Sweating the Small Stuff

Surprises can be the best part of your trip—or not. Take care of business before you hit the road.

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Check your expiration date. Passports generally need to be valid for six months beyond your intended stay. (Some countries require only three months). If you’re a frequent international traveler, consider a passport with extra pages – request the “big book” when you renew or apply. Starting January 1st 2016, the U.S. government will no longer add extra pages to an existing passport. It may be possible to obtain a second passport (valid for two years) for the following reasons: 1) you need a second passport if you plan to visit a country that will deny a visa if your passport contains markings or visas showing you traveled to certain other countries or 2) you need a passport for immediate travel because of delays in getting a travel visa or a foreign governmental process required you to submit your passport.



Many countries require an entry visa. To obtain one, apply directly to the country’s embassy or consulate, or use a service. I recommend CIBT Visas. They can also help you obtain a passport.



If you are a frequent international traveler, consider applying for Global Entry.

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. As a participant, you enter the U.S. by using automated kiosks located at select airports. The kiosk issues you a transaction receipt and directs you to baggage claim and the exit.
With Global Entry approval, you’re automatically enrolled in the TSA Pre-Check program for expedited travel within the U.S.



Some countries require proof of immunization before allowing you to enter. Consult one of the following for immunization information:
Your personal physician

Passport Health is the largest provider of travel medical services in North America with 240+ travel clinics in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Advice · Immunizations · Safety
Medicines · Any Vaccination


Rather than recommending a specific insurance carrier, I suggest you purchase coverage that will suit your unique travel needs, including any pre-existing conditions, medical evacuation coverage or high-risk adventures like climbing Mt. Everest.


Avoid the hassle! Send it ahead!!
Luggage Forward at www.luggageforward.com


  • Call your credit card companies to set up travel notifications. Ask about possible fees for ATM cash advances or charges in a foreign currency.
  • Make a list of your card numbers and corresponding customer service numbers to take with you. Keep the list separate from your cards in case of loss or theft.
  • Call your mobile provider to set up a data plan. Ask about usage charges.
  • Take a digital or paper copy of your passport with you. Keep the copy separate from your passport during your trip.
  • Stop mail and newspaper delivery.

Packing hints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIk8v__Osm8