By: Susan Sherren for Couture Trips
Published: November 20, 2021 12:38
Why You Need an International Drivers Permit
Applying for an International Drivers Permit (IDP) might be the last thing on your mind when you think of planning an overseas adventure. But before you decide to jump behind the wheel and rent a car overseas, make sure you put this minor but essential item on your to-do list. Fortunately, you won't need one in Canada for short stays or in Mexico. If you are venturing to Brazil or Uruguay, you will apply for an Inter-American Driving Permit. It's similar to the international driving license, and it can be obtained from the same entities. But if you are venturing outside of these areas, make sure to get One. The IDP is recognized by over 186 countries and will give you peace of mind when you decide to hit the road.
Why You Need an International Drivers Permit ( Excerpts from Car and Driver 5/15/19)
How to Apply for One
It's pretty simple and inexpensive to obtain an International Drivers License. AAA, the American Automobile Association (AAA), and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA), the two companies that can assist you. Once issued, the IDP is valid for up to one year.
To obtain a license from the American Automobile Association ( AAA), you can just walk in, fill out a form, pay $20, present your valid U.S. license and present two passport-style photos. For $10.00, AAA will take your passport-style photos for the permit. You can also mail in your application along with the appropriate fees and documents. The process is relatively straightforward.
The American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) only offers mail-in services, taking around 10-15 days to process. The fee is $20.00, and shipping services will add to the overall costs. The requirements are similar to the AAA.
Traveling outside of the country requires some preparation, and skipping a critical component could wreak havoc on your vacation plans. Make sure you include applying for your IDL well before your travels to avoid additional last-minute strain or fines if you happen to get pulled over.
By: Susan Sherren for Couture Trips
This Thanksgiving will see more air travel and ground travel than in prior years. The pandemic curbed our regular holiday travel routines. While we all are anxious to have our holidays return to normal, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as you hit the ground running.
First and foremost on any to-do list is to stay home if you are not feeling well. Friends and family will be grateful if you decide not to spread your germs during this holiday season. Stay well-rested, eat nutritious food and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you are traveling by air, make sure to get to the airport a bit earlier than usual. You can download The MyTSA app; according to the TSA it, "provides airline passengers with 24/7 access to the most frequently requested airport security information on any mobile device. Save time and money with our helpful tips for preparing for security, including a searchable database of items that can and can't go in checked or carry-on bags".
Make sure to bring along hand sanitizer and plenty of masks. Ideally, it would be best if you changed your face mask every 4-6 hours. Rewearing masks isn't a great idea. Go for the disposable ones vs cloth. Also, change your clothing once you arrive at your destination. Remember to use frequent hand washing and avoid touching your face.
Try and travel light with one carry on if possible; if your bags don't make it, you won't have to make another trip to the airport or wait to locate a lost piece of luggage.
Bring along some healthy snacks that can satisfy you in case you become delayed or are stranded. Nothing is worse than an irritated or growling stomach while you're waiting for a flight.
Be patient; this time of year, people can become quite stressed and angry. Try and smile; you decided to travel during one of the busiest times of the year so have a little compassion for those airport and TSA employees who have to work during the holidays. Throw out a compliment or two!
If you are driving to your destination, consider taking the shortest distance due to rising gas prices. This probably isn't the year to take the longer scenic route—budget for this added expense. You can offset the cost by packing a picnic for the road or hunt up a few roadside fast-food restaurants coupons in advance of your travels. Make sure to stay on top of the weather forecast and don't travel in poor weather conditions.
Scheduling your travel dates around Thanksgiving will lessen the strain. Don't book your trip the day before Thanksgiving, and expect everything to go smoothly. Airport systems will be under pressure as the holiday approaches. If you have a flexible work schedule, depart a few days earlier than you usually would of in years past and delay your return a few days following the holiday.
Have an exit strategy in case of illness. If you become ill at your destination or during your travels and exhibit COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms, have a pre-planned way to deal with the situation. Pack the necessary over the counter cold remedies, and you might even consider pre-purchasing an over the counter COVID-19 test kit.
Most of all, enjoy your time with your friends and family. This year more than ever, we will appreciate our ability to sit face to face at the dinner table with our loved ones.
By: Susan Sherren
Published: 9/1/21 4:45 PM
The EU's updated travel ban announced this week had placed a wrench in some travelers plans. Yes, you can still travel to some countries, but you will have to keep updated on their current policies and procedures. It's a jungle out there for travelers these days. Travel can be stressful enough without the Mondays announcement that the EU no longer recommends non-essential travel from the U.S. to Europe. Unfortunately, this travel rollercoaster may become the new norm.
Vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers will still be allowed into some countries within the EU, and member states will be setting their own policies. European countries heavily rely on tourism, and over the past year, many were affected by closures due to COVID. The ticket into these countries will remain focused on testing and vaccination status. You must check with each country you plan on visiting before making any travel arrangements.
Where Can I Check On The Status Of Countries Border?
The U.S. Embassy in each country can be a great source; you can even give them a ring to hear it from the horse's mouth. Sherpa is also a great resource that can provide you with up to date information. The best and most accurate way to determine how you will enter a country is by going directly to their immigration and border entry websites. Remember, this is a fluid situation, and specific policies are only in effect for a certain period of time. If your vacation straddles a renewal date, make sure you understand that these policies may change.
