Whatever the Weather, Be Prepared

Unless you possess some unique God-like quality or you are the world’s most accurate meteorologist, weather can be one of THE most difficult things to predict.  Even when you research a 10 day forecast, that is just a guess based on a snapshot in time.  Some weather phenomenons are easier to predict that others depending on weather locations.

If you journey to parts of Mexico during the summer, you can pretty much guarantee that it will rain for at least 1 hour during the afternoon.  You can almost set your clock by this.  You can also count on the fact freezing temps will plague the Midwest from January – March without fail.  But, other areas and other times are not as easy to for one to predict in terms of weather.  So, what do you do?  How do you prepare so that your vacation is not ruined.

This is one time I would say apply the 80/20 rule for vacations.  If the weather at your destination is usually sunny with clear clouds, but there is a weather system which may pass through the area, make sure that the majority of your clothes are light weight and breezy and the rest are a little more durable and can accommodate colder temps or wetter weather.  Add some closed toe shoes, long pants, and longer sleeved shirts to your suitcase.  Best case scenario, you will be well-prepared for a change in the weather and will not have to shop for other clothing during your trip.  Worse case scenario, you will not need the other clothing and can use them as protective barriers for your souvenirs and gifts.

Bottom line, take a look at the weather before your depart, but put some “just in case” clothing in your suitcase as well.

 

Invalid? But My Passport Hasn’t Expired!

You’ve planned that dream vacation to foreign destination.  Grabbed a sweet deal on air plane tickets and snagged a luxury hotel room at a serious discount (peak season).  The bags are packed, the mail and newspapers have been put on hold, the parking arrangements have been made and all you have to do is get to the airport.  Simple enough, right?  Right!  So, you arrive at the airport a few hours ahead of your flight time and hand your passport and boarding pass to the agent at the counter.  The agent swipes the passport, as per TSA protocol, to verify that your documents are legitimate (and so that Homeland security and the other agencies have a record of your travels) and confirm your travel information.  Your luggage is then tagged with the destination information and you are sent along your merry way.  One hurdle down.

So, next you pass through the TSA checkpoint.  Depending on your status, the air carrier on which you are traveling, and whether or not you’ve paid to enroll in one the global or trusted traveler programs, you either get to do a full strip show for TSA, or go through the expedite line where you do not have to disrobe.  Once on the other side of the screening area, you proceed to the boarding area where you wait for the gate agent to call your group number.

Now, here is where things get a little hairy and where your dream vacation can turn into a nightmare.  You board the plane and are on your way to mai tais and rum runners.  Or maybe Le Tour Eiffel and the Swiss Alps.  You arrive at you destination and are denied entry.  But how could this be?  You passport is valid.  Well, in all of your planning, there was one thing you neglected to do.  What is that you say?  Check the passport requirements for your foreign destination.  Yes, you have a valid passport (sort of) which is good for another few months; however, it expires in four months and your destination requires that the expiration date is six months beyond your date of entry in the country.  Seriously?  Yes, seriously.

So, how was this not flagged when you input your passport information in the air carrier’s online system?  Well, the short answer is that air carriers do not have a responsibility to mind your business.  The carrier just records the passport data for the person traveling to validate the you are indeed the person who arrives at the airport and do have the proper credentials to travel.  The carrier is not keeping up with the entry requirements of each destination.

So, to avoid this heartache and the loss of time, money and memories, make sure you visit the OFFICIAL tourism site for your desired destination to determine their entry requirements.  A lot of countries simply require that you have a valid passport, proof of a return ticket, and sufficient funds to cover your stay.  However, there are countries that require your passport be valid for more than six months post visit.  In addition to visiting the OFFICIAL tourism site for your desired destination, you can also visit state.gov for country specific information and additional links.

 

Remember- A little research goes a long way.