Travel Secrets

Travel Secrets Guide


Travel Secrets Guide Great Tips for saving time and money while traveling.

Things you don’t want to learn the hard way:

  • When you book your travel online – check that you have the right amount of time on your passport before it expires, not all countries are the same!! You could get to the airport and not be allowed on the fight.
  • Do you need a return flight booked to exit your country? This can create issues with customs.
  • Do have the recommended vaccines for the area that you are travelling to.
  • Take a SafeAquaStraw.
  • Take anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea medication.
  • Any prescription medication that you take regularly, make sure you have either, a copy of the prescription, or a letter from your Doctor/Specialist.
  • Take enough medication for the entire trip.
  • Do not buy anything in a pharmacy in a foreign country that you do not have a prescription for, that you know is prescription medication, even though the pharmacy is happy to sell it to you.
  • Make sure that you carry-on luggage is free of sharps and fluids over 50mls. This means you cannot take gifts through the customs point – it does not matter how pretty the gift wrapping is.
  • Have the right travel insurance for you and your trip. Know what documentation you need for a claim – always easier to get at the time!
  • Give family/friend a copy of your itinerary and let them know if plans change.

8 Travel tips: Avoid Weight Gain While Traveling

Eating healthy while on the go.

Copyright © 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Room service, cocktail wieners and plane food all conspire to help us pack on the pounds. Eating healthy is made even more difficult when an iceberg salad is the only safe item on the room service menu. Then there’s the problem of maintaining your exercise regimen.

Follow these eight tips to avoid losing ground while on the road.

1. Healthier Hotels

Check to see if the hotel provides online menus for room-service and in-house restaurants. Ask the concierge about restaurants near your hotel.

2. Keep On Moving

Ask about exercise facilities before you book. What equipment is available? When are the facilities open? Is there an extra charge? Make sure the exercise opportunities match your schedule and needs. If there’s no gym or pool, bring a jump rope to exercise in your room or run or walk laps around the hotel. Don’t forget workout clothes when you pack.

3. Stay in the Swim

If the hotel has a pool, bring your suit for swimming or water aerobics to get a whole-body workout.

4. Eat Light In Flight

If meals are available on your flights, request a low-fat or vegetarian meal in advance. Kosher meals also tend to be healthier. It might be possible to bring your own healthier food, but make sure you’ll have room in your carry-on bags and there won’t be a problem with security.

5. Avoid the Cocktail Wiener Trap

Stay away from the appetizer table during cocktail hour. If you’re trying to combine networking and meal time, fill a plate once with low-calorie apps and don’t go back.

6. Power Snack

Snacking on power bars, energy drinks, bottled water, veggie sticks and fruit reduces hunger cravings so you don’t overdo at dinner or during happy hour.

7. Just Say No

Exchange high-calorie alcohol for water or seltzer with a twist. It’s healthier and better for your career. Plus, water keeps you hydrated and helps speed-up jet-lag recover. Avoiding alcohol will also leave you more energy for exercising.

8. Half-Portion Meals

Order off the senior or kiddie menu to reduce your portion. If that’s not possible, ask about a half portion or the possibility of sharing a dish. If you’re stuck at a banquet, slide half your portion onto the bread or salad plate and eat only the food on your dinner plate. Ask the waiter to remove the smaller plate to avoid temptation.

Coupon Sherpa is the penny pinching, coupon clipping, deal digging, Himalayan haggling, he-man of bargains. Visit http://www.couponsherpa.com for more shopping advice, insider tips, and coupons.

Copyright © 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Fear Of Flying?

OvercomeFearOfFlyingNow.com by Steve Pollok

One of the simplest techniques to eliminate fear inside an airplane is to develop a keen habit of observation. Observation of what?  you might ask! Well, is observation of behavior and emotions from other people.  In this case, that would be what people surrounding you do, how they behave, how they feel about what’s going on with the airplane.  Through these observations you will be able to analyze the way others feel inside the cabin, how they think after an air pocket, or when the airplane rolls steep, or while there is wind shear and turbulence.

Once you get inside the cabin and buckle your seat belt, is time for observation. Look to others sitting next to you and learn how they behave, especially right after any abnormal movement while in flight.  I am not telling you to do what others do, but the purpose is to understand the thought process on an individual in the same environment that you are.

