Travel Information & Resources
Important Note: Information below is for reference purposes only and should be confirmed prior to your trip. Some information provided by third party sources and may not be up to date.
IMPORTANT TRAVEL NOTICE:
New TSA regulations require that passports be valid for at least six (6) months beyond travel dates. If your passport is set to expire prior to six months from your return date, you must renew it prior to travel.
For expedited passport services, please visit http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/services/expedited.html or your local passport office.
Baggage Information by Airline
IMPORTANT: Now that many airlines have made changes to their baggage allowances, and may charge per checked bag, please visit the airline’s website for the most up-to-date restrictions. All-inclusive packages do not include airline incidentals, such as baggage charges, carryon charges, on-board purchases, etc. If your airline is not listed, or if the link no longer functions, please see the airline’s website directly. We cannot be responsible for extra charges or denied boarding associated with baggage issues. Please note that if you are flying a charter (even using one of the carriers below), baggage charges/allowances will be different, so please contact your Travel Consultant for details.
New: Pre-purchase your Dominican Republic Tourist Card
The Tourist Card is valid for a year from the date of purchase and is only valid for one person, who will only be able to use it once. The Tourist Card can be acquired at point of sale locations in land, air, or sea ports in the country; it is also available in Dominican embassies and consulate offices overseas and in Tour operating companies. It may now also be purchased through the online portal.
Using Cash in Mexico
With the objective of limiting and controlling the movement of American dollars within Mexico, the Mexican Government recently passed a new law which comes into force across the country on 14th September 2010, making the use of American dollars cash to make purchases in Mexico will not be as free as it has been in the past. Many repeat guests to Mexico who have become accustomed to using American cash in Mexico as though they were effectively in the United States will notice the difference. Other payment methods such as Credit Cards of all types and all issuing banks, Travellers Checks, Mexican Pesos and non-American Dollars foreign currencies in cash (Euros or Canadian Dollars) are not affected in any way by this new law.
The most noticeable differences to travelers will be:
1. Hotels and Exchange Booths will only be able to change a maximum of $1,500 USD CASH per person per month into Mexican Pesos. Previously there was no limit.
2. Businesses (transportation and excursion companies) will only be able to accept a maximum of $100 USD CASH per transaction – but the number of transactions per customer are not restricted.
3. Certain businesses may not be able to, or may choose not to accept American Dollars CASH for any purchase at all (this may include shops etc)
If a customer wants to purchase from an on-site excursion company (for example) a tour worth $139 US per person, he will only be able to pay $100 USD of this amount in USD CASH and the remainder will need to be in another form of payment (credit card, Mexican Pesos cash, etc).
Appropriate advice would be to inform travelers that they should not carry large amounts of American Dollars cash with them to Mexico, but instead they should consider either using a Credit Card, taking Mexican Pesos cash, taking Travellers Checks (of any currency) or withdrawing money locally in Mexican Pesos. Local tipping in small bills is still widely accepted, and Berwick Travel recommends charging any in-resort purchases (gift shop, spa, etc.) to the room, which would then be paid by credit card.
Requirements for Travelers Between the United States and the Western Hemisphere
All persons (even infants) traveling by air outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.
Requirements for minors traveling to the Dominican Republic:
The Dominican Republic no longer requires a permit or a notarized letter for minors who are United States nationals or Canadian nationals. Anyone under 18 on the day of departure will be denied boarding if not accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Requirements for minors traveling to Mexico:
Mexico no longer requires a notarized letter from the non-accompanying parent(s) for minors under 18. Anyone under 18 on the day of departure will be denied boarding if not accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Berwick Travel still recommends obtaining a notarized letter from the absent parent(s) giving permission to travel to avoid any delays or issues.
For more information, click here.
What to Do if You Lose Your Photo ID, and More
It’s the headache you’ll remember the rest of your life: You’ve flown somewhere for business or pleasure, but midway through your trip, your identification gets lost or stolen. What do you do?
To some extent, the answer depends on whether you are in Berkeley or Bucharest. But no matter where you are, it is important to take action the moment you discover your ID is missing, whether it’s your driver’s license or your passport, because it could take some time to get the matter straightened out.
What follows are specific instructions and tips regarding both scenarios. Print this out and take it with you, or bookmark this column for future reference. It’s good information to have on hand — just pray you never have to use it.
Losing your ID while traveling outside the country presents a completely different set of issues and problems than you’d face if you lost it within the confines of the United States. Follow these steps to make recovery as painless as possible.
Find the nearest consulate or embassy. Once you learn your passport is missing, immediately contact the nearest consulate or embassy. (The Department of State’s Web site has a comprehensive list.)
Know the hotline numbers. If you don’t have the list or can’t get to the consulate, contact the Department of State’s Overseas Citizens Service. From outside the U.S., dial 1-317-472-2328. If you are in the U.S. trying to assist a family member who is traveling abroad, call 1-888-407-4747 toll free for assistance.
Prove your identity. During an interview with a consular officer you will be asked to provide basic personal info, as well as your passport number and date and place of issue, if possible. You will need to supply the names of identifying witnesses at home and abroad; if you are traveling with others, they can be asked to vouch for your identity. In certain circumstances, you might need to have someone back home fax copies of identifying documents, such as a birth certificate, to the consulate. For this reason, it is a good idea to leave copies of these documents with family or friends. If there are no unusual circumstances, this part of the process goes very quickly.
Reapply. Once your identity has been verified, you’ll have to fill out a new passport application, as well as an affidavit regarding the loss/theft of your old passport. If you believe your passport was stolen, you might have to file a local police report.
Pay the fee. Your replacement passport will cost at least $85 (an additional $60 expediting fee may be assessed as well), but it will be valid for the usual 10 years. If you lost your credit cards and cash along with your passport and have no way to pay, you’ll be issued a temporary passport for free just to get you home.
Accept a conditional passport. If the Department of State has lingering doubts as to your identity but is satisfied enough to let you back into the country, they’ll issue you a conditional passport. Once you get home and can provide them with the proper documentation, you can have the passport validated for the full 10 years.
Bottom line: Always carry a photocopy of your passport. Always. It’s the next best thing to having your actual passport. But don’t carry it with your passport or with any other travel documents — put it at the bottom of your suitcase and leave it there. But even that might get misplaced, so as a backup consider scanning your passport and downloading the file onto your laptop or other digital storage device, such as an Apple iPod. If you don’t travel with a laptop or an iPod, email the scanned image to yourself (both as an attachment and inserted into the body of the email) and let it sit in your inbox unopened. Either way, you’ll be able to print out a copy of your passport from your hotel’s business center, an internet caf?, or any other location that has Web access and a printer. (Use the same trick for your driver’s license when traveling domestically.) For more on what to expect if you’ve lost your passport, visit the Department of State’s Web site.
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