Archive for Travel Tips

Is Travel Protection Worth the Cost? 15 Aug 2019

Not really clear about the benefits and if buying travel protection coverage is worth it? The primary benefit is to cover medical emergencies while traveling abroad including doctor and hospital costs – even emergency dental costs, and medical evacuation costs to receive appropriate care.  These costs can even exceed the cost of your trip as they are often not covered by your medical plan at home (and not by Medicare).  Can you afford to lose the cost of your trip if something arises that causes you to cancel your trip or return home early – perhaps to attend to an ill or injured family member back home?  Trip Cost Reimbursement and Interruption is the other primary benefit of travel insurance. Numerous other benefits such as compensation and assistance for a delayed flight, delayed or lost baggage, assistance with finding suitable medical care, language translation and re-scheduling your return flights are all very helpful when something disrupts your travel plans.
Gateway Destinations works with several highly-rated companies to provide the best coverage at affordable prices – call us to find out more.
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Rush Passport Service 15 Jul 2019

Running out of time to renew your passport before your trip?  The Department of State is currently taking about eight weeks to process an application through the normal channels. There are several US passport offices that will process passport applications or renewals on a rush basis – call 1-877-487-2778.  You will need to show proof of travel plans; a Western Region office is located in Tucson.  More information can be obtained at:  US Passports in a Hurry.
Alternatively, FedEx has teamed up with RushMyPassport to process new applications or renewals on an expedited basis. This service comes with a hefty price tag but is convenient – stop by any FedEx office.  You can also have your passport photos taken there
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Tipping in Europe 15 May 2019

I am often asked how one should tip while traveling in Europe. The short answer is tips for service are not expected like they are in the U.S.  The locals complain that Americans over tip and spoil the system for them!
  • Restaurants:  A few coins for a simple lunch (normally less than 10%); 5 – 10% of your bill for a nice dinner with very good service and NO tip for just a quick coffee!  (Don’t automatically calculate 15 – 20% of your bill as servers earn a good salary and “service” is often included in your bill in most EU countries).
  • Taxi:  Round up to the nearest Euro
  • Private Transfers:  5 to 15 Euros for a private transfer (up to 4 passengers; more than 1 hour)
  • Private Guided Tours: 10 Euros per person for a Half Day and 20 – 25 Euros per person for a Full Day guided tour as these are professional, often licensed individuals so a reasonable tip is warranted when good service is provided (more if you are traveling solo). Group tours (not private) would be less.
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When Should I Renew My Passport? 15 Apr 2019

Many countries require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond your last travel date. Due to the recent government shutdown, processing of renewal and new passports is taking longer than normal so allow plenty of time in consideration of upcoming foreign travel. This website link will get you started in the process: Passport Application

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Pre-Registration for European Travel is Coming! 15 Mar 2019

To improve security and illegal immigration, the European Union (consisting of 26 countries) has voted to require travelers from Visa-free nations (such as the U.S.) to register their travel before entering the country beginning in 2021. Technically not a Visa, it functions as one, but can be easily obtained online for a small fee.  Once approved (usually instantly), access is granted for 3 years.  Watch for more information as this date draws near.

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