Why? Because through this exercise you will realize how hyped-up you are about flying! You will also realize that your behavior is abnormal in terms of self-confidence and self control about whatever it is that makes you uncomfortable. Think of it this way and visualize this conversation within yourself…

“Ok, oops!That bump was rough! Hum, but look at these other people, they didn’t even blink and here I am panicking about this silly air-pocket here cruising at 27,000ft. Hum, they just keep reading like if nothing happened. I need to come to realize that I need to try to learn how to get more comfortable with flying and with a few more flights I should be able to feel more comfortable like everyone around me.

Just keeping this thought in your mind, it will open the door to overcome fear of flying. With small steps in the right direction anyone can overcome their fears of flying on airplanes. Plenty of exposure for flying combined with some guidance and self determination will only further you into getting more comfortable logging some air time up in the air.

Remember that, you can overcome fear of flying by starting with observation!!!

Good luck!!

Steve

–My name is Steve Pollok and I have been a traveler for over 22 years and traveling is one of my passions. I really enjoy the whole process of just hopping on an airplane and visiting my favorite destinations. Through these experiences I have come across many people that did not feel comfortable inside an airplane or that turbulence made them fear of flying. I have found really good answers and techniques for people to overcome fear of flying at www.OvercomeFearOfFlyingNow.com.

WHAT IS JET LAG?

Made by Miers Laboratories, Wellington, New Zealand.
Copyright © 1995-2010 nojetlag.com

These are the classic symptoms:

Fatigue and disorientation

Becoming tired and disoriented for days after arriving. Lack of concentration and motivation, especially for any activity that requires some effort or skill, like driving, reading, or discussing a business deal. But even simple activities can become harder. And your ability to really enjoy that vacation is significantly reduced.

Interrupted sleep

Crossing time zones can cause you to wake up during the night or make it difficult to get to sleep. You then end up trying to get to sleep during the day. Your built-in circadian rhythms have been disturbed. And it can take many days to readjust to the new time zone. In fact, NASA estimates that you’ll need one day for every one-hour time zone crossed to get back to your normal rhythm and energy levels. So a five hour time difference means that you’ll need five days to get back to normal. Can you afford that?

Confusion and fuzziness

Having to go back to check two or three times to see if your hotel room was left locked or unlocked. That is typical of the effects reported by flight crews suffering from jet lag. And that is not good if you’re on a business trip.

Getting uptight

“Losing it” is another symptom reported by flight crews. And that helps explain why long distance flights can get very tedious toward the end. What’s more, going through customs and immigration, then getting to your hotel can seem like a real challenge. In addition to the above symptoms of jet lag, the syndrome is made even worse by some common physical problems caused by being cooped up in an airliner for hours.

Dehydration

That dry air aboard your aircraft can give you headaches, irritate your nostrils and dry your skin. In addition, you’ll be more susceptible to any colds, coughs, sore throats and flu that may be floating around the aircraft.

Uncomfortable legs and feet

Swollen limbs can be extremely uncomfortable. In some cases, it could actually prevent you from wearing your normal shoes for up to 24 hours after you land.

Overall health problems

A report from the World Health Organization directly links jet lag to problems like diarrhea caused by microbes contaminating your water or food, affecting about 50% of long distance travelers. “Factors like travel fatigue, jet lag, a change in your diet, a different climate, and lowered immunity may aggravate the problem by lowering the traveler’s resistance. And making passengers more susceptible to infection, or even poisoning,” the World Health report points out.

Click below for information on:

Healthy Travel Products

By Kathy Dragon

Nothing ruins good travel plans more than getting sick. Try packing some of these products to help you stay in tip-top shape while you’re away.

