Before I Book a Vacation
According to the World Health Organization more than 900 million international journeys are undertaken every year. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Global travel on this scale exposes many people to a range of health risks. International travelers should always be extra concerned about their health and safety, as every region and country around the world has its own risks, customs and level of health care. However, whatever your age or destination, properly preparing before you leave, and staying in good health while travelling, can help you have a happy and enjoyable trip.
At Relaxing Vacations we do our best to provide our clients with the most accurate and up-to-date travel health information for the region you will be visiting. Some essential information on travel health risks and preventive measures are provided in the website links below. Finally, it is important that you get advice from your family physician or a specialist from a Travel Health clinic before travelling to keep you and your loved ones healthy during your travels.
The key resource for health information is the Travelers’ Health page of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. The CDC website also provides general guidance on health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect-bite protection. The CDC also maintains an international travelers’ hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747).
Country Travel Advice and Advisories
No matter where in the world you intend to travel it is always important to have the most up-to-date travel information. At Relaxing Vacations we do our best to provide our clients with the latest destination information when planning their trip. On the http://www.travel.state.gov website below you will find official information and advice from each country. Each information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you. Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to decide whether traveling to that country is right for you. You will also find the address and phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Take those with you in case of an emergency. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
After I Book a Vacation
When will I receive my travel documents
Travel documents, including any air tickets, itineraries, and other information, are available approximately two to three weeks prior to departure provided full payment has been received.
What should I bring on vacation
What type of money should I bring on vacation?
Major credit cards are widely accepted (WiFi permitting) but some shops and restaurants require a minimum purchase amount when using them (so they are not appropriate for incidentals such as ice creams, snacks etc). You might consider bringing more than one card, as some outlets may not accept all types. Due to increasing credit card fraud worldwide, be prepared to show identification (ie. your passport) when making a transaction with your credit card. When your card is being processed, do not let it out of your sight.
For the best available exchange rate, you will find ATM (automatic teller machine) cards indispensable. The Plus and Cirrus logos are now displayed at many ATM locations worldwide. The usual care should be exercised when using ATMs; avoid making withdrawals at night or in unlit/isolated areas, conceal your PIN code, and be wary of assistance from seemingly helpful strangers, however polite or well-dressed. In order to safeguard your card details and your transactions, wherever possible use the special security rooms provided by banks for this purpose. A lost or blocked card should be reported to your bank via its 24-hour emergency number for immediate cancellation/replacement.
What’s the current exchange rate?
On vacation you will need spending money for meals and entrance fees that are not already included, beverages, optional excursions (if not already pre-purchased), gratuities, shopping, and incidental expenses. As a general guideline, aim to bring a variety of means to “pay your way” for your own convenience, and also in case you have difficulties with your preferred method of payment. Use the following currency converter as a reference to see the current exchange rate.
Before traveling with your credit cards
Check with your bank to ensure you are able to withdraw cash on your cards abroad (you may need a new PIN code). Advise your bank that you will be traveling abroad and plan to use your card(s) for shopping etc. (to avoid fraud, they may refuse charges made overseas unless they know they are being made by the card owner).
Ask your credit card companies for emergency numbers (suitable for international access – not those starting with 1-800 or 0800) to report loss. Always keep these numbers with you while traveling (but separate from cards and checks).
Should I travel with Traveler’s checks
Traveler’s checks are not recommended. They are increasingly difficult to use and exchange abroad, especially Euro traveler’s checks, which may incur substantial charges. Generally, it is not possible to use checks as cash to purchase items in stores or pay for restaurant meals; they can usually be exchanged for currency at a local bank. On the rare occasions that you are able to use checks as cash, a processing fee may be applied (usually 2-3%). If you do bring a few traveler’s checks for back-up safety reasons (in addition to your ATM and credit cards), we recommend checks from major companies (American Express or Visa), and suggest larger denomination checks ($50, $100) because of fixed-rate service charges per check when exchanging for cash.
There is always a fee involved in any exchange transaction; sometimes it is built in to the published rate; in other places, it can be a percentage fee, or a separate fixed-rate commission charge (in which case you receive better value for money if you exchange larger, rather than smaller amounts). Due to increasing counterfeit, establishments may be reluctant to accept bills of 100 and over in any currency, so you may wish to obtain denominations of 50 or less.
What Should I Pack?
