Note: We add new content to this page several times a month, placing it in an order that will help our clients through the planning and packing process. Feel free to return to the page frequently and scroll through to see new posts! The most recent content is noted as *NEW* for easy viewing, and changes each month.
There have been multiple cases of Zika Virus reported in the United States, but all of them were traveler-related, and no case has been proven to be contracted on American soil. The areas where the virus is most common are in Central and South America; if you are traveling to the countries where it is acquired locally, there are certain precautions that you should take, especially if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Here is a link to the CDC with information on how to prevent contracting the virus when abroad.
10 Most Important Safety Tips for Travelers
The world is a wonderful, mysterious place just waiting to be explored! Most of it is safe enough to travel through. We have traveled to many countries around the world and have found most people to be welcoming and excited to have us there. We love asking the locals where to eat, what to see, and the best ways to experience their culture, and most people are trustworthy enough to listen to.
However, just like at home, it is very important to maintain your safety while in foreign countries. Safety comes with knowledge and experience, and while accumulating the latter, it is imperative to inundate yourself with the former to stay as safe as possible. After all, you want to return home intact and ready for your next adventure, right? Below is a link to a very fine article with 10 Most Important Safety Tips for Travelers. Read, re-read, and commit to memory, and have many safe and fascinating travels to come!
To stay safe while traveling, click HERE!
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
The STEP program is a free service which allows travelers to register their trip with the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Offered by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, your enrollment is a way to allow your family to contact you if there is an emergency at home, or to help the Embassy contact you if there is an emergency in the country you are visiting. They will also send you information on safety conditions before you go, so that you will be well prepared.
Check it out HERE!
How Adventuring Can Make You Money
We hear it all the time- “I would love to travel but I can’t afford it”; “I wish I could take a vacation, but I just cannot take the time off of work.”
The truth is that traveling improves work performance. When a person travels he not only gets away from his work physically, which allows for rejuvenation, but he also enhances his creativity and decision making skills. These things make a person more efficient and productive when he gets home. Below is a link to an incredible article by the Huffington Post that outlines a few key reasons why traveling is so very important! Enjoy!
Click HERE to learn how to help yourself in business!
Applying for a Passport
If you are going out of country, you need to make sure that you have your passport in time. It is important that your passport is valid 6 months after your Return Date, in case of any out-of-country delays.
It generally takes 4-6 weeks to process an application with routine service, and around 3 weeks to process it with expedite service (Expedite service costs $60.00 more). Do Not Wait until this late to actually apply for your passport! Give yourself some cushion time.
There are many countries that require a visa before entry (India, China, etc), so make sure to ask your Travel Advisor about this, because you have to send your passport off to receive these visas. This also needs to be calculated into the time it takes for you to have your passport in hand.
Here is some information about applying for your passport:
What you will need:
- Certified Birth Certificate (no photocopies) or Previously issued, undamaged, and fully valid U.S. Passport
- Government Issued Photo ID (Driver’s License or Military ID)
- Photocopy of Photo ID (Front and Back)
- Passport Photo (not attached to the form)
- Payment (Check or money order, no cash unless at a Passport Agency)
1. You can click HERE to download and print your passport application. The link leads you to the forms you need and step by step instructions on sending your passport for processing. Remember: DO NOT SIGN your application until instructed to do so by the acceptance agent. It must be notarized!
2. The United States Postal Services (USPS) has many locations that accept passport applications. Some will even take your passport photo for an extra fee. Click HERE to go to the website, locate the “International” tab on the right hand side, and scroll down to “passports”. You can find locations that process passports from there, and the list will tell you which locations require an appointment and which do not.
3. A Passport Book is $110.00, a Passport Card is $30.00, and a Book and Card is $140.00. If you apply for a Passport Book with Standard Shipping, the total cost will be $135.00 with the Execution fee.
4. For your photo, you can always go to a Walgreens or a similar store. There are also several apps (isn’t there one for everything these days?) which allow you to take your own passport photo if you have a smartphone, but the guidelines are strict and can be difficult. The app that we have is called ID/Passport Photomaker Free, but there are several. Be sure to follow the guidelines they give you!
When you receive your passport, make sure to make a couple photocopies- one for your luggage and one for you to carry around if you decide to put your passport in a safety box in your room. If you lose your passport, having a photocopy will cut down on the time that you are held in the country while waiting for a new one.
Live Well and Travel Often!
Vaccinations: What to Get Before You Go
Because each country has her own unique recommended vaccinations, you cannot rely on one set list to cover you for every destination. Some of them can get expensive, so we recommend not taking vaccines that you do not need. However, if a certain vaccine is highly recommended for the country you are traveling to, take it! Of course, consult your Physician about the necessary vaccinations, and use the link below as a guideline only for what you need. We must note that we assume no responsibility for any illness you may contract while on your adventure!
This link is the easy-to-use CDC site containing information about recommended vaccines for each country. Enjoy! Click HERE.
How to Pack: A Guide by Rick Steves
Almost everyone who travels has experienced the displeasure of forgetting something important while packing. In the article below, Rick Steves endeavors to help us avoid this frustrating situation with a wonderful list of things to pack when you go! Enjoy the article!
If you don’t want to forget anything, click HERE!
About Shoes- Choose Well, Travelers!
