Travel Vacations Travel Resources & Tips

Helpful Tips before you travel from Travel Vacations Travel Agency!

 

1. Check in for International Flights is 2 hours prior. Domestic is 1.5 hours prior

2. If at all possible, print your boarding passes 24 hours prior to departure. Despite being booked on a flight and having seat assignments, if you don’t have your boarding passes printed, you could be bumped if the airlines overbooks their flights.

3. Honeymooners! Please bring your marriage certificate to present at hotel check in. Maybe you can try and get an upgrade. No guarantees.

4. If you are celebrating any special occasions, have any medical or special dietary needs- please let us know. We will want to inform the cruise line, airline or hotel. For special occasions, you may receive special amenities or perks. Plan on bringing proof of marriage or birthday.

5. Special Requests are NOT guaranteed. Any special requests on your reservation that is not specifically guaranteed in the name of your room category or ship cabin number, is not guaranteed. i.e. Specific Bedding, smoking, non smoking, top floor, near “John and Jane Doe’s room” etc.

6. SANDALS & BEACHES RESORT GUESTS ONLY –

  • Honeymooners: Please email a copy of your Wedding Invitation or Marriage Certificate to honeymoons@uvi.sandals.com to receive special amenities at the hotel.
  • Also, be sure to sign up for Sandals Signature Guest Program when you return. Doing it online when you return will bring you more savings in the future…. rather than signing up at the hotel. You get less money off your next trip if you sign up at the hotel! Restrictions apply and we can discuss details later. I’ll send you the information on this program when you return. –
  • Consider purchasing prior to departure the following…as these book up very fast….. Private Candlelight dinners, Spa treatments, Sesame Street Character breakfasts, and tours. Ask your travel agent for more details, we can easily book those for you.
  • Are you booked in a BUTLER category? Be sure to register your butler preferences online http://www.sandals.com/butler/ Remember, Gratuity is not included with your butler.
  • If at anytime during your stay, you have an issue that needs to be resolved, please ask for the DIRECTOR OF GUEST SERVICES AT YOUR HOTEL
  • HOTEL ROOMS ARE NON SMOKING! They could possibly charge you up to 600.00 if you are caught smoking in your rooms.
  • Check in is at 3pm and Check out is at 11am.
  • SANDALS New Honeymoon program which will acknowledge Honeymoon guests and enhance their Sandals & Beaches experience. -On arrival, all honeymoon couples will receive a bottle of chilled champagne with glasses elegantly arranged in an ice bucket. A hand written note from the General Manager will accompany this gift.
  • On their first night, the turndown service will include flower petals on their bed.
  • On one morning during their stay, each honeymoon couple will receive breakfast in bed served with a hand written note from the General Manager. To ensure that you receive this special acknowledgement and service, guests must register online at least 4 days prior to travel and show proof of their marriage. This new program began October 8, 2007 and is available to all honeymoon guests, regardless of length of stay or room category, pending online registration and proof of marriage. Honeymoon guests will be asked to fax a copy of their marriage certificate to the resort prior to travel for validation purposes.
  • SANDALS & BEACHES GUESTS: Registering online is easy! If you are paid in full, go ahead and do the online Check In please- To be completed at least 4 days prior to arrival Registering online makes check-in faster for the guests and it informs the resort if the guests are celebrating a wedding, honeymoon, anniversary or birthday.
  • Go to http://www.sandals.com or http://www.beaches.com   Click on the “Online Check-In” link on the top right of the homepage.  -Fill in appropriate information and submit!

7. We recommend as soon as you arrive at the hotel or on your cruise ship to make your dinner reservations for the week. Some dining areas, menu items, or restaurants may require reservations or surcharges. Times get booked up fast!  Make sure you are aware of any dress codes at the restaurants you wish to dine at.  Ask your travel agent for more detail or it’s listed on the hotels website. If you want to try to make dinner reservations prior to departure, please let us know and we can try to make arrangements for you. This is not applicable to cruises. Not all resorts allow dinner reservations in advance…i.e. Sandals & Beaches Resorts.

8. Always bring bug spray and any medications you may require. i.e. Anti-itch, benadryl, first aid kit, pain relievers etc and motion sickness medication. MOSQUITOS and “No See’ems” are very prevalent in the Caribbean and Mexico.

9. Consider looking up tour prices and spa prices PRIOR to arriving at the hotel so there is no “sticker shock” Some resorts/islands have very expensive excursions.

10. Try to attend ANY orientation tours on your cruise ship or at the hotel so you can get maximum usage while on your trip of restaurants, facilities, and amenities.

11. Be very cautious about any deals that are offered AT THE RESORTS in order to view their 90 min. presentations of sorts. Time share selling is very big in Mexico for example. So be careful of the hard sales pitches!

12. MEXICO- Please avoid eating or drinking anything that does not come out of a bottle or a can. Water is generally safe at hotels. But I always recommend only eating fruit you can peel yourself and stay away from the ice. Remember, that time share sellers are very pushy in Mexico and at resorts. Be careful of those that push presentations or offer you anything complimentary to entice you to attend. This is also a destination to really shop around before you buy and definitely negotiate prices. Prices for tours and silver vary greatly between hotel and outside vendors.