Can I Get a Refund On My Airline Tickets If I Decide Not to Travel?
It depends on the type of ticket you purchased. If you bought Basic Economy tickets that are non-refundable, then the answer is most likely no. If you change them, some tickets will trigger a change fee, and others are more friendly to amendments. Make sure you seek clarification from the airlines before purchasing.
Can I Cross Borders Once I Enter a Country?
Yes, you can, but you will have to be familiar with each countries border requirements. If you are a U.S. Citizen and travel to Paris on a connecting flight and your final destination is Italy- Italy will require you to adhere to entry requirements from France even though you are a U.S. Citizen.
Should I Use a Travel Advisor?
Well, it depends on how much homework, trips prep and stress you want to take on. A travel advisor is usually associated with a larger consortium or entity that may have quite a bit more pull than, say, an individual traveler. It might cost you a tad more to use an advisor, but it will be the best money you have ever spent. Visit Couture Trips to schedule a complimentary travel consultation. We keep up to date on the latest and greatest in travel.
Tips On Traveling to Europe Fall 2021
By: Susan Sherren for Couture Trips
Published: August 30, 2021 2:47 PM CST
In a move that was anticipated, the European Union is recommending to its associated countries to limit the travel of U.S. to citizens to its member states. The recommendation as it stands now is primarily due to the rising number of COVID cases in the U.S. The updated announcement is due to the lack of robust vaccination rates in the U.S., fears of COVID spread due to the variant and rising numbers. Each member state will ultimately decide on specific border entry requirements. Many cruise lines in the E.U. require passengers to be vaccinated. It is anticipated that many member states will adopt this stance instead of completely blocking U.S. citizens' travel. Travellers should consult with their travel advisors, airlines and other travel professionals.
It is always a good idea to check with the U.S. Embassy of the country you are planning to visit. The situation is changing on a daily and minute to minute basis. The Biden Administration has not lifted the travel ban for Europeans wishing to visit the U.S. in over 500 days. This has proved frustrating to E.U. member states, considering Europe has higher vaccination rates and many countries have implemented stricter guidelines as compared with the United States. The EU also removed Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia from the safe travel list.
You can visit our Blog- The Runway to stay up to date on the latest happening in the travel world. Travel these days has become quite complex.
If you are interested in a complimentary consultation visit: Couture Trips today to get started on planning your next great escape.
By: Susan Sherren for Couture Trips
Published: 8/4/21 2:05 CST
Pedalling Coast to Coast May Soon Be A Reality
Many of us consider travel transportation to include planes, trains and automobiles. Have you considered pedalling your way across America?
Now with electric bikes gaining in popularity, you could experience a new version of a road trip on two wheels. The fear factor of riding on busy and congested roads is a deterrent to many cycling enthusiasts. But thanks to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, biking across America on designated cycle paths may soon be realized. The organization is committed to creating a cycling infrastructure that connects more than 125 existing trails and 90 trail gaps over 3,700 plus miles between Washington, D.C., and Washington State. Yes, that means coast to coast cycling opportunities! "Since the 1980s, RTC has understood the potential of a trail like the Great American Rail-Trail that could connect the nation. That vision has been a guidepost for the organization for 30 years. Now, we have the chance to create from that vision a national treasure that unites millions of people over thousands of miles of trail," said Ryan Chao, president of RTC. "This trail is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide—together—an enduring gift to the nation that will bring joy for generations to come."
Video Courtesy of Rail to Trails
Where Can I Ride ?
Approximately 53% of the trail is completed; it will likely take several more decades before all the routes are fully linked. The overall goal is to have the paths free from traffic. Walkers and cycling enthusiasts will be able to add this to their bucket list when it is completed sometime around 2040. You may explore available trail options by visiting Trail Link to view routes near you. The most up to date trail 2021 trail assessment can be found by clicking HERE.
How Can I Prep For a Bike Vacation ?
You'll likely need proper equipment and some know-how if you're going to venture very far from your home. It's a good idea to chat with the pros at your local bike shop. You can venture into the vast amount of information available on the internet as well. The best advice is to start out locally and join a local biking club. The equipment, clothing and road safety tips are all areas to be explored before you pack up and head out to the Great American Rail-Trail.
Couture Trips Loves Cycling
We can help you plan your next great biking adventure. With the pandemic situation many travelers are playing it safe and staying closer to home. A spring RTC study reported trail use across the US spiked by 200%. If you need assistance with accommodations or planning out a suitable route- feel free to contact us. America is a beautiful country with so much to see. Getting outside and seeing it up close is the right way to go.
using a TRAVEL CONSULTANT to BOOK YOUR VACATION IS A SMART MOVE IN THESE COMPLICATED TRAVEL WATERS- take it from me a REcovered Expedia addict
By: Susan Sherren for Couture Trips
Published: 7/28/21 8:17 am CST
The use of travel advisors has plummeted over the last decade as Expedia and other online booking tools became available to consumers. People felt confident booking with the click of the mouse. No more middle man- right! I want to share with you my journey and why having a trusted travel advisor in your back pocket is the right way navigate the choppy waters of booking travel.
