Random Travel Tips #2

January 8, 2008

in Airports, Automobiles, Currency, Information, Packing, Travel, Web Tips

Here are a few thoughts as I prepare to head back from my holiday travels on questions posed recently.

+ If you don’t travel often or are traveling to a part of the world you haven’t been to before, contact your bank and your credit card companies prior to departure and let them know your travel dates and destinations. This will save you from headaches were legitimate withdrawals or purchases denied as suspicious activity while abroad.

+ Heading to a new destination, looking for activities and not sure where to start your search? Using Google, type in your destination and “convention and visitors bureau” to find official tourism information online. Next stop: the city’s daily newspaper website. Both of those should find you relevant ideas and new search terms to help you along.

+ On January 1, new TSA regulations went into effect regarding spare lithium batteries. The short version: lithium batteries MUST be carried on; if spares are not in their original packaging, they must be isolated from metal objects and other batteries (easiest option: pack each individually in a plastic bag). Check out further information here and here.

+ Traveling through countries with different currencies? coupon organizer fileA great way to keep your various bills and coins organized is a mini expandable (coupon) file, like the one pictured here. You can pick one up cheaply at your nearest dollar store or Target. Keep all phonecards, bus tickets, rechargeable metro cards, little maps — anything retaining value for a future visit — sorted inside as well. Handy while traveling, it will also make finding these useful “leftovers” for your next trip that much easier!

+ If there’s a chance you’ll be driving while abroad (i.e. renting a car), pick up an international driving permit before leaving home. In the U.S., you’ll need to head to your nearest AAA with 2 passport-sized photographs, your current valid driver’s license and $15; in other countries, contact your national driving association for further information. Your IDP is valid only with your state-issued driver’s license, so carry them together when traveling.

Looking for more tips? Try Random Travel Tips #1.

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Random Travel Tips #1 « Less Than a Shoestring
01.13.08 at 5:25 am

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1 Dana 01.08.08 at 9:48 pm

An interesting fact about using international driver’s licenses in the US came to my attention recently. Part of my job now involves bringing visiting scholars and researchers to the US for extended periods of time. At the university’s International House seminar on issues these visitors will need to be aware of, we were told that they would all need to get an NC driver’s license if they would be driving a car. Someone from another department said they had always told their visiting scholars to get an international license in their home country. We were told that in the US, each state decides individually if they consider such a license to be valid. In North Carolina, apparently they do not. (Of course, whether you would be in trouble for using it when pulled over or not entirely depends on whether the police officer or state trooper is aware of this at all.) Annoying.

2 poetloverrebelspy 01.13.08 at 7:00 pm

Dana, thanks for your comment. Here in Germany, each U.S. state also negotiates with the federal German government about recognition of driver’s licenses. That means that, for example, Arkansans don’t need to pass a driving test here but Minnesotans do! This is only for stays of over 6 months, however; under that and any recognized driver’s license + IDP will do.

For those interested in driving in Germany, you can find more information here at the AmCham website; at the bottom of the page — if you can read German — is an interesting document comparing licensing across Europe.

Does anyone know where to find information about IDP regulations in other countries?

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