13.  Minors: Mexican law requires that any non-Mexican citizen under the age of 18 departing Mexico must carry notarized written permission from any parent or guardian not traveling with the child to or from Mexico.  This permission must include the name of the parent, the name of the child, the name of anyone traveling with the child, and the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s).  The State Department recommends that the permission should include travel dates, destinations, airlines and a brief summary of the circumstances surrounding the travel.  The child must be carrying the original letter – not a facsimile or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate or court document) – and an original custody decree, if applicable.  Travelers should contact the Mexican Embassy or closest Mexican Consulate for current information.

14. CLOTHING: Some destinations it is ILLEGAL to wear camouflage clothing. You will be arrested. This is particularly enforced in St Lucia and Barbados. To avoid any potential issues while on your trip and any government changing their laws to enforce this as well, DON’T PACK CAMOUFLAGE.

15. Book any tours or shore excursions prior to your departure, as they book up fast….that is if your particular hotel allows it.

16. Contact your medical insurance provider to find out if you have coverage out of the country. Same with your car insurance if you are renting a car. Finding out your medical coverage overseas is extremely important when traveling with kids.

17. DO NOT WAIT TILL THE LAST MINUTE TO GET YOUR PASSPORT OUT. WE HAVE HAD MANY PEOPLE NOT BE ABLE TO FIND THEIR PASSPORTS A FEW DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE AND HAVE LOST OUT ON SIGNFICANT MONEY.  CHANGE FEES AND INCREASE IN FARES ARE VERY HIGH LAST MINUTE AND SOMETIMES CAN OR CANNOT BE DONE. Leave a copy of your passports and/or visas at home with a friend or relative and also a copy in your suitcase.

18. Please make sure name and address are clearly labeled on the outside and inside of your checked luggage

19. Be prepared to provide a cash deposit at the hotel if you do not have a valid credit card to provide at cruise or hotel check in. Ask your agent for more details if this is a concern. Generally, most hotels will require on average $250.00.

20. Go to www.cdc.gov for additional health warnings to your destination. i.e. Malaria http://www.cdc.gov/travel/regionalmalaria/caribean.htm . Some destinations they recommend malaria treatments prior to arrival. i.e. Dominican Republic.

21. Please review the ENTRY & EXIT Requirements of the country you are visiting. This is great information published by the US Government. This must be reviewed prior to departing the US. http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.html

22. Please make yourself aware of what you are ALLOWED to bring on the plane based on the new security requirements. Also, most airlines allow you to check 1 bag and carry on 1. The checked bags generally cannot exceed 50 pounds each. For more accurate detailed information contact your travel agent or go to the airlines website.  Check out FREE BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE www.aa.com, www.nwa.com www.airjamaica.com www.continental.com www.delta.com www.usair.com . Airlines rules on baggage are subject to change without ample prior notice to us. PLEASE GO TO THE AIRLINE WEBSITE FOR MOST CURRENT INFO OR ASK YOUR AGENT!

23. If you do not have seat assignments..please consider the following. The airlines hold several seats aside for airport check in only..i.e bulk, exit, preferred seating. They are doing more of this than ever before. They are allowing these seats, if available, to be purchased within 24 hours prior to departure for an average cost of $15.00 per seat. Once your flights are held with us, we make every effort to secure seat assignments for your party whether they are together ( 1st priority) or not together ( last priority) …if the flight is overbooked ( airlines do this often) you could be bumped and unable to board that plane. So seat assignments are critical and if at all possible, avoid waiting till day of departure at airport to get them.

24. CHECK IN ONLINE- there are many benefits to going to the airlines website and checking in for your flights. Securing boarding passes ahead of time, seat assignments, and bonus miles are just a few. Here are a few common sites  www.nwa.com, www.aa.com, www.delta.com

25. Please reconfirm your flights with the airline direct starting 72 hours prior and up to day of departure FOR THE DEPARTURE and RETURN of your trip, for any last minute schedule changes that we don’t get notified on!!!!!!. You can do it online or call them. The hotel can provide the local number to the airlines while out of the country.  WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU WHEN YOU RECONFIRM YOUR FLIGHTS WITH THE AIRLINES DIRECT, THAT YOU PROVIDE THE AIRLINES WITH YOUR OWN EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER FOR ANY LAST MINUTE SCHEDULE CHANGES. THIS WAY THEY WILL CONTACT YOU DIRECT INSTEAD OF THE SUPPLIER.

26. If the hotel or transfer company has told you your flight is anything different that what is printed and suggests they pick you up later, call the airlines yourself to double check. International check in can be anywhere from 2.5-3hours prior so make sure you get to the airport on time and are aware of the time it takes to get from your hotel to the airport.

27. If you booked your air on your own, it is the client’s responsibility to notify us or the hotel regarding schedule changes so your airport transfers are not affected. Sometimes schedule changes happen after your travel documents have been printed!