Meet Me The Travel Guru
Let me introduce myself; my name is Susan Sherren, and I am the proud owner of -Couture Global Trips. I was an early adopter of VRBO and other online booking tools. I felt pretty empowered knowing I could book a fabulous vacation for my family anywhere in the world. Years ago, I had four small children under my feet and a busy husband knee-deep in his demanding career. The thought of getting in my car to drive to a travel agency location or spending more time on the phone just didn't appeal to me. So late at night, I became a stealth online travel bargain hunter. I prided myself on picking up great "deals" on my own. We took our children on fabulous trips all around the globe. I was giving out travel advice right and left to friends, neighbours and even strangers. Then in 2019, I decided to become a travel consultant. Yes, I thought I knew it all when it came to travel since I was an early adopter and had successfully navigated the online maze of online travel booking.
What I found out through my new career training was shocking! Not only had I been wasting my precious time, but the "deals" came at a high price if you consider time a commodity. Most people spend around 30 hours planning a vacation. Yes, 30 hours! If you have a reasonably well paying job, you see what I am getting at. You may actually be losing money, and you're not getting the best "deals".
Now I confidently book travel, knowing I am getting the best of the best for my clients. They usually can receive upgrades and little perks like complimentary breakfast. Not only that, I am getting updated on the latest and greatest in travel from people all over the world. Yes, travel advisors have a vast network of suppliers and the most current pulse on travel complexities. Yes, the dreaded "P" word has put a dent in our clients' travel plans but now more than ever, you shouldn't go it alone. Take it from me you're wasting your time, and this is coming from a recovered Expedia addict plus your not getting any customer service- yep, zero. I had one horrific incident at Barcelona's El Prat Airport trying to navigate Expedia's customer service call centre after a 12 hours flight- not fun! I would have rathered called my friend and my trusted advisor who understood my itinerary completely than tangle with a complete stranger.
The Tide Is Turning
Yes, the pandemic has changed one thing, people are flocking to travel advisors. According to ASTA's recent stats, the use of travel agents by consumers of travel is on the move, and that means up! Good news: After the pandemic is over, nearly half of travellers (44 percent) say they are more likely to use a travel advisor. Not surprisingly, almost all travellers (94 percent) who always/often used a travel advisor before the pandemic are likely to use one after the pandemic. Among those who sometimes or rarely used a travel advisor pre-pandemic, 44 per cent are likely to use one after the pandemic. People are wising up to the fact that they might actually value customer service.
Nowadays, it's a must to be an insured traveller. Not only that, but if you are leaving the U.S., your health insurance is useless. France and now Italy have just implemented the Travel Health Pass. So now things are starting to get a bit wild out there. The latest shock was it's taking 4-6 months to get your passport renewed. Travel consultants have some tricks up their sleeves when it comes to helping their clients navigate these choppy waters. Once you leave your home, make sure you are armed with the latest and greatest in travel. Our clients travel with our Pocket Travel App; they can contact us with the push of a button. Yes, we're on alert every time one of our clients leaves their home and heads out on their well-deserved break from their hectic lives. Give us ring and learn about some amazing destinations! We craft each vacation based upon your needs that's why we are the leader in bespoke travel design.
France Travel update:Covid 19 coronavirus-Today France mandates vaccination passes for dining and travel
Published: 7/26/21 11:15 CST
Drowning in Cabin Plastic
A byproduct of our love of travel is the vast amount of plastic waste that we generate. Everything we encounter in-flight, from the meal service, blankets and headphones wrapped is plastic laden. Most recently, Delta’s mask and hand sanitiser packets were plastic wrapped, an unnecessary move. “That’s the upsetting part about flying,” Megan Epler Wood, director of the International Sustainable Tourism Initiative at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the Huffington Post, “They’re just throwing everything into one bag. And there’s no effort to separate, which means you know they’re not recycling because they can’t. Once the plastic or anything else becomes contaminated, it can’t be recycled.” The airlines have been slow to transition to a less plastic infested philosophy.
So how can a traveller take more responsibility for the volume of trash they generate circling the planet.
Couture Trips Travel Essentials
Couture Trips is focused on travel education, especially when it comes to the environmental impact of travel. We developed a series of in-flight travel kits that we feel will aid the traveller in various ways. Most importantly- Couture Trips Travel Essentials Kits contain the world's most collapsible water (25 fl. oz.) bottle developed by Hydaway Corporation. If travellers can stop their dependency on plastic cups and plan on packing their own water containers, it can make a huge impact. We love to say that we can turn a travel footprint into a fingerprint. Our video (see below) demonstrates how you can simplify your travel prep and positively impact the environment at the same time. Visit Couture Trips Essentials to order your in-flight kit today. We recently launched Eze and Annecy, our two smallest in-flight essentials kits. Travellers can use them on planes, trains, buses and cars! No matter where you roam, you will be prepared. In the coming months you will also be able to purchase a travel blanket and other travel essential kits. We also can help you with travel planning. Visit Couture Trips and get started on planning your next great escape.