  • NO Jet-Lag: This remedy offers homeopathic relief from time change and travel tiredness.
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (NutriBiotic): Great for bacterial and viral infections. Especially good for prevention of stomach unrest. We use it to clean water bottles/CamelBaks and to disinfect our toothbrushes!
  • Cold Snap and Emergen-C: These two over-the-counter medications combine to offer a well-balanced herbal and nutritional approach to the early stages of cold and flu.
  • Mint-Flavored CholorOxygen (Chlorophyll Concentrate): This is a terrific product with helps our body’s ability to absorb oxygen (in rare supply when traveling to high-altitude regions). I’ve found it ideal for Colorado, Peru and the Himalayas!
  • Ginger Wafers (Solaray): Ginger alleviates nausea and settles the stomach. These wafers are eight times more concentrated ant the crystallized form. The honey, molasses and Stevia in the wafers offset the pungent ginger taste.
  • Stomach Rescue (Peaceful Mountain): Once you’ve got it (food poisoning, upset stomach, etc.), this will stop it!
  • Sinus Rescue Spray (Peaceful Mountain): This spray is ideal for the recycled air on planes as it inhibits bacteria from breeding in your sinuses.
  • Rescue Remedy Spray (Bach): An overall great stress reliever on- the-road and at home, without sedation.
  • Lavender Essential Oils (Wendmere): This aromatherapy has calming and relaxing properties as well as the added bonus of antibacterial elements. Just put a few drops on a handkerchief or scarf and breathe.
  • Hand Sanz Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer (All Terrain): Travel-size hand sanitizer without harsh synthetic chemicals. Use it often without worry.
  • Shinglederm Rescue-Naturally soothing cream for rash relief and itchy skin.  Shingles, or Herpes Zoster virus, is often characterized by lesions of the skin. Shingles is often very painful and causes a burning and itching sensation associated with the inflammation of a shingles outbreak.

A word about natural kits: Wish Garden and Peaceful Mountain (both Boulder, Colorado-based companies) offer “travel kits” that contain their most popular health travel remedies, in travel-size containers. Many of these products are available at Whole Foods Market.

YOU NEED A VACATION!

By  Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D

According to a 2009 MSNBC report, men who don’t take vacations are 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack than their vacationing co-workers. And workaholic women don’t fare any better, with their chances increasing 50 percent. Corporate America employees are overworked, stressed and depriving themselves of vacation time—and companies throughout the United States are seeing the effects reflected in their bottom lines.

Among the many debates swirling through the nation’s circle of pundits recently is the question of whether US Presidents should be playing golf in the midst of crises ranging from Global warming, Terrorism, Social Security, declining education standards, the country’s continued economic woes, ad infinitum… The Huffington Post, stating the position of the White House, points out that, “every President needs a break.”

Getting away from it all might be an important stress-buster for the President. As it turns out, it’s important for all of us.

Though the average citizen may not experience the kind of mega-stress of a President, all of us have our own home-grown version of job-related stress. We may face the burden of meeting tight deadlines, making crucial decisions, or managing the complexities of household demands.  Our stress may also include the stress of being under- or unemployed.  All adults have lives that are filled with some form of stress, even if we don’t truly acknowledge this fact.

Chronic stress takes its toll in part on our body’s ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and even ability to avoid injury.  When you’re stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill, your arteries take a beating, and you’re more likely to have an accident.  Your sleep will suffer, you won’t digest your food as well, and even the genetic material in the cells of your body may start to become altered in a bad way.

Mentally, not only do you become more irritable, depressed, and anxious, but your memory will become worse and you’ll make poorer decisions.  You’ll also be less fun to be with, causing you to become more isolated, lonely, and depressed.

Clearly, then, stress is not a good thing.   Even people who claim to love the high-pressured lifestyle will admit, in their quieter moments, that there are times when they just want to get away from it all, if only for a short time.

Vacations have the potential to break into the stress cycle.

We emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again.

We gain perspective on our problems, get to relax with our families and friends, and get a break from our usual routines.   That’s if the vacation is “successful.”   Later, I’ll talk about ways to guarantee that you do have a successful vacation experience rather than one that could be chronicled as a “National Lampoon” movie.   For now, though, let’s look at some of that evidence.

In a 2009 study, Canadian researchers Joudrey and Wallace reported that “active” leisure pursuits (such as golf!)  and taking vacations, helped to buffer or ameliorate the job stress among a sample of almost 900 lawyers.  British researcher Scott McCabe noted that, “vacations’ benefits have been found to include:  rest and recuperation from work;  provision of new experiences leading to a broadening of horizons and the opportunity for learning and intercultural communication;  promotion of peace and understanding;  personal and social development;  visiting friends and relatives;  religious pilgrimage and health;  and, subjective well-being” (p. 667).  McCabe believes these positive benefits to be so strong that he recommends that families be given some form of financial assistance if they are unable to afford vacations on their own.

