Traveling abroad is an exhilarating experience that broadens horizons, deepens cultural understanding, and creates memories that last a lifetime. But for that dream trip to become a reality, proper documentation is paramount. Just like a foundation to a house, having the right paperwork in order ensures a smooth and stress-free journey, free from unexpected hiccups at the border or during your stay. These Travel Tips are here to ensure you have everything in place to have a successful travel.

So many sites and blogs have great lists of packing, travel, mapping and even booking suggestions to offer.  The internet is a vast wealth of travel knowledge in many regards.  That said, there are some specific travel suggestions that cannot be stated enough, and some aren’t stated at all.  We’ve asked our dedicated operations team and Sales department for travel tips that would solve the most common problems they run into while assisting travelers’ book, enjoy and return from travel and tours:

Passport Name Match

By far, the biggest issue with international travel is to ensure that when booking travel, the name on your passport must match the name on the booking. While this may sound trivial, it can be the cause of so many holdups when readying to depart.

Often, when calling to book the tour, customers won’t have their passport or other documentation on them and will give their best guess.  There are many reasons for this.  They could be away from the house when calling, or they may have ordered a new passport and not received it yet; the issue remains the same no matter the reason.  Without booking information matching the passport, international travel is almost always gummed up. For this reason, it is imperative to always ensure that when booking your travel, do so with your passport in hand, or with a copy of your application form.

So, what exactly does “proper documentation” entail? Here’s a breakdown of the essentials:

1. Passport: This is your ticket to the world, a document that verifies your identity and nationality. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended travel dates and has sufficient blank pages for entry and exit stamps.

2. Visa: Depending on your destination and nationality, you might need a visa, which grants you permission to enter and stay in a specific country for a defined period. Research visa requirements well in advance, as application processes can vary in complexity and duration.

3. Travel Insurance: This is your safety net in case of unforeseen circumstances like medical emergencies, lost luggage, or trip cancellation. Choose a plan that aligns with your itinerary and health needs, and ensure it covers activities you plan to do, like adventure sports.

4. Proof of Onward Travel: Some immigration officials might ask for evidence of your departure from the country, like a return flight ticket or onward travel booking confirmation. This helps ensure you’re not planning to overstay your welcome.

5. Vaccination Records: Certain countries require vaccinations against specific diseases like yellow fever or polio. Carry your vaccination booklet as proof of compliance and consult your doctor for any recommended vaccinations well before your trip.

6. International Driving Permit (IDP): If you plan to rent a car abroad, an IDP translates your driver’s license into multiple languages, making it recognizable by local authorities. Apply for one through your national automobile association. A quick trip to any AAA office can save a lot of heartache by ensuring your internationally recognized as a licensed driver.

7. Accommodation Booking Confirmations: Having confirmations for your hotel, hostel, or other reservations demonstrates a planned itinerary and helps immigration officials understand your travel purpose. In most cases, our tour operation managers will have this populated for you.

Beyond the Essentials:

In addition to these core documents, consider these valuable extras:

  • Photocopies of key documents: Keep photocopies of your passport, visa, and travel insurance separately from the originals, in case of loss or theft.
  • Passport-sized photos: These might be handy for visa applications on arrival, unexpected document replacements, or local SIM card purchases.
  • Local currency: Having some cash in the local currency eases arrival and avoids scrambling for ATMs upon landing.
  • Emergency contact information: Write down important contact numbers, including your embassy, insurance provider, and emergency back-home contacts.

Remember: Documentation requirements will be part of the checklist sent to you by your tour management team.  Be sure to read and verify that you have all portions ready for your travel.

By investing time and effort into proper documentation, you transform the border crossing from a potential hurdle into a smooth steppingstone towards an unforgettable adventure. So, pack your bags, gather your paperwork, and get ready to embark on a journey filled with wonder, not worry!

Read Your Documents

Every tour, trip or cruise that is scheduled through Mayflower or any other reputable tour company will be accompanied by documentation meant to ensure you a, informed, safe and enjoyable travel.  It is highly suggested to read all of these documents and maintain them to ensure that you are away of the timelines, responsibilities and options available to you.

While rare, travel holdups can often be attributed to small details missed within documentation hat explains where, when and how to prepare for departure. These documents are meant to ensure that you are informed with all pertinent information about your travel, and a result, you should read them in entirety.

Be Reachable

This one seems like it should go without saying, but in the rare mishaps that have happened, a lack of communication was what compounded matters. Our call center makes it a point to reach out to our patrons in advance of every trip.  Even to the point of being picked up for ground transportation, keep your phone on just in case.

Additionally, charge all communication devices well in advance of the time you are prepping to travel.  This is just good practice to ensure that you don’t have last minute battery or device issues that make communication problematic.

An example would be a situation where one of our travelers almost missed her pickup because she decided to turn off her phone to save power on it, and then went to the wrong pickup point. Obviously, this is a situation that also highlights the need to read all documents to know the pickup area in advance, but more importantly, having her phone off made it very difficult to find out where she was. Fortunately, our team was able to track down her location to ensure she didn’t miss her tour, but it was a situation that could have been made so much simpler and safer with her phone being on.

Have Good Emergency Contacts

Even on vacation or holiday, life can happen.  The ability to contact your loved ones or emergency contacts can make all the difference in a situation being remedied or disaster.  In the case of the customer in the last section.  Her sister was her emergency contact and was able to be reached to help locate her.  Because of that contact option, she was reached and was able to meet with her ground transportation official.  Without that contact, and with her phone disabled, she would have certainly missed her tour.

There are also many occasions where our International Operations Team have needed to coordinate with travelers abroad.  The team mans a phone 24/7 just to ensure that someone is there if needed, so proper emergency contacts are essential in the unlikely situation they are needed.

No matter whether you’re going, on an overnight jaunt or a month-long international journey, it’s always a good idea to let friends or family back home know. Before you leave, send a copy of your itinerary to a few trusted people who can keep tabs on your whereabouts. Check in regularly with your contacts so they know you’re where you’re supposed to be.

Exchange Currencies Before Leaving

There are a myriad of reasons to exchange currency before departing, but the biggest is to avoid paying exorbitant transfer fees.  Whether exchanging in the host nation or at airports, there will almost certainly be a premium to be paid. In most cases, your local bank or credit union can conduct the exchange or direct you to the most cost efficient exchange option near you. Here is also a list of great suggestions concerning exchange practices.

Travel Tips Aside Have Fun

All of these measures are in place to ensure that your tour is a memorable, impacting and Life Enriching Experiences.  The step taken before your trip can ensure that it is both safe and enjoyable.  Taking stock and ensuring all is in place before you leave will ensure that you don’t need worry about it while you are traveling.