One of the most important things that a traveler can pack is proper shoes! There is nothing worse than becoming a hop-a-long on your much anticipated adventure because of sore feet!
One of the best options to wear are Chacos. We are in love with these rather unsightly shoes! The top straps are actually comprised of one long strap, which loops inside the durable rubber sole for custom adjustment. This creates a fit that is far superior to shoes that have the straps sewn into the sides. They form to your feet like a dream, have wonderful traction, and support the front of the arch, near the ball, which takes the pressure off of the weaker part of your middle foot. We climbed Mt. Batur in Bali in them on a cold and rainy day, and even the slick volcanic rocks were no worry because of our Chacos! Here is the link to their website: CHACO WEBSITE
If you need a durable shoe that you can walk in all day long but needs to look a little classier than the Chaco, we suggest the Ahnu Karma line. These shoes also have great arch support and durable rubber soles, but are closed-toed and versatile with wardrobe. The style featured here is the ballet flat, but they have great looking hiking boots and other types of flats as well. When it comes to the ballet flat, the cloth options can sometimes slide down the Achilles Tendon, which creates discomfort, but we have not found this to be true with the leather options. The leather is soft but durable, and did not give us any blisters, although we walked in them for hours each day. We wore our Ahnu Karmas out during our last adventure trip, and they still look brand new after a little leather conditioner. A great investment for any traveler!
Here is the link to their website: AHNU KARMA WEBSITE
Luggage- for the Adventure Traveler
We have a secret for the adventure traveler, and it is in two words- Tortuga Backpack. These backpacks are our best friends, and we love them almost as much as we love our passports! The Tortuga Backpack is our choice of luggage when we travel anywhere, from New York to Australia!
They have pouches and pockets in the exact right places, perfect for the organized traveler. Also, they are ergonomically correct for the spine, placing most of the weight on the hips and taking pressure off of the shoulder area. Tamyra was able to carry hers with ease on our trip around the world to 11 countries only months after breaking her shoulder and going through surgery. If you need more proof of comfort than that, we cannot help you!
It does not look like much space, but we can put enough clothes in ours for weeks of travel- and we have done so! There is a flap that can zip up to enclose the straps, to protect them on the airplane either in the overhead compartment or if you decide to check it.
If you are tired of rolling your luggage, definitely check out this alternative- it is well worth the money, and you will have it for the rest of your life!
For more information, and to buy your new best friend, click HERE!
A day pack is a very important part of any traveler’s gear. We personally favor Under Armor Compel Sling Backpack, because it is roomy, has a slot in the main area for a computer, a compartment in the front for your pens, etc., a separate, fuzzy lined place for your sunglasses, and a pouch on the sling that is perfectly sized for your cellphone. They have a mesh pouch on the side for a water bottle. There is a clip on the sling, so that if someone wants to take your pack off of you, you can unclip the pack and let the perpetrator have it. NEVER try to fight a perpetrator if you can help it. It is better to let them have your stuff and hopefully walk away unscathed. For this reason, we recommend that you never place your passport or money in your day pack, but rather put them in a pouch around your neck, under your shirt if you are in a crowded area.
Click HERE to go to the Academy Sports website to check it out!
Putting It All Together… In Your Suitcase or Backpack
Putting your gear together in your luggage is actually an art form- especially if you need to take some fancy things that you do not wish to get wrinkled. There are many things to remember to take and those last minute items can often be forgotten. This link gives you some amazing tips on how to organize everything and pack in the most efficient form possible. Check it out!
To learn how to pack all of your essentials efficiently, click HERE!
What Not to Pack in Checked Luggage- highly important information!
Many people believe that the contents of their checked bags are private and safe, especially when they have TSA approved locks on their luggage. This is not so! Many people lose valuables every day because of this assumption.
The airlines do not usually cover any losses, and if they do it is an exception to their general rule. Medications, documents, and jewelry are only a few of the things that you should keep on your person when you fly; this article extensively covers what to not check and why.
Click HERE if you treasure your valuables!
When to book your airline tickets *UPDATED*
One thing that stresses people out is booking airline tickets! When to book is a question that some of our clients do not think to ask, yet this knowledge is important to the health of your pocketbook! In recent years, with airlines buying up other airlines, the competition has changed, and therefore pricing schedules have subsequently changed. Where as before it was quite expensive to buy your tickets too early, it is not as costly now as buying them too late. In fact, many destinations reward the early purchasers. We have an article here that details when to buy tickets for the most effective price, according on the time of year and your destination. Of course, these rules are very loose and not set in stone, but they are nice guidelines!
To save money, click HERE!
Travel Insurance: Why it is Important
Many things can happen to require a delay in your vacation. We have had clients who had to cancel family vacations and even honeymoons for a variety of reasons, and because they had travel insurance, their money was reimbursed! Below is the link to a wonderful article that goes into more depth with 5 Myths about Travel Insurance. Enjoy the read!
Click HERE to understand insurance!
Combating the Fear of Flying
We hear it all the time…people who really want to get away and experience the world, but who have a very real fear of flying. Because we hate to think of people missing out on adventure due to anxiety, we thought we would give some resources that might help! While there are sedatives that you can take to calm your nerves when you board the plane, we are not big fans of them. There are actually many different ways to fight anxiety, and 9 of them are contained in the article below! Enjoy!
To begin combating your fear, click HERE!