————-

Read more: www.thirdage.com/travel/vacation-mental-health

“Shrinking-Vacation Syndrome”

The recent economic downturn has made it unrealistic for many Americans to take time off from their jobs, and for the unemployed the prospect of travel is virtually out of the question.

Surveys show that Americans take fewer vacation days than Europeans but still a few more than the Japanese. This trend actually goes back several years, and can be traced back to 2006 when “Shrinking-Vacation Syndrome” was first identified.

Let’s call it “SVS” for short.

If you’re a victim of SVS, you may be feeling particularly gloomy about the prospects of a stay at home summer. Keep reading, though, and you’ll feel much better. By the time you’re done with your stay-cation you’ll wonder why you ever wanted to leave home!

Begin by trying a bit of cognitive dissonance reduction. We all have come to believe that the best vacation is one that involves exotic travel to amazing places. In fact, who wouldn’t sacrifice anything and everything to see the Mona Lisa? You think to yourself, “If I can’t see the Mona Lisa this year (or next, or next …) I haven’t lived. What’s wrong with me and my life?”

Well, you’d be surprised to find out that, according to one travel review site, the Mona Lisa is the #1 (out of 8) most disappointing sights in Europe. Riding a gondola in Venice is #2! What is wrong with these jaded travel reviewers? How can they be so cynical? The answer is that when you factor in the cost, effort, and potential crowding in the most popular tourist attractions, they are just not all they’re cracked up to be, according to the pros.

To make you feel even better, you can figure out how much you’re saving by not going anywhere. Take a look at the  most expensive hotel rooms in the world.  The Royal Villa at Grand Resort Lagonissi, Athens tops out at #1 with a cost of $48,000 USD per night. How ridiculous is that? What’s more, you’d pay $16000 USD to book the Royal Suite at the Four Seasons George V in Paris. Even more ridiculous. Why would you want to waste your money just to see the over-rated Mona Lisa!

OK, you’re feeling a bit better now. But there is something else to be gained by fantasizing about yourself in one of these posh properties. Cornell and Penn State researchers Robert Kwortnik and William Ross found that vacation planning in and of itself can release a host of positive emotions. The closer the vacation image is to your mental image of your true self, the more positive emotions that planned vacation stirs up. If you have visions of yourself as one of the Sex and the City travelers, then you’ll get the most rush out of checking out (online of course) one of the luxury Dubai resorts.

Read more: http://www.thirdage.com/travel/staycation-5-fun-while-staying-put#ixzz10f9fCBo1

Read more:  via www.thirdage.com -A boomer’s guide to a life of health, happiness, passion & purpose.

By Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D

Read more: www.thirdage.com/travel/vacation-mental-health

Among the many debates swirling through the nation’s circle of pundits recently is the question of whether President Obama should be playing golf in the midst of crises ranging from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, to the country’s continued economic woes, and to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Republicans, taking a page from the playbook of Democrats who levied the same charges at George W. Bush, are now launching into their own tirades against Obama, as reported recently by Fox News.  The Huffington Post, stating the position of the White House, points out that every President needs a break.

Getting away from it all might be an important stress-buster for the President. As it turns out, it’s important for all of us.

Though the average citizen may not experience the kind of mega-stress of a President, all of us have our own home-grown version of job-related stress. We may face the burden of meeting tight deadlines, making crucial decisions, or managing the complexities of household demands. Our stress may also include the stress of being under- or unemployed. All adults have lives that are filled with some form of stress, even if we don’t truly acknowledge this fact.

Chronic stress takes its toll in part on our body’s ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and even ability to avoid injury. When you’re stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill, your arteries take a beating, and you’re more likely to have an accident. Your sleep will suffer, you won’t digest your food as well, and even the genetic material in the cells of your body may start to become altered in a bad way.  Mentally, not only do you become more irritable, depressed, and anxious, but your memory will become worse and you’ll make poorer decisions. You’ll also be less fun to be with, causing you to become more isolated, lonely, and depressed.

Clearly, then, stress is not a good thing. Even people who claim to love the high-pressured lifestyle will admit, in their quieter moments, that there are times when they just want to get away from it all, if only for a short time.

Vacations have the potential to break into the stress cycle.

We emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again.

