Travel Tips I – Before You Go

Should this title sound familiar that is because I did have a post with this title but somehow managed to unintentionally delete it — permanently. I’m not quite sure how that happened but it did. So here it is again and hopefully it will contain much of what I had included initially.

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”

Susan Heller
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

As fun and rewarding as travel is it can also be tiring and hectic. Maneuvering around bustling airports, cramped airplane seats, rushing for trains, and learning currency rates alongside the excitement of a new locale can be downright overwhelming! Some things can not be avoided as its the nature of the travel beast, yet there are some hacks and tips that may save you some time, money, and lessen stress. It may be a bit boring but can help to reduce surprises when you are finally on your way. Theses are a few tips that may help you out. For those in Canada and/or the Vancouver area I have included a few links below that may be of interest.

GETTING IN

  • ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
    • Is your passport up-to-date?
      • Many countries require that your passport is valid for up to six months from when you travel there
      • It is a good idea to also travel with another valid government issued photo I.D. such as a driver’s licence
      • TIP: If travelling to a country where the official language is different from where you live you may want to have a print out in the local language of where you are staying and other information that may be needed on a customs entry form
    • Is a visa required?
      • If a visa is required, check if you require a visa-on-arrival, e-visa, or a paper visa via the embassy of the country you wish to visit
      • Visas often have time limits (eg. 90 days for Tourist visas) and may allow for single or multi-entry trips
      • A few countries require a Transit visa if you are transiting/connecting in a country
      • Know which type of visa you require: Tourist, Student, Business, Transit, etc.
      • Some countries require an eTA(electronic travel authorization also called a visa waiver) in place of a visa
    • Vaccinations
      • Countries have different requirements and protocols regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and they may change frequently so learning about them is a good idea
      • You may want to make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date and/or find out what other vaccinations are suggested
      • Several countries require yellow a fever vaccination
    • Travelling with children
      • If one parent is travelling with a child under 18 years of age, a notarized letter stating the parent has permission from the other parent to travel with the child is usually required
      • If a parent or guardian has sole custody, proof of that is usually required
    • NEXUS
      • Joining the NEXUS program allows for faster border crossings into Canada and the USA as passengers are pre-approved, low risk travellers with designated kiosks and lanes
      • The process may take several months, an in-person interview may be required, and you must meet eligibility requirements
      • NEXUS passes are valid for 5 years

TRANSPORTATION/ACCOMMODATIONS/CAR RENTALS

Photo by LRM Exterior on Pexels.com
  • BOOKINGS/RESERVATIONS
    • Your reservations must match the name on your passport
      • It may seem like a no-brainer but it occurs enough to warrant mentioning
      • If your common name is a nickname or middle name you can not use that for bookings especially airline bookings as identification is checked
      • You may be denied boarding or your reservation may not be honoured if the names do not match
    • Documents
      • Have both paper and digital copies of reservations
        • Phone batteries can die, papers can get lost, and phones can break
      • Leave copies of itineraries, contact numbers, medical information with a trusted friend or family member and have another copy with you and on your phone
      • Keep medication in their bottles with the prescription label visible
    • Read the fine print
      • Knowing cancellation and change requirements and/or fees for transportation, accommodations, tours, and package vacations may lessen surprises
      • Is there an extra charge for more people in your hotel reservation?
      • Can kids stay free or at a discount? Some tour packages or hotels have special offers for families travelling with children, often under a certain age
    • Car rentals
      • Do you need an international driver’s license or will you current valid one suffice?
      • Car rental default transmissions vary in regions so know which one to book. For example, the default transmission in North America is an automatic transmission but in Europe it is manual transmission
      • If you use your credit card’s insurance for car rental make sure you know what is and isn’t covered

OTHER

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  • TRAVEL INSURANCE
    • Travel Insurance can cover many things and something, I personally think is very important to have
    • There are several types and companies that sell travel insurance so remember to check the fine print for any exclusions
    • These may be sold individually or in a comprehensive package
      • Out-of-Country Medical
        • In some countries you will have to pay for medical expenses yourself so this type of insurance can be of great value
      • Trip Cancellation & Interruption
        • Should your trip be cancelled due to your, your travel companion, or a family member becoming ill you may be reimbursed as well if you need to come home early for similar reasons
      • Trip Delay
        • May cover short term costs if your trip is delayed for various reasons
      • Baggage
        • Should your luggage be lost or significantly delayed it provides some assistance
      • Covid-19 related insurance
        • It may be included in medical or cancellation insurance or may be a stand-alone policy
        • Some destinations require this (they may sell their own)
    • CURRENCY & BANK/CREDIT CARDS
      • Have some local cash on hand before you arrive for those times when cards don’t work or are not accepted
      • Purchase foreign currency from a Currency Exchange as the rates may be better than at your bank – that is their business so rates may be more competitive and they may offer more options for bill sizes and amounts
      • Check what your bank’s foreign exchange rate is on your credit card – if you travel often it may be worth changing to another credit card
      • Check to see if your bank is part of the Global ATM Alliance
        • It is a group of banks that waive international ATM fees if using their member ATMs

    LINKS AND SITES (CANADA AND VANCOUVER)

    The Canadian government has a website that has plenty of information for Canadians travelling as well as for those planning to visit Canada. You can find the link here: Canada Travel & Tourism

    International Driver’s Permits can be purchased through CAA/BCAA in most provinces.

    If you are flying it is a good idea to know what you can pack and what you can’t. As well, knowing what to expect at Canadian airports is helpful. Here in Canada it is CATSA/ACSTA that has been mandated with providing screening of people and their bags through airport. The website above will give you the info you need to know.

    In the Greater Vancouver area there is only place where I get my foreign cash. That is at Vancouver Bullion and Currency Exchange (VCBE). Of course there are other places however, VCBE is my go-to as I can get good rates, pay with my debit card, order lesser used currency ahead of time, and access 4 locations (Burnaby, Richmond, and two in Vancouver).

    Although some of this stuff may be boring and tedious it may be of help in your travel plans and travels. I hope you have found this informative. Happy Travels!


    Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is for entertainment purposes only and does not provide legal, medical or any other professional advice. Reading this blog is of your own choice and any information that you choose to use from this blog is at your own risk. I have not received any compensation from nor am I responsible for the actions or opinions of any company or website listed. I assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site.

    6 thoughts on “Travel Tips I – Before You Go

    Add yours

      1. Oh absolutely. A few things are different for each place & travel within one’s own country often has less considerations. Though factors such as cancellation policies are usually in effect regardless of where one travels. It’s always good, I think, to be prepared regardless of where we travel. I hope your travels have been fun – our own countries can offer a lot of places to explore and wander!

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        1. This year- only traveled in my country

          Montreat- Parish Retreat (still in my state)
          FL- my family drives here
          St. Louis- the only flight, been to this city a lot in the past
          Sugar Mountain
          Hilton Head

          In my life, I have only been abroad 3x, but the ones I remember the best were the last 2:

          Costa Rica
          England

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