Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about travel planning, booking and taking trips. Click on a question to get the answer from Tour Travel Guide.
General Travel FAQs
Travel Safety Advice: In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorists attacks, airport and airline procedures have been implemented to ensure passenger safety. Following are the latest guidelines to help ensure air travel safety and efficient airport check-in.
- Arrive at the airport a minimum of 2 hours before scheduled flight departure for domestic flights (3 hours for international flights).
- It is recommended that all passengers check in at the airline ticket counters.
- Be prepared to check your luggage at the ticket counter. Curbside check-in may not be available for your airport or airline.
- Under new FAA rules, all airline passengers are limited to one carry-on bag per person, plus one additional personal item, such as a briefcase, laptop, or purse.
- All passengers must have a government-issued photo ID.
- Security checkpoints require proof of travel. Travelers must present either a paper ticket or proof of e-ticketing (see below), along with proper identification.
- Individuals without a ticket will not be allowed beyond the security checkpoint. Provisions will be made for parents who need to meet unaccompanied minors, for disabled people and those with special requirements who need to be accompanied by health care assistants or guardians, and for medical personnel who need to respond to a medical emergency beyond the checkpoint.
- Ask your AAA travel counselor to get you information about the medical facilities on board your cruise ship or in the cities you will be visiting if you have special health needs that might require attention during your travel.
- If you have an existing medical condition, have your physician write a letter explaining the condition, treatment or procedures for you to follow and carry it with you at all times.
- Pack an extra pair of prescription eyeglasses and/or contact lenses, all prescription medications, the instructions and dosage amounts. Take a copy of your prescriptions too in case you need to replace the medication along the way.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Use plenty of sunscreen and wear a hat.
- If you need special accommodations for physical disabilities, have your AAA travel counselor contact the hotel, airline, tour operator or cruise line well in advance of your travel date to arrange the services and accommodations you require.
Passengers should call the airline in advance. Within certain guidelines, the airlines will determine what ticket documentation (tickets, boarding passes or reservation confirmations) their screeners will allow. Requirements may vary by airline, so passengers should check with the airline in advance if they are holding an electronic ticket.
What’s the best way to deal with money matters while traveling?
In most major cities in India and abroad, you can use your ATM card just as you do at home (if it is part of one of the major networks) to obtain cash in the local currency. Check with your bank to see where you can use your card and what fees are charged.
Carry only the debit and credit cards you will use on vacation. Canceling lost or stolen cards is sometimes difficult and often inconvenient when you are on vacation.
I’m leaving on my trip tomorrow. How can I cut down on hassles at the airport?
The volume of traffic, plus security and check-in procedures at all major airports, adds to the time you need before your flights. Plan to arrive at the airport at least an hour and a half before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
Many airlines require verification that the person checking in is the person to whom the ticket was issued. Carry at least one government-issued photo I.D. such as a driver’s license or passport. A second photo I.D. is required in some airports.
What can I do to make sure my luggage arrives with me at my destination?
When checking bags in at the airport, be sure the airline agent tags them with the correct city code for your destination. And keep the receipts from those tags in a safe place. You will need them to identify your luggage in baggage claim, and you will especially need them if your baggage is delayed or lost. Mark all your luggage with your name and address (use your business address if possible). Put personal I.D. inside your bags, too – sometimes baggage tags get torn off during handling.
In addition, always pack what you will need for one day (underwear, a change of clothes, toiletries, an extra pair of eyeglasses) plus any prescription medications you must have in your carry-on bag and take it with you on the plane. That way if your checked luggage is lost or delayed, you’ll still have your essentials.
When I’m traveling, I always have a problem with my clothes being wrinkled when I pull them out of my suitcase. How do I prevent them from getting so wrinkled?
Put your travel clothes on hangers and wrap them individually in dry cleaners’ plastic bags before you pack them. The plastic bags minimize wrinkles, which is why dry cleaners use them.
I’m worried about becoming a crime victim in some strange city. How can I keep myself safe during a trip?
Use dead bolts and other locks when you are in your hotel room or cruise cabin, and never leave room or cabin keys lying about when you are outside. Drop your keys off at the front desk before you leave for sightseeing, shopping, etc.
Put extra cash, airline tickets and valuables in your room safe, the hotel’s safe deposit boxes or in your cruise ship’s deposit boxes. And leave your expensive jewelry and watches at home.
When you head out to explore on your own, follow the advice of cruise personnel, tour guides or hotel staff when they tell you which areas of town to avoid and what special precautions to take when driving or walking.
Finally, consider purchasing travel insurance that covers interrupted travel, trip cancellation and medical emergencies.
What steps should I take to protect my health while traveling?
First of all, make sure you’re healthy before you go. Have medical and dental checkups just prior to departure to head off potential problems. Then, consider these precautions:
I’m traveling out of the country and would like some quick money advice so I can be sure I’m prepared for my travels.
Bring a small amount of local money with you in case currency exchanges are closed when you arrive. You can usually order foreign currencies from banks, but it may take a few days if it’s not a major currency. International airports can usually exchange money while you wait.
Pick up some convenient fee-free American Express Travelers Cheques. Then make two photocopies of your travelers check and credit cards serial numbers. Carry one set in a secure place separate from the originals. Leave the other with someone you can reach in an emergency.
If you need to have money sent to you while overseas, use Travelers Express. Charge variable fees depending on the amount sent.
I want to rent a car and drive while I am traveling overseas. Are there international road signs I should become familiar with?
Many countries use a system of international road signs that rely on icons or graphic designs to communicate their message. That way you can understand the signs even if you don’t speak the local language. We’ve gathered examples of common road signs you might encounter if you drive in foreign countries.
Are there special precautions I should take for international travel?
When traveling to a foreign country, always consult your travel counsellor regarding required travel documentation such as passports, visas and tourist cards. It is a good idea to always carry proof of citizenship, preferably a passport.
Pack a photocopy of your passport separately from the original. This will expedite getting a replacement if your passport is lost or stolen.
Will I be able to use my ATM card when I travel abroad?
If your ATM card is linked to the Plus or Cirrus systems, you can use it to get cash in several dozen countries abroad. The biggest advantage of exchanging money with an ATM card is that all cash withdrawals are exchanged on the interbank exchange rate. Check with your bank, however, before using an ATM card abroad; some banks add higher transaction fees for overseas use. If you do make cash withdrawals, we recommend you keep them small, and avoid using ATM machines at night. If you plan to rely on your ATM card for transactions overseas, make sure Cirrus or Plus networks are available where you’re going. Many ATMs abroad do not accept PINs longer than four digits. If yours is longer, you may need to change it locally before you leave.