We gain perspective on our problems, get to relax with our families and friends, and get a break from our usual routines. That’s if the vacation is “successful.” Later, I’ll talk about ways to guarantee that you do have a successful vacation experience rather than one that could be chronicled as a “National Lampoon” movie. For now, though, let’s look at some of that evidence.

In a 2009 study, Canadian researchers Joudrey and Wallace reported that “active” leisure pursuits (such as golf!) and taking vacations helped to buffer or ameliorate the job stress among a sample of almost 900 lawyers. British researcher Scott McCabe noted that vacations’ ”personal benefits have been found to include: rest and recuperation from work; provision of new experiences leading to a broadening of horizons and the opportunity for learning and intercultural communication; promotion of peace and understanding; personal and social development; visiting friends and relatives; religious pilgrimage and health; and, subjective well-being” (p. 667). McCabe believes these positive benefits to be so strong that he recommends that families be given some form of financial assistance if they are unable to afford vacations on their own.

Read more: www.thirdage.com/travel/vacation-mental-health

First Time Cruising – Packing

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joseph_Stutzman

If you are embarking on your first cruise, you might be wondering what to pack.

The first thing to realize is that you have to pack for the airplane trip first, unless you are fortunate enough to live within driving distance of the port. You will have to carry everything with you into the airport prior to checking baggage and you will also have to carry it around the cruise terminal.

Wheeled luggage or a foldable cart will make this much easier, especially if you are traveling with children. It doesn’t take long for a 50-lb bag to get heavy, and that is considered light packing. The best rule of thumb is to try to limit yourself to 1-piece of checked baggage, 1-carry on and 1-personal item. The airlines are much more stringent now on the carry on size and if you are trying to get by with both a purse and a tote bag or back pack, you may find that both are considered personal items and that you are only allowed one. The one exception is if you are traveling with a baby or toddler and have a diaper bag to tote along with you.

Laptops are also not considered a personal item or luggage and have ‘exception’ status.   If you find that you may exceed your luggage limitations, contact the airline personally. You will also find that the majority of airlines now charge for all pieces of checked luggage and that security regulations vary depending upon the security threat. Visiting the website or calling the airport should provide you with the correct information. This will also be true of the quantity of liquids and types of personal items that you are allowed to carry on, either in your bag or in a personal tote, purse or diaper bag. When in doubt, call! The last thing you need is to have something like baby bottles confiscated in security because you brought along ready-mixed formula in copious amounts.

Following is a list of the items that CANNOT be in your carry-on, purse, tote, waist pouch, backpack, laptop case or diaper bag prior to going through security or it will be confiscated:

  • Steel nail files
  • Nail clippers
  • Razor blades
  • Razors, other than the safety/disposable kind
  • X-acto knives and blades
  • Scissors
  • Pocket knives
  • Knitting needles
  • Sewing kits that contain needles, pins and scissors
  • Ice picks
  • Corkscrews
  • Multi-tools
  • Eyelash curlers
  • Any other sharp instrument that could be utilized as a weapon

You will also be limited on flammable items including perfumes and aerosols and the contents of any one container cannot exceed 16-fluid ounces and must be packed together in clear Ziploc type baggies.  Safety matches or a lighter may be carried on your person, but “strike-anywhere” matches, lighter fluid and lighters with flammable liquid reservoirs are forbidden.

Baseball bats, ski poles, golf clubs and hockey sticks must all be checked, but umbrellas, crutches and walking canes are permitted upon inspection.  It is always a good idea to check with the airlines if you have a question as security restrictions change frequently.

As far as what to bring to wear…cruises and ships vary, but your itinerary should have specifics. You should know in advance what the weather is going to be like at your destination at a particular time of year, but plan to include one or two off-season items of clothing as Mother Nature doesn’t always provide the expected.   Air conditioning on the cruise ship can also be quite chilly in enclosed areas, so maybe a lightweight sweater or jacket that can be worn over any outfit will be appropriate.

