essential transit information

Airline Contact info

AIRLINES

Air New Zealand —1 800 262-1234

Alaska — 1 800 252-7522

American — 800-433-7300

British Airways — 1 800 247-9297

Cathay Pacific — 1 (800) 233-2742

Delta — 800-221-1212

Emirates — 1 800 777-3999

Japan Airlines —  1 800 525-3663

JetBlue —1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583)

Kenya Airways — 1 866 536-9224

Korean Air — 1 800 438-5000

Lufthansa —  1 800 645-3880

South African Airlines —  1 (800) 722-9675

Singapore Airlines — 1 800 742-3333

Southwest — 1-800-435-9792

United Airlines —  800 864-8331

Virgin Atlantic — 1 (800) 862-8621

 

Find lounges in airports around the world you can use for a fee

Layovers are one of the downsides of travel but there is a way to make it tolerable, nice even. Most large airports have lounges you can use without award miles or membership. You’ll have to pay a fee but considering there are comfortable chairs, wifi, food and drinks included, it’s not so bad once you do the math. It’s so much better than hanging out at a gate.  Lounge Buddy is a good resource to find lounges around the world simply. 

Amtrak Contact Info

Amtrak – 1-800-872-7245; International visitors 1-215-856-7924

How to check out your in-flight amenities before you book
You know how it is, you board the plane and realize your seat sucks, or there isn’t WiFi when you thought there was. Use SeatGuru to do a little reconnaissance before you say yes to that reservation.
Check if your destination has a travel advisory
U.S. Department of State has the answers
Check to see you you'll need a vaccination for your destination
Passport Health can help you find a clinic near you that offers vaccines your GP doesn’t provide. 
How to find Travel Insurance
I HIGHLY recommend travel insurance when embarking on a journey. Even if you don’t care about getting reimbursed (though I can’t imagine why), at the very least get medical coverage, especially if you’re going someplace remote. Check out Insuremytrip, a website that enables you to compare policies from a variety of companies.
If you’re going to participate in extreme (or not so extreme) sports such as hiking, diving, mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, bungee jumping… I think you get my drift, World Nomads is great insurance to consider. Basically, they cover activities (over 150) run of the mill travel insurance may not. 

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS - PASSPORTS / VISAS

Apply or renew your passport

To apply for or renew your passport you can do it by mail, online or in person. Make sure to read through the directions thoroughly as there are minor differences depending on your situation. 

If you need to renew your passport make sure you have more than six months before it expires. Many countries will not let you in with 5 months or less. Make sure to make allowances for processing and shipping times (see below).  

Cost

First time adult application fee is $110 plus a $35 execution fee. 

First time child (under 16) has to be in person and there is $80 plus a $35 execution fee

Adult renewal is $110 

Timeframe 

Standard is 6 – 8 weeks

Expedited is 2 – 3 weeks 

Under two weeks: has to be in person at an agency with proof of international travel within that time period. (By appointment only

Expedite fee is $60 across the board. 

 

See if you need a visa for the destination you're visiting

TraVisa will tell you whether your destination country requires a visa for American requirements based on your destination and your citizenship.

What to do if you lose your passport abroad

Take a deep breath. This is going to be painful. I have intimate knowledge of this situation and I can’t sugar coat it, it’s a major pain in the ass. 

First: contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in country you’re in. (Be prepared, the ‘nearest’ might mean you’ll have to travel.) 

NOTE: Make sure you know your passport number and expiration date. An embassy or consulate CANNOT look it up. I have a photo of my passport in my phone for just such and emergency, plus a photocopy. 

NOTE 2: When I lost my passport in Ottawa, I had to give my phone up at security when I entered the consulate. I would imagine it’s like that everywhere so make sure to you have a photocopy. You’ll need it to get a temporary passport. 

Regarding an appointment: When I looked online to schedule an appointment, there were none available until after I was supposed to leave. I showed up in person anyway and while I had to wait around a lot they managed to turn it around in a day. 

You’ll need to  provide:

Passport Photo (one photo is required; get it in advance to speed the process of replacing your passport)

Identification (driver’s license, expired passport etc.)

Evidence of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate, photocopy of your missing passport)

Travel Itinerary (airline/train tickets)

Police Report, if available

DS-11 Application for Passport (may be completed at time of application)
DS-64 Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport (may be completed at time of application)

(Source: U.S. Department of State) 

How and Why to Get Global Entry

Learn why Global Entry is the best $100 you’ll spend on travel and how to get it. 

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