Travel Leaders offer 'Insider's' Tips for International Journeys

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Travel Leaders Encourage Consumers to Travel like a Pro

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When we asked Travel Leaders across the country for their best 'insider' advice on international travel, the proverbial floodgates opened so much so that we had to winnow them down to individual components of a consumer's trip

Ever wonder what practices travel experts routinely follow themselves to ensure smooth travels internationally? Wonder no more. Today, Travel Leaders from throughout the United States are offering their "Insider's" tips to better prepare travelers in advance of their own journeys abroad. Today's news release is the first in a series of "Insider's" tips on a wide array of topics of expertise, including a variety of international travel issues.

"When we asked Travel Leaders across the country for their best 'insider' advice on international travel, the proverbial floodgates opened so much so that we had to winnow them down to individual components of a consumer's trip," explained Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Franchise Group.

Block indicated that Travel Leaders first "Insider's" tips provided on prepping before international travel can be neatly encapsulated into three primary areas, including: Booking Your Travel, Musts for Packing, Preparing to Leave

Booking Your Travel

  • Valid Passports - When booking your travel, make sure your passport isn't close to expiring. While it may seem obvious that each traveler will need to have a valid passport in hand to travel abroad, there are nuances on which Travel Leaders urge extra caution because many countries require up to six months left on passports after completion of trips. Andrea Callahan (Travel Leaders, Paoli, PA) said this is particularly true for travelers requiring visas, "We remind travelers who need a visa that they must have at a minimum six months left on the validity of the passport after the planned return date." Travel Leaders can assist travelers who require expedited passport and visa services.
  • Timing Your Flight Right - What time should you schedule your flights? The earlier in the day, the better, before air traffic delays grow exponentially. "If you have the opportunity, do not take the last flight of the day," warns Robbert J. van Bloemendaal, CTC (Travel Leaders, Rowlett, TX). "By taking an earlier flight, you may have an option for the later flight just in case there is a problem or you get bumped. This advice is also good for domestic flights."
  • Protecting Your Investment - "Travel insurance isn't a need, it is a necessity," advises Mike Weingart (Travel Leaders, Houston, TX). Vicky Voll (Travel Leaders, Glendale, CA) agrees, adding, "Travel Insurance is highly recommended. Prior to departing the U.S., review your personal insurance policy. Many health insurance programs do not include coverage for medical expenses incurred in a foreign country. Consider purchasing travel insurance that includes trip cancellation, medical coverage, travel delay, baggage insurance and emergency evacuation coverage." Trip cancellation and all forms of travel insurance are available through Travel Leaders.

Musts for Packing
While the age old conundrum of what to pack should more often be met head-on with what not to pack, Travel Leaders experts provide advice on what should be included in anyone's packing regiment.

  • Luggage Limitations - "A lot of people don't realize when they travel throughout Europe, the weight limit on luggage is lower than here in the United States," cautions Lucy Lyons (Travel Leaders, Jacksonville, NC). "Sometimes the cost is extremely high, as they charge around €8.00 (euros) or £6.00 (British pounds) per kilo (or 2.2 pounds)."
  • Cross-Packing - "If traveling with another person, you may want to put a couple of changes of clothes in each other's checked bag in case one of your checked bags is misplaced or lost by the airlines," recommends Sue Tindell, CTC (Travel Leaders, Rice Lake, WI).
  • Curious Case of the Washcloth - "European hotels don't always provide washcloths, so for travelers who can't do without, they should bring their own," advises Lyons. Bee Vermeersch (Travel Leaders, Marietta, GA) adds, "Take a washcloth and a zip-top bag to carry it when damp - they are often not provided by hotels outside of North America."
  • Extra Comfort - "Bring little Kleenex packs that easily fit in your fanny pack to use as toilet paper," advises Lori Dreisbach (Travel Leaders, Irvine, CA).
  • Valuables - It's always advisable to keep anything of value like jewelry, as well as medicines, in your carry-on luggage. Tindell adds, "Be sure cameras and film are placed in your carry-on when flying."

Preparing to Leave
Before you leave, a few calls are in order to ensure you have complete and uninterrupted access to the ATM and credit cards you're carrying with you. There's also nothing worse than losing your wallet or purse with all your important papers, credit cards and ATM cards. Travel Leaders offer the preventative measures they take in advance of leaving.

  • Advance Notice - "Notify your bank and major credit card companies that you will be leaving the country so they do not put a stop on your ATM or credit cards because of 'unusual' activity," Tindell recommends. Vermeersch agrees, adding, "Verify with your bank that your ATM card will work when you travel abroad."
  • Making Copies - "Make a copy of your passport and place that copy in your suitcase or scan your passport and e-mail the attachment to your own e-mail account," Tindell advises. "If you lose your passport, you can go to an Internet café, open your e-mail and print the copy of your passport. Also, scan both sides of your credit card and e-mail the attachment to your own e-mail account just like you did for your passport." Pam Edwartoski (Travel Leaders, Troy, MI) agrees, adding, "Everyone has access to e-mail in today's world, and it will allow you access to anywhere you go! I also carry a copy."

When your journey includes us, you travel better. To find the Travel Leaders location nearest you, go to http://www.travelleaders.com or call 1.888.206.TRIP (8747).

Travel Leaders is transforming travel with a new name that boldly embodies our commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via a progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Having already assisted millions of travelers, our strong roots - through our beginnings as Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates (which itself began as Ask Mr. Foster, North America's first travel agency network established in 1888), TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group - have now joined together to form one of the industry's fastest-growing and robust networks of travel agents.

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