Keep in mind that most extended cruises have one or two formal nights and that there will be a dress code. Men will either have to wear a tux or suit, but may be able to get away with a sport coat and nice slacks, while a woman will have to be covered appropriately and wearing something dressy, though not necessarily long.  Check ahead of time on this as you don’t want to be stuck eating on the Lido Deck instead of at the Captain’s Table because you weren’t dressed appropriately. Also, port stops might include nice restaurants or clubs.  If you plan on dancing in the disco after the Captain’s formal dinner, you might want to cover up that sexy halter with a shrug or jacket that can be removed after you’ve left the more formal captain’s dinner. You also have the option of changing, but that involves going back to your cabin and wasting time when you could be living it up instead. J

Now, let’s get organized! You should do away with all old receipts, ATM transaction slips, bills, candy wrappers etc. that you just happen to have in your purse or wallet.  “Clean house” and only take with you what is necessary.

In a plastic Ziploc type bag or other folder or envelope of some kind that can keep everything together, you will have your Travel Pack:

  • Passport
  • Photo I.D.
  • Visa
  • Any other required Travel Documents
  • Immunization record, if required
  • Itinerary
  • Airline Tickets
  • Cruise Documents, already filled out
  • Baggage & Medical Insurance & Cancellation Information
  • Reservation Confirmations, including your hotels
  • Rental Car or other transportation information
  • Emergency Contact Numbers

Other essentials that can go in your purse or tote are prescription glasses, lip balm, gum or candy, tissues for tears or runny noses, band aids, sunglasses, luggage keys, eye drops, check book, pain or headache medication and a small package of wet-wipes for emergencies.

In your carry-on bag, you consider these items:

  • Any prescriptions or health-related items such as joint supports, dental appliances, contact lens solutions and vitamins.
  • A water bottle filled with water. Buying one especially for the trip enables you to fill it with juice or water as you’d like on your trip and makes it easily identifiable.
  • One change of clean clothes appropriate to what you will be wearing on your first evening aboard if you are not already wearing it (in case luggage gets lost)
  • Swimsuit and cover-up
  • Pajamas
  • Jewelry in a closeable bag; it is not recommended that you bring valuables.
  • Flip flops or beach sandals
  • Snack or drink items (remember the airline security procedures)
  • Notepad and pens or pencils
  • Pack of cards or other hand-held games
  • Address book with stamps
  • Business or Personal Cards with your contact information to hand out to new friends
  • Copies of everything that is in your Travel Kit above
  • Camera, film and batteries, including an underwater camera. It’s cheaper to buy before your trip than on board ship.
  • Toiletries (place them all in a bag or shaving kit and bring along a shower hook with which to hang it. Cabin bathrooms are extremely small.)
  • Pain Meds in original containers (i.e. Tylenol or Advil)
  • Motion Sickness meds also in original packaging (ginger snaps, ginger ale and peppermint tea or candles also work & sea sickness pills are available at the Purser’s desk onboard.
  • Sinus/Allergy Meds in original packaging
  • Cough Drops in original packaging
  • 7-day pill container(s) with your RXs and vitamins
  • Antacid like Tums or Rolaids in original packaging
  • Anti-diarrheal medication in original packaging
  • Waterless hand sanitizer
  • Facial cleanser
  • Hand and face lotion
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, small mouthwash
  • Comb and brush
  • Sun screen (minimum SPF 15)
  • Sunburn relief like aloe
  • Non-aerosol insect repellent
  • Q-tips & cotton balls
  • Small baby powder
  • Hair fixatives
  • Depilatories or shaving equipment (safety or disposable only)
  • Manicure and Pedicure necessities (file, clippers, tweezers & scissors must be in checked baggage)
  • Styptic pencil
  • Aftershave
  • Sanitary pads or tampons if needed
  • Perfume
  • Make up
  • Reading materials such as books or magazines

Everything else can be in your checked luggage. Any valuables, like cameras and electronics should be carried on with you. You are not allowed to lock checked baggage unless you have it screened prior to checking it, so if you don’t want to risk its disappearing, then carry it on.

There’s a lot to remember, isn’t there? It’s probably best to make your own personal list and to check it off as you pack it. It also might help to annotate that packing list with where you packed specific items. For example you could make note that you packed your little black sweater in the garment bag (gb), maybe abbreviating bag names to save room, but relieving you of having to go through all the bags to find what you are looking for. You can carry the packing list in your purse, tote, diaper bag or laptop case…just remember where you put the list.

Bon Voyage!

First Time Cruising and Passports

By Joseph Stutzman

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joseph_Stutzman

Do you have your passport? This is probably the single most important item and the one that will take the longest to secure. Plan ahead and apply now. Learn how.