Relaxing Vacations provides a packing checklist free-of-charge for both Land and Cruise Travel. Click here for more: Relaxing Vacations Vacation Checklists
Note: TSA rules may change without notice based on world events and security concerns. For the most up to date TSA rules, visit: www.TSA.gov
TSA incorporates unpredictable security measures, both seen and unseen, to accomplish their transportation security mission.
Security measures begin long before you arrive at the airport. TSA works closely with the intelligence and law enforcement communities to share information. Additional security measures are in place from the time you get to the airport until you get to your destination.
TSA adjusts processes and procedures to meet the evolving threat and to achieve the highest levels of transportation security. Because of this, you may notice changes in their procedures from time to time.
TSA counts on the traveling public to report unattended bags or packages; individuals in possession of a threatening item; and persons trying to enter a restricted area or similar suspicious activities at airports, train stations, bus stops and ports. If You See Something, Say Something™. Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.
Passenger screening at the airport is part of TSA’s layered approach to security to get you safely to your destination. TSA’s screening procedures are intended to prevent prohibited items and other threats to transportation security from entering the sterile area of the airport and are developed in response to information on threats to transportation security.
Checked Baggage Screening
TSA screens approximately 1.4 million checked bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. Upon check in, your checked baggage will be provided to TSA for security screening. Once the screening process has been completed, your airline will transport your checked baggage on your respective flight as well as deliver it to the baggage claim area. The majority of checked baggage is screened without the need for a physical bag search.
Inspection Notices: TSA may inspect your checked baggage during the screening process. If your property is physically inspected, TSA will place a notice of baggage inspection inside your bag. This is to inform you that an officer conducted an inspection of your property.
Claims: If your property is lost or damaged during the screening process, you may file a claim with TSA. If your property is lost or damaged during transport to the plane or baggage claim, please contact your airline.
Locks: TSA has been provided universal “master” keys under agreements with Safe Skies Luggage Locks and Travel Sentry so that certain branded locks may not have to be cut to inspect baggage. These locks are commercially available, and packaging on the locks should indicate they may be opened by TSA officers. TSA has no position on the validity or effectiveness of these products as a security measure and will be forced to remove these products if necessary during the inspection.
Monitoring: Responsibilities for access control and video monitoring of checked baggage facilities fall to individual airports as part of their security plan. Methods of monitoring vary from airport to airport.
Carry-on Baggage Screening
Carry-on Baggage Screening in Standard Lanes
TSA screens approximately 4.9 million carry-on bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. Here’s what to expect when taking your carry-on bag through security screening next time you fly.
You will be asked to remove personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag and place them into a bin with nothing placed on or under them for X-ray screening. Common examples of these devices include laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles. This does not include items such as hair dryers, electric shavers or electric toothbrushes.
In addition to screening personal electronic devices separately, including laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles, TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate other items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine.
Listen to the instructions of the TSA officer. In most cases, food or snacks such as fruit, health bars, and sandwiches can stay inside your carry-on bag. There are special instructions for liquids, gels, and aerosols, as well as for baby food, breast milk and medically necessary items. A TSA officer will be available to guide you through the process.
What Can I Bring?
Planning ahead and packing properly can facilitate the screening process and ease your travel experience at the airport. Know what you can pack in your carry-on and checked baggage before arriving at the airport by reviewing the lists below. Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. Read about civil penalties for prohibited items by clicking here https://www.tsa.gov/travel/civil-enforcement
For items not listed here, simply snap a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter. They answer questions, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET weekdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends/holidays.
If you are preparing for your flight, be aware that how and what you pack can impact the screening process. Be sure that you check for prohibited items and remember to follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. The 3-1-1 liquids rule allows you to bring one quart-sized baggie of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing all these items in a quart size baggie and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage. Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream or paste that alarms during screening will require additional screening.
We recommend keeping your bag organized to help ease the screening process as it takes time for TSA officers to make sure a jam-packed, cluttered, overstuffed bag is safe.
Check out the TSA’s travel tips page for more packing and screening tips at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips/travel-checklist
TSA Cares is a helpline that provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process.
Call (855) 787-2227, 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
Passenger Support Specialists
Travelers requiring special accommodations or concerned about the security screening process at the airport may ask a TSA officer or supervisor for a passenger support specialist who can provide on-the-spot assistance.