Many of us are beginning to think about traveling again. Anxiously awaiting the day when we can set foot on a distant beach or finally take that trip we have been planning for so long. Here are a few things to help you dust off those travel logistic cobwebs and get you jet-set ready!
Oh yeah—my passport!
How’s that passport looking? And not just yours—anyone traveling with you.
Passports for children expire every five years (with different criteria for 16 and 17-year-olds and those under 16). Infants and all children up to age 18, need to be accompanied by a legal guardian to their passport appointment—they cannot be completed on-line. Adult passports expire every ten years and most can be completed on-line.
After checking that expiration date, and perhaps you have determined (gasp) it has or is soon to expire, don’t panic! The current U.S. Passport Department estimates are 10-12 weeks for standard processing, but you have some options.
- First, if you have a few months before it expires, check the rules for the country you are traveling to. Some will not allow you to travel to the country even if it has a few months remaining, others are more lenient. (Usually one must have minimum of six months remaining on a passport as of the date they DEPART the foreign country)
- Make appointments at local post offices and other government locations for photos. Most straight-forward renewals can be completed at U.S. passports. An updated photo will be required.
Links to local services, as well as the ability to expedite processing are available at: U.S. Department of State travel
Vaccines: Which ones, exactly?
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, many countries have their own requirements/recommendations and safety information. For information on vaccine requirements and other travel restrictions by country visit CDC.gov
PPE: Don’t leave home without it
Don’t assume airports and hotels will have masks, sanitizer, or wipes available. While the vaccine becomes more readily available, expect airlines and hotels to remain diligent when it comes to enforcing their company’s protocols for quite some time. Come well-prepared just as you did at the beginning of the pandemic.
Don’t lug it!
After having a break from our luggage, suddenly we are made aware of its short-comings. A broken wheel, malfunctioning zippers, and handles that no longer telescope. Maybe it’s time to donate or re-purpose that version and bring on a new one for this decade. *Recycle tip: Old luggage makes perfect camping gear! Newer luggage today contains USB charging cords, built-in cup holders, improved soft and hard-sided cases, and wheels that rotate 360 degrees… Even backpacks have come a long way. And many are being made from recyclable materials! Do some research, make the upgrade. You’ll be happy you did.
To insure or not?
If this pandemic has taught us anything about travel it has been to give that travel insurance policy a closer look. Read the fine print to see what exactly it covers. Many airlines have changed their policies considerably, offering credits, refunds, etc. Check with your airline to be certain of insurance restrictions and expiration dates for redeeming credits. Not all flights have the same policies.
The apps have it
Lastly, consider downloading the latest and greatest travel apps. From airlines to maps, travel itineraries, and weather apps- there are sooo many out there. You will be surprised just how enjoyable they can make your trip. Also, be on the look-out at your airport for QR codes (download QR reader before leaving) that you can scan to find up-to-date information and even talk to representatives if needed.
Happy planning, and welcome back to new experiences, exploration, and good ol’ (and much needed) escapism!