…………

Many cruises actually don’t need a passport, but the rule of thumb is better safe than sorry.  For example, any cruise that starts and ends at the same port in the U.S. does not require a passport. But, what if the port you were supposed to return to was wiped out or damaged by a hurricane and you had to disembark at another port? Would you find understanding and willing-to-bend-the-rules custom agents, or will you find a stickler that won’t let you leave the ship without the proper documentation and the promise to turn over your first born child?

It is definitely better to be safe, than sorry.

So, you’ve decided to go on a cruise.
If you’ve already booked your cruise, let’s hope it is at the least, one month away. Getting your passport will take time and a little bit of money. With much stricter security measures on the borders of all countries, the requests for passports have increased.

The average wait time to get a passport is between 4 and 6 weeks, unless you pay an additional hefty fee for expedited processing, for which you may get it in as little as 10 days. You can figure that if you have held a number of jobs, none of which were for the federal government, and have moved frequently, your passport will take longer to process. A thorough background check is completed. Renewals can be accomplished online and by mail, but new applicants must apply in person.

You MUST apply in person if:

  • You are applying for your first U.S. passport-or-
  • You are under age 16-or-
  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16-or-
  • Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged-or-
  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago (U.S. passports are valid for 10 years)-or-
  • Your name has changed since your U.S. passport was issued and you are unable to legally document your name change

You must also include proof of your U.S. citizenship. All documentation will be returned to you, either with your passport when it is mailed to you or under a separate mailing, but ONLY the following are considered viable evidence, though you must only have one of these:

  • A certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state
  • A previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport
  • A Naturalization Certificate
  • A Certificate of Citizenship-or-
  • A Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth

If you have a previously issued, undamaged U.S. Passport or a Naturalization Certificate, that documentation will also serve as your Primary Identification.  If you do not, then you must also have additional verification of your identity in the form of:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • A current city, state or federal Government ID-or-

If you cannot present primary identification, then you must submit as much secondary identification as possible. These documents are not acceptable when presented alone, but may be accepted when presented together:

  • Social Security Card
  • Credit Card
  • Library Card
  • Employee ID
  • An Identifying Witness
    • Who is present at the time you fill out the application
    • Who has known you for at least 2 years
    • Who can prove they are a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident
    • Who has a valid primary ID-and-
    • Who is willing to fill out and sign the Affidavit of Identifying Witness (DS-71) in front of the Passport Agent.

The fees are not cheap.
There are both a Passport Card and a Passport Book. The card can be used to enter the U.S. from Bermuda, the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. It is much more convenient to carry and easier to hang onto and less expensive than a Passport Book. The card though, is NOT valid for international air travel.For adults: the passport card is valid for 10 years. The first time applicant will pay $45. If you are a previous passport holder, then the cost is $20. For minors (under the age of 16), the card is valid for 5 years and will cost $35.

Fees:

  • Adult Passport Book & Card $95 same for renewal
  • Adult Passport Book $75 same for renewal
  • Adult Passport Card $45 $20 for renewal

Applicants will also pay an Execution Fee of $25 per passport book or card. The book or card fee and the execution fee must be paid on separate receipts and few agencies will accept cash.  For applicants in the U.S., you may pay an additional fee of $60 for expedited service. Additionally, all applicants are strongly urged to pay an additional $14.96 for Overnight Delivery for each application. You also have one more option if you are unable to present evidence of citizenship-you can pay $60 for a File Search. This is only to verify a previous U.S. Passport or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes money. And in today’s environment you will not find much sympathy for not having the proper documentation or for a lost passport or passport card.

  • Run copies of your passport documentation, to include the passport card or book.
  • Keep one copy of everything with you and one copy of everything at home in a safe place.
  • Do NOT keep it in a safe deposit box.  If, for example, you are robbed on a cruise ship, you want someone at home to have easy access to this documentation. You may have to have it faxed to the ship or the port.

And plan ahead.
It may take weeks just to order your Certified Copy of your Birth Certificate. This copy must have a raised seal of certification issued by the legal authority in the city, state or county where you were born. You can send in your original, of course, but it is not recommended.

In fact, if you are even thinking about a future cruise, I would get my paperwork in order and apply now. This will ensure that you already have your passport in place and you can concentrate on the more important details, like where you want to go and what you want to see.

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