Time to Go!
When the countdown to your trip begins, it's important to start preparing.
Start by gathering all of your confirmations. Print a copy of each to carry with you. You may need to present it to be sure you are assigned the correct room, etc. Although the computer system theoretically "should" recognize you, experience has shown that this is not always the case. To avoid problems, show your confirmation at check-in. Check-in is also the appropriate time to confirm any other requests, such as seat location, bed size, smoking/nonsmoking room, and room location. Although you may have made such requests at time of reservation, to be on the safe side, you really must ask at check-in or risk the aggravation of having to change rooms later (or possibly not get your requests).
If you are traveling out of the country with children, you need to make certain that if only one of the parents is traveling with the minor child that he or she has a notarized statement from the other parent and/or guardian authorizing that person to take the child out of the United States. Without such as statement, it’s very likely that the passenger and the minor would be stopped before boarding a flight to leave the country. Create your free child consent form HERE.
Your mobile plan will work anywhere in the United States, including all of Hawaii, just like it does at home. While your mobile phone may work outside of the U.S., you must call your mobile service provider to assure you will have service and to inquire about an International Plan. An International Plan will make the fees much more tolerable. Also inquire about texting packages. Data is another confusing subject. We suggest that you ask them to walk you through shutting off data. Then you can turn it back on when you are connected to your hotel Wi-Fi so you won’t pay roaming fees. Call your service provider to turn off your the international Plan when you get home.
We have listed the best free calling apps that you could utilize to make free calls either on Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, or Mac.
WhatsApp Messenger. ...
Facebook Messenger. ...
KakaoTalk: Free Calls & Text. ...
Maaii: Free Calls & Messaging.
Investigate your airport parking options. There may be a number of parking options at the airport, as well as off-airport parking options such as The Parking Spot and WallyPark.
Be Prepared! Spend the night before your flight at an airport hotel and enjoy free parking while you're away. Your Park-n-Fly package will likely include a hotel room for the night prior to your flight, free parking while you're away, and transportation to and from the airport. Call us for preferred rates and reservations.
Research your airline baggage fees and maximum allowance. There is typically a size and weight restriction that may differ greatly between airlines, trains, and ships.
I like to partner with "Pack-for-a-Purpose". You can choose to take needed supplies to community projects at your destination. The graciousness of your actions not only enriches the local community, but also enhances the joy of travel. Make a lasting impact in the community at your destination by visiting www.PackForAPurpose.org.
Each airport has a recommended advance check-in time; typically at least one hour prior for domestic and three hours prior for international flights. Be sure to know what is recommended at your departure airport.
Check for entry requirements. International travel requires proof of citizenship. It is your responsibility to provide all required documents. Boarding will be denied without proper travel documentation. Most countries do not allow entry with certain types of felony convictions. The U.S. Embassy requires a valid Passport to re-enter the United States. A lost or stolen passport is easier to replace when a copy can be obtained. Please leave a copy at home with a friend or family member that can fax it to your destination in the case of an emergency.
Download the Mobile Customs App. This one effort may greatly improve and expedite your experience through customs.
Check your passport expiration for validity. For many countries, it is now required to have at least six months remaining validity on your passport, at the time of travel.
It is not uncommon for international travel to cause indigestion. Most resorts and restaurants have purification systems and serve purified water and ice, however, we recommend you always use bottled water. If you are susceptible to this, please ask your doctor to make a recommendation as to how to avoid indigestion and gastrointestinal illness. If you do become ill while traveling, you can always contact your doctor to reconfirm any medications a local doctor may prescribe.
All flight times, flight itineraries, and carriers are subject to change with or without prior notice. I strongly suggest that you contact your air carrier at least 48 hours prior to departure or access your reservation online to confirm your flights in case of a last-minute schedule change. *Download the airline app for immediate notification of flight delays and cancellations.
Some airlines offer advance baggage and seat purchase at a reduced rate over purchasing at the airport. We recommend that you check-in online within 24 hours of departure; passport information will be necessary. If you are traveling with small children or have an injury that requires you to move about the cabin more frequently, you may want to consider the investment.
