Press-Republican

FYI...

May 20, 2014

Rules for avoiding those travel road bumps

(Continued)

Resort fees are normally disclosed just before you push the "book" button, so don't thoughtlessly click through. If you see a fee you don't like, stop what you're doing and look elsewhere for a room.

5. Don't forget the paperwork

Having the right visas and permits and an updated passport is your responsibility, no two ways about it. That's a difficult message for many travelers to hear. They rely on the advice of a travel agent or what's posted on a website and believe (incorrectly) that those third parties should reimburse them when something goes wrong. This is especially common in the case of cruises, where a birth certificate, instead of a passport, is often enough to board a ship.

The consequences can be heartbreaking. A worried mom from Sacramento, California, recently contacted me because her daughter and son-in-law, en route to their honeymoon in St. Lucia, had been stopped at the airport and denied boarding. The reason? The bride's passport was due to expire soon - too soon for her to be allowed into the country. Some countries require your passport to be valid for six months from the date of your entry. An alert travel agent might have caught the problem, but now it was too late. And without travel insurance, the entire trip would be lost. "Can this trip be salvaged?" the mom wrote to me, with only hours before the vacation was to have begun. Sadly, it couldn't be.

Point is, the most common travel mistakes are easily avoided with a little planning and by taking common-sense precautions. It looks easy, and sometimes it is easy. But the truth is, in many cases, there's often a lot more to it, and questions arise. And that's what this column and I are here for.

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