Having the right travel documents is pretty crucial to being able to travel the world, so don’t leave home without the correct items. Here’s a list for you that’s worth reading more than once so you’re sure not to forget something at home.
YOU NEED A PASSPORT! Check yours today to see that it is valid for at least six month beyond the date you intend to return to the US as that is what the US requires. You can obtain application and renewal forms on-line at the US Department of State, or locally at any post office. It can take up to six weeks to receive your passport so plan accordingly.
American and Canadian passport holders do not need a visa to visit any European country, Chile or Argentina for periods of less than three months. For certain nationalities a Reciprocity Fee may need to be paid before entering the country. Please reference your tour Getting To and Away (GTA) document and make sure to check official travel information made available by your government.
Lost, Stolen or Mutilated Documents
Should this happen to you while abroad please let your tour leader know right away so you can communicate with the consulate or embassy of your country. As a reference, most countries have guidelines online. For example, the US Department of State’s Lost or Stolen Passport page is very helpful.
Customs is fairly easy these days as long as you are not trying to smuggle anything from point A to point B. Even fruit is sometimes considered contraband so just be aware of what you have packed away. Here are a few tips on How to Clear US Customs Faster.
It’s always a good idea when traveling abroad to carry a copy of your passport with you, but separate from your actual passport as well as to leave another copy with someone at home. Some people also like to take photos of those documents with their smartphone.