28. Airport CHECK IN- please check in a minimum of 2.5 hours prior for international and 2 hours for domestic. However, some destinations may require earlier check in.  Please make yourself aware of the free baggage allowance and carry on policy of the airline you are traveling on.. Go to www.nwa.com www.aa.com www.delta.com or your select carriers website.  VISIT www.tsa.gov for updates to security guidelines.

29. Also read, http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/threat-change.shtmfor what you are allowed to bring on-board your flight.

30. AIRPORT TRANSFERS & CRUISE BAGGAGE HANDLERS:  The airport transfer company is not part of your hotel/cruise package usually. It’s customary to tip the transfer person and the CRUISE LINE BAGGAGE handlers about $1.00- $2.00  per bag. Please make sure you reconfirm your flight with the airlines direct while on vacation so that you are not late and miss your return flight home as there can be last minute changes. If you decide to use a porter at the airport to help you with your bags to your transfer, they work for tips. 

31. Don't forget your proper documentation required to travel outside the United States. Even though these details have already been discussed with you, if you have any questions, please call or email your travel consultant. Passports required for all travel outside the United States. Your name on your travel documents must match your government issued passport first and last names. Passports must have up to 10 months validity left from last day of trip. All minors including infants must have passports. Travel vacations will not be held responsible for improper proof of citizenship when leaving the country. For additional information on proper documentation, please visit www.travel.state.gov

32. Any MINOR Under the age of 18 not traveling with BOTH legal parents are required to carry on their trip a notarized letter from the NON traveling parent stating permission to leave the country with the other legal parent. All details of trip should be stated in the letter.

33. Some destinations including, but not limited to Antigua, Turks & Caicos, Costa Rica, Curacao and St Lucia require you to pay a departure tax of $20-35pp at the airport upon your return home. Please have this cash available when departing back for the US. This amount can change without prior notice to us.

34. Bring a carry on bag with all your necessities and valuables in case your bags are delayed or your room is not available upon arrival at hotel.. NEVER PACK VALUABLES in your checked baggage. Check in time at most hotels is not until 3pm. Make sure you are aware of your free baggage allowance on the plane, cruise ship, bus, or train service. Always keep identification of your address and phone number on the outside of your checked and carry on baggage and also inside should it accidentally get torn off.

35. TRIP INSURANCE- it may not be too late to purchase!! Generally, you can purchase up to 72 hours prior.  We believe that your upcoming trip is a significant investment which you should cover. For this reason, we strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance. If you have chosen to decline this valuable protection, you are assuming any financial loss associated with your travel arrangements. For more information please speak to your travel agent or go to www.travelvacations.net . Information on insurance has been emailed to you already. Please discuss insurance details with your agent before you decide against it so that you fully understand what insurance is for and covers.

o TravelVacations does NOT provide 24 hour emergency travel assistance. In order to receive this, you must purchase insurance. The 24 EMERGENCY TRAVEL ASSISTANCE phone number to call after hours is included in your detailed explanation of benefits of insurance. Some tour operators include their own 24 hour emergency travel assistance number as well. This is located within your travel documents. Our normal hours are MON-FRI 9a-5pm CST and closed on the weekends and some holidays. Always take a copy of your insurance explanation of benefits and the toll free number that can be used within and outside the United States with you when you depart for your trip.

36. If you ever have a problem while at the hotel or on the cruise with service, your accommodations, or amenities, etc…please speak to the General Manager of the resort/cruise ship or the front desk to try and resolve it then. Don’t forget, if you have insurance, there is a 24 hour assistance hotline. Also, in your travel documents there is a USUALLY a local destination representative that can assist you, number is provided. ( Depends on your package) Generally, an amicable resolution to the problem can be made when addressed at the resort. After you return, if still needed, we can follow up with the hotel and/or cruise line to try and resolve. That can take from 2-6 weeks depending on supplier.

37. CRUISERS: Make sure you pre-register online with the cruise line you are cruising on. Here are a few common cruise line websites. Visit www.princess.com, www.carnival.com, www.rccl.com, www.ncl.com. This will SIGNIFICANTLY speed up check in at the pier…which can be a madhouse. Some cruise lines it IS REQUIRED. Read cruise documents carefully as the instructions are found inside your travel documents.

The Department of Transportation has issued specific policies effective immediately on the disclosure of fees for checked baggage. Please refer to this list for a summary of each carrier’s policies. Click on the link to go to the carriers’ website for full detailed information. THESE POLICIES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please click on the airlines website for the most up to date information.

• Air Canada http://www.aircanada.com/en/news/080425.html?src=hp_wn

• Alaska Airlines http://www.alaskaair.com/as/www2/help/faqs/CheckedBaggage.asp

• American Airlines Updated Checked Bag Policies www.aa.com

• Delta Airlines http://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/baggage/baggage_allowance/index.jsp#checked

• Spirit Airlines https://www.spiritair.com/welcome.aspx?pg=SalesInformation&number=334

• United Airlines http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,52481,00.html

• Us Airways http://www.usairways.com/awa/content/traveltools/baggage/baggagepolicies.aspx

The information listed within this website is only to be used as a guide. This information is subject to change at any time without prior knowledge to Travel Vacations. Please check with your official airline carrier, resort, cruise line etc for most current up to date advisements.

  
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