozies (nice at the pool if you want your drink to last longer and stay colder)
- Mini first aid kit (these items are expensive at resorts) – i.e. Band-Aids, Neosporin, Tylenol/Advil, Pepto tablets
- Any prescriptions (a little extra, in case of travel delays)
- Headphones / earbuds
- Small flashlight (to put by the bed for waking up in a dark, unfamiliar room)
- Power converter/adapter (if needed)
- Power strip (if you have a lot of devices to charge at the same time – there are not always a lot of outlets in the room)
- Charging cords for phones, cameras, etc
- Ziploc bags (to keep things dry at the pool and beach)
- Watershoes if you plan to venture out into the ocean
- Workout clothes
- Make dinner and tour reservations soon after arriving, if applicable
- Most resorts play the towel game – people go to the pool/beach area early and put towels on chairs to hold them. If you do this it is better to also have a personal item to leave as well (of little value like a magazine/book or towel clips) – also helps with finding the chair you reserved.
- Bug spray (especially with the Zika virus)
- For tropical destinations, there can be honeybees around the bar area (attracted by the sweet drinks, in case of allergies – be prepared)
- When you order drinks at an all-inclusive, ask for the brand of liquor you prefer
- Use the safe in your room to keep valuables and cash secured (there are rarely problems, but it is better to be careful)
Customs / Passports
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Links to United States Embassies and Consulates Worldwide
New Passport Applications
U.S. Department of State – Travel.State.Gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization
Transportation Security Administration