International Travel Essentials
Many groups are preparing for the excitement of international travel, or considering planning a trip overseas. Here are some international travel essentials to help make international travel with your student performance group a breeze.
Everyone is required to have a passport for international travel. The amount of validity until expiration needed varies by destination country, but we recommend having at least 6 months left until expiration to avoid any possible issues. We also recommend applying for a passport as early as possible to avoid needing to pay for expedited service. Department of State processing times can vary from 4 weeks to 4 months, depending on the time of year. Also, be sure yourself or a chaperone has photocopies of all passports and visas while on the trip. Should one be lost, this will help the embassy in issuing a replacement.
Though a majority of the most popular student destinations do not require a visa for U.S. Citizens, you may encounter having a foreign exchange student who will need a visa for travel to your intended country. Bob Rogers Travel can assist you in working with the consulate or visa service to make sure necessary visas for these students are secured prior to travel. Should your whole group be traveling to a country that requires a visa (such as Brazil or China) we will assist you in securing these visas for the group.
The use of local currency is a concern for many international travelers. BRT can set up your group with cash in the currency of the countries in which you will be traveling. However, we recommend having your students use a reloadable debit card like Visa Buxx. This way, students aren’t carrying large amounts of cash with them. Many cards also give parents the ability to reload the card from home, which is a great way to be sure their kids don’t spend all of their money on the first day.
Although many U.S. cellular carriers offer service overseas, it can become very expensive. Students who have smartphones should turn off their data features to avoid expensive charges on their accounts. Almost all hotels we work with provide free wireless internet for their guests. Because of this, we recommend using Skype to communicate while traveling. Skype-to-Skype calls are free, and Skype to landline or cell phone calls are only 2.3¢ per minute. Beyond that, students with iPhones can message other iPhones for free using the built in iMessage feature, while they are connected to Wi-Fi.
Almost all countries use both a different socket type and voltage than North America (the notable exception to this Japan, which uses the same plug and 110 voltage as the U.S.). Rechargeable devices will already accept up to 220 volts, and will only need a plug adapter. Items requiring an electrical connection will need a voltage converter in countries that use 220 voltage. Remind your students not to plug devices like hair dryers, curling irons, or straitening irons from the U.S in to an outlet running 220 voltage without a transformer. Hotels can often provide a few voltage and plug adapters, but it is best to have your students pick them up before you head out of the country, as the hotel will definitely not have enough for the entire group.
It can be hard to find the recognizable brands of basic medicines like Tums and Tylenol. Also, pharmacies often do not keep the same extended hours abroad as they do in the U.S. For these reasons, we recommend having your students bring some of these basic medications with them.
We hope these tips make preparing for your international adventure as easy as possible. We are always available to help answer any questions, or to start planning your group’s international performance tour. Just contact us to get started!
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