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Preparing for Travel

Friday, August 12th

Preparing for Travel

A proactive traveler is a prepared traveler. Taking these necessary steps, well in advance of your next overseas trip will leave you feeling less stressed and could help you save money, time and a potential trip catastrophe.

  1. Immunizations. Whether precautionary or required in certain rural countries, it's a good idea to check for destination specific immunizations at least three months in advance of travel. Some immunizations can necessitate multiple doses before effective and can take longer than you may expect. You will also want to keep a record of your specific immunizations if asked to show proof upon arrival to your destination of choice.
  2. Passports. In recent years the US Government has passed new laws requiring passports for all travel outside of the United States for people of all ages. Passports are even required for travelers visiting Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada. Three to six months before your trip make sure your passport is current and has enough blank pages for your next travel. If you have any issues you'll want to resolve right away as passport modifications and renewals can take several weeks to months to manage.
  3. Local Customs and Laws. The last thing you want to occur on your trip is getting in trouble with the natives or the government during your travels. It's a good idea to check out local laws and customs before traveling to your next international destination. Several websites exist today that allow you to quickly identify what you should and should not do in any specific country while traveling abroad.
  4. Medical Insurance. It's a good idea to call your health insurance company and discuss any available coverage in your destination of choice. If you have certain health issues or are going to a third world country, where common health scares can be a life or death situation, medical insurance and a medical evacuation plan is proactive thinking.
  5. Travel Insurance. Should something occur before or during your vacation you don't want to see your hard earned money wasted. Travel Insurance protects your investment should your trip be cancelled, you lose your luggage, or an emergency arises.
  6. Medicine. Should you get sick, a condition worsens or you are stuck due to common travel delays you'll need to have plenty of medicine to stay healthy, happy and out of an international hospital. The same medicines found in other countries can be much different than those you currently use. Utilizing a little more space in your suitcase for an emergency supply of medicine is a wise decision.

Being proactive with both your passport, insurance, medical needs and country research will help avoid a travel nightmare and wasted money.

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Passport Service FAQ

If you are a US citizen traveling outside of the country, you will need a passport. The only exceptions are US territories like Puerto Rico, the USVI, American Samoa and Guam. Gone are the days of traveling to Canada or Mexico with just a birth certificate in hand!
That depends on your destination. There are over 170 countries that do not require a visa for US citizens to enter, but nations such as China, Brazil and Chile have visa requirements.
If you were at least 16 years old when you got your passport, it will be valid for 10 years from the date of issue. On the other hand, if you were under 16, it will only be valid for 5 years.
Fees for a passport can change at any time, but historically they've been set at $110 for an adult and $80 for a minor (under the age of 16). You may also have service fees charged by the location where you submit your application (e.g. the Post Office or local governmental facility), and you'll need to submit regulation passport photos.
First, report a lost or stolen passport to the US State Department (which can be done online or via phone at 877-487-2778). Next, if you are still in the US, you can apply for a replacement following the same procedures as a regular application. Or, if you are outside of the US, you should contact the nearest US embassy or consulate to get a replacement.
You can pay a $60 expedite fee and an extra $17.56 for 1-2 day delivery, but even then the State Department says your passport can take up to 6 weeks! If you have international travel scheduled within 72 hours, you may be able to get an in-person appointment - but in that case, as well as in the event of having a trip coming within that 6-week wait time, your best bet is probably to use a passport service.
A passport service handles all of the paperwork and appointments to get your passport in hand. Believe it or not, it's possible to get your passport in hand within 24 hours!
They're more affordable than you might think, especially if you've got a trip that would be cancelled (with no refund!) without a passport in hand. You can get a one-business-day turnaround for under $300, and some passport services even offer emergency (same business day) options for that amount too. Keep in mind that those fees don't always include what the State Department charges for passport processing, or the expedited shipping to get your passport to you that quickly.

Compare Passport Services

Select any 2 Passport Services to compare them head to head

best-passport-services
  • Passport Visas Express
  • Fastport Passport
  • Travel Visa Pro
  • TDS
  • Fast Passport Center
  • Fast Passports and Visas
  • Expedited Passports and Visas
  • Passports and Visas
  • Visa HQ
  • Travisa
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