The days of complimentary food and beverages onboard a plane are almost obsolete. Be sure to pack a snack or bring a valid credit card to purchase these items on board.
Not only check out the forecast at your destination just prior to departure but also research the average temperature and precipitation so that you are prepared.
Research the local customs at your destination. Perhaps even spend some time learning a bit of the local language to help you get around and appear considerate.
Be sure to learn the electrical current. If American-style two-pin flat blade plugs are not standard, I suggest you invest in or borrow from a friend, an electrical converter. Although many hotels profess to have them on hand, oftentimes I have found they are already lent out to other guests.
Check out the local time at your destination and prepare to reset your watch.
When traveling outside of the country, check the duty allowance for things such as cigarettes, cigars, alcohol, and perfume. Typically all animal products are prohibited.
Similar to standard practices in the U.S. and Europe, smoking is allowed in designated areas.
As in any unfamiliar area or city, use common sense and caution when out and about, keep a low profile with personal possessions. Make copies of all important documents and only take copies with you when outside of the hotel. Keep valuables and important travel documents, passports, in the safe.
Please follow this link and take the time to review all items prohibited during air travel: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/prohibited-items
Please visit the FAA website to review Hazardous Materials not allowed on the aircraft. You do NOT want to get caught with one of these.
The first thing you should do if you are traveling abroad with a credit card, even if you only plan to use it in case of an emergency, is to call the issuer and ask which fees will apply to your purchases, both in local currency and in U.S. dollars. We recommend calling before each trip, as these policies may change without notice. Always charge in the local currency (merchants will often ask; would you like the charge in local currency or U.S. currency? Say "local.")
Traveling to a foreign country?
In places like Mexico and the Caribbean, U.S. currency will usually be accepted, but they will not have USD to make change. I highly recommend bringing many $1's and $5's (small bills.)
It's often a good idea to get some foreign currency before you leave home so that you have cash on hand to handle your immediate expenses, especially small bills used for tipping, buying a meal at the airport or taking a cab to your hotel. This way you're not stranded without cash if the airport ATM isn't working or you arrive after the local exchange bureau has closed. You can get foreign currency from a local bank, online, or at the airport. Try your local bank first, as they may waive fees for certain account holders. I recommend bringing a minimum of $100 - $150 worth of foreign currency.
You'll get the same great interbank exchange rate when you make cash withdrawals with your debit or ATM card as you do when you make a credit card purchase. With ATMs available in major cities and airports all over the world, this is generally the cheapest and most convenient way to get cash in the local currency.
Take a picture on your phone of the backs of the credit cards just in case they are lost or stolen. Call your credit card company before you leave to let them know that are traveling outside the country. NOTE: Some credit cards charge a 3% international fee on top of purchases; please inquire and plan to bring and use a credit card that does NOT charge a 3% fee on all purchases.
If given the option, always choose to be charged in the local currency, not the U.S. when traveling abroad.
Print a currency cheat sheet at Oanda.com. See our Traveler Resources page to purchase foreign currency.
As a general rule of thumb, 10-15% gratuity is normal for average restaurant service and anything above that for outstanding service. At all-inclusive resorts, tipping is optional and a personal decision although some hotel chains such as Sandals and Beaches resorts forbid it.
Lastly, check out the dress code for things like "the wearing of camouflage is illegal in St. Lucia."
While sandals are recommended for use around beach areas, we suggest you also bring comfortable closed-toe footwear and water shoes which are required for some tours and activities.
Many of these items and information (and more!) are available to you from the Traveler Resources Page of our website.
For 24/7 emergency assistance during travel, call your travel service provider. The telephone number is listed in your travel document or in your Trip App.
Then it's time for the fun to begin!! Just in case you arrive prior to check-in and your room is not ready, I always recommend packing a bathing suit in an easy-to-reach place, so you can head straight for the pool/beach/bar and start enjoying, as your all-inclusive amenities begin the moment you arrive!
Have a great trip!! We look forward to hearing your review when you return!