Need to Know

Need to Know

We’ve included some general tips for your vacation—first, some guidelines for travel anywhere in the world; then, some tips specific to Europe. In addition to this information, we’ve listed some helpful travel guides and Web sites. As always, please feel to contact us with any questions.

  • Luggage restrictions: The Transportation Security Commission (TSA) provides a list of items that are or are not allowed to bring as carry-on items or in checked baggage. Review the list.
  • Liquid carry-ons: For carrying liquids onboard your flight, you will need to bring small containers carried in a clear, plastic, zip-top bag. Since the sizes of the containers and carrying bag are subject to change, we recommend you check the most up-to-date rules. Review guidelines.
  • Single-parent travel with children: A child travel consent is a document that shows authorities and foreign officials that a minor (under age 18) has permission from parent(s) or guardian(s) to travel. The document may be requested by authorities when a child is traveling internationally with one parent or guardian, or when a child is traveling internationally without a parent, alone, or with an adult who is not a parent or guardian. If the traveling parent has sole custody, he or she will need a notarized true copy of a court order or equivalent proving custody. If both parents have custody, or the non-traveling parent has custody, the traveling parent will need notarized consent from the non-traveling parent. If the other parent has legal rights of access (e.g. visitation rights), it is advisable to obtain his or her consent. If it is not possible to obtain consent, or if the other parent has no legal rights, you should carry a notarized true copy of a court order or equivalent to prove that you have sole custody. You should also be prepared to prove your relationship to the child by producing government issued certificates (e.g. certificates of birth, marriage, adoption or change of name).
  • Luggage size: For luggage size, a general rule of thumb is to not exceed 50 pounds. The Federal Aviation Administration provides some general guidelines, but it’s best to contact your airline to determine any size restrictions and/or extra charges.
  • Time zones: Find the time zone for your destination cities, at any time of the year, at timeanddate.com.
  • Weather: To find the weather forecast during your vacation, visit weather.com, where you can search for any city in our family vacation portfolio.

Travel to Europe

  • Passports: All U.S. citizens including children must present a passport or secure travel document when entering or exiting the United States by air. Make sure you not only have passports in a secure place, but also bring along two copies of each. If they are lost or stolen, having the passport numbers will help speed up the process for replacements. For additional information, including how to apply for passports for the first time for your kids, get all the information and forms from the State Department Web site. Allow plenty of time if you are getting new passports, and note that there are often a number of new requirements. Also, make sure your passport does not expire within six months of your date of travel. Some countries insist that your passport be valid for at least a six-month time period.
  • Exchange rates: Expect that exchange rates will change regularly. We recommend checking for the latest update in the week before you travel by visiting our currency converter online.
  • Banks and money exchange offices: When you go to a money exchange office or a bank, you’ll see currencies displayed with two numbers, one slightly higher than the other, the "Buy Price" and the "Sell Price." If you want to get euros for your U.S. dollars while in Paris, then the US dollar "Buy" price is what you should check. If you have euros and you’re leaving for home, the US dollar "Sell" price is your guide. Banks and money exchange offices usually charge a commission fee, so check that rate also.
  • Electrical Current: The electrical current in all of the U.S. is 110 V, 60 Hz, AC, which accommodates standard U.S. plugs having either two flat pins or two flat pins and a round grounding pin. We recommend you bring the appropriate adapters and converters; you will want to transform 220/240 volt electricity to 110/120 volts.

Online Travel Guides

BootsnAll Travel......................................................................www.bootsnall.com
CNN Travel...........................................................................www.cnn.com/travel
Fodor’s.......................................................................................www.fodors.com
Frommer’s..............................................................................www.frommers.com
Let’s Go Travel Guides................................................................ www.letsgo.com
Lonely Planet ......................................................................www.lonelyplanet.com
National Geographic Traveler........................www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler
Travel Channel...............................................................www.travelchannel.com
Virtual Tourist......................................................................www.virtualtourist.com

Book Guides

  • Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Travel Guides
  • Fodor’s
  • Frommer’s
  • Let’s Go
  • Lonely Planet
  • Michelin Green Guides