All You Need to Know About Travel Documents

In the midst of all the anticipation for your travel tour, it's important to make sure you don't overlook the documents you need for international travel. Here are a few of the important documents you'll typically need:

Airline Tickets

Because airlines issue tickets electronically, you won't receive the actual ticket but only a receipt that shows your ticket number and flight schedule. When you check in for your flight, you'll need to show your passport for identification. The airline will then issue you a boarding pass to use as security clearance for boarding the plane. As a rule, you'll not be able to confirm your seat assignment before checking in.

Passports

All U.S. citizens who leave the country must carry with them a valid passport. Your passport must have at least two blank pages and be valid for at least six months after you return home. Adult passports are valid for 10 years; children's are valid for only 5 years. When you enroll for your tour, please check the expiration date; and if it needs to be renewed, you must do so promptly. If you don't possess a valid passport, you must apply for one.

The procedure for applying for or renewing a passport is outlined at travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html.

It's vital that the name listed on your passport be the exact name that appears on your airline ticket or the airline may deny your boarding the plane. If your name has recently changed due to marriage or other reason, you don't need to renew your passport. Just make sure your airline ticket is issued with your previous name that appears on the passport. U.S. citizens who travel to European Union (EU) countries don't need visas. If you visit countries outside the EU, you may want to contact the foreign embassies of those countries to inquire whether you need a visa to enter. Your tour coordinator will also notify you if you need a visa.

Letter from Physician

From your physician, obtain a letter that lists any medications you carry with you, including over-the-counter medications, as some countries have strict laws regulating all medications entering their nations. Check into the laws of your destination country to make sure.

Custody Documents or Written Consent for Children

If you're traveling with children other than your own, check with your destination country's foreign embassy for required documents regarding custody or parental consent.

Photocopies of Documents

To guard against loss or theft, be sure to make two photocopies of each travel document; one to leave home with a relative or friend and one to carry with you separately from the original document.

 
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