“Need to Know” TRAVEL TIPS


Welcome to The Beach Travel Insider Information Center…

At The Insider, you’ll find great deals, unique insights, and valuable resources to make your travel easier and more exciting. Dedication to the specific needs of the traveler has quickly earned us an enviable reputation from our competitors. Through itinerary planning and competitive fares, both international and domestic, we create and deliver vacation experiences to match your style and exceed your expectations. Beach Travel is a member of The Ensemble Travel Group- an international collection of expert travel companies who can provide you with thousands of offers that includes; Ensemble Exclusives- VIP benefits, amenities, and savings, only available when you book through us.

Newest Tip:

Anti- Hacking Packing – ways to avoid ID theft when you travel

    1. Alert your credit card providers – Let them know when, where and how long you’ll be traveling – this helps to stop bogus charges and avoids your card being frozen due to “unusual activity”.
    2. Stop your mail OR have a neighbor collect it. Stop your newspaper and don’t broadcast your travel plans on social media sites.
    3. Weed out your wallet –take only essential identifiers like you license and just 2 credit cards- one to carry and one to be locked in the hotel room safe in case your wallet is stolen
    4. Leave your checkbook home
    5. Consider a temporary credit freeze –best considered only for extra protection during prolonged travel.
    6. Carry a spare throw away wallet with a few dollars and maybe an old hotel key card. If you have to hand it over to a thief, they don’t get the real thing.
    7. Use safer ATMs – ones in bank lobbies are less vulnerable to the devices robbers use to capture you credit card info.
    8. Be careful with hotel computers – don’t access financial data on hotel or public computers as you never know what identity stealing software is at work.
    9. Beware of “front desk” fraud – a late night call from the “clerk” saying they need your credit card info again should be a red flag. Ignore the call and check in person.

There are several Trusted Traveler Programs but the two most prevalent are listed below:

Participate in PreCheck

In order to be eligible for PreCheck security screenings, a traveler must be flying with an airline that has agreed to partner with the TSA. However, not all airlines participate in the TSA’s expedited-security program. As is stands, nine US carriers  are part of PreCheck; this limits the reach of the program. Even if you pay the non-refundable application fee and are approved to join PreCheck, you won’t receive expedited screening when flying with Spirit, Allegiant, Frontier, or AirTran. For those travelers who regularly fly these airlines or smaller regional carriers, the program is a bust. GOES The Global Online Enrollment System is accessed through the Department of Homeland Security’s computer system. You must complete an extensive application online. Once certified and a non-refundable deposit is made, one must then schedule an in- person interview with a TSA office for final approval. There is no card to carry; approval is attached to your passport.

Current Insider Information:

Need a Passport?  Click The US Department of State and they will provide all the necessary information.

TSA INFO: What You Need to Know Before You Go

Airline Baggage Information

Tired of worrying about the Baggage Fees?    Just go to LuggageLimits.com – your FREE “Baggage Allowance Widget” to evaluate the cost of often-changing baggage fees of more than 170 airlines.

Luggage Free Travel

Want to travel luggage free? Luggage Free is a specialty service offering travelers the option to send luggage ahead to nearly any destination worldwide, to avoid the inconvenience of carrying, checking and claiming bags – even when going through customs.  They offer door-to-door service throughout the US as well as to over 110 countries worldwide, making almost any trip a possibility.  With luggage arriving at your destination before you do, this allows you to pack heavy and travel light.

  • Guaranteed on time delivery
  • No minimum weight or charge
  • On-line ordering
  • 24 hour, seven day customer service
  • $1000 standard shipment valuation
  • Full tracking and real time proof of delivery notification
  • Custom made protective packaging for all luggage
  • Full Customs documentation completion

If you’re cruising, check on LUGGAGE FORWARD – “BAGS –to- CRUISE- SHIP” This provides you with a way to send your luggage ahead to 120 cruise ships at 100 ports worldwide using its new online reservation system … Check it out at www.lat.ms/1DASv8M

Currency Info

Go to www.exchangerate.com for the most up to date information.


How To Plan For The Unexpected. The best time to think about a natural disaster is before it occurs. Here are some precautions you should take:

  • BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE: Though we can provide information about travel insurance with price quotes, we are not the insurance company. It is the client’s  decision whether to the purchase or not.
  • USE BEACH TRAVEL: If the unforeseen occurs, we can normally rebook for you. We stay in tune with what’s happening and can assist in working with the airline, tour company, hotel, or cruise line to make alternative arrangements.
  • HAVE CONTINGENCY PLANS: Discuss with your travel companions what to do in an emergency. Have a place to meet in case you are separated. Leave your itinerary and contact info with friends and family along with the contacts for your travel agent. Also consider alternate methods of transportation should that be necessary.
  • PACK AN EMERGENCY KIT: Take a small flashlight, some antiseptic wipes and bandages, food rations like trail mix or some energy bars. We live in a world of cell phones and computers, but they may not be available at times, so pack a solar charger such as Sol Jus.
  • KEEP IMPORTANT CONTACTS: Have critical information with you such as passport numbers (and copies), contact numbers and email for your travel agent, airlines, hotels, cruise lines, tour companies, etc.
  • KNOW YOUR RESOURCES:US State Dept 24 hour emergency number- within US or Canada 888.407.4747/abroad 001.202.501.4444 You can find other general info at travel.state.gov


Fortunately, there are plenty of steps to take in advance and during your travel to minimize financial costs and emotional drama that can accompany serious and unexpected illness or injury in foreign countries.

            Be Prepared…


        • Always travel with your health information (allergies, medications, blood type, ongoing health issues, previous surgeries, etc – any info that would be crucial to the doctor treating you.) You can find a form to use at http://www.cdihp.org/.
        • Check your medical insurance. Read your health insurance policy carefully to be sure what services are covered. If you have Travel Protection Insurance, carry the policy number and the 24-hour assistance number.
        • See your doctor before you go to be sure you’re in shape for the type of trip your taking and to see if there are any required vaccinations needed for your destination.
        • Know when to seek medical care – check out the quality of medical care in your destination before you go so you can make good decisions about the kind of treatment the local medical community is capable of.
        • Know how to call for emergency services. How do you dial 911 in Mexico? In Egypt it’s 123 and in Europe it’s 112. You can find a complete list at www.sccfd.org.
        Before Leaving Home…

      • Make your home look lived in. Place lights and radio or television on  automatic timers.
      • Adjust blinds & draperies to make sure the house looks occupied.
      • Arrange to have lawn cut & yard work done, but cancel all deliveries.
      • Do not hide keys under doormats, flower pots or similar places.
      • Store valuables, such as jewelry, in a secure place.
      • Put identification both inside and outside all luggage. The name on the luggage should match the name on the airline ticket.
      • Remember to carry photo ID.
      • Leave a complete itinerary and contact information with a relative or friend, including a copy of your passport.
      • Check that your passport is valid at least 6 months after your return travel date.
      • Check that your airline tickets have the correct spelling of your legal name as it appears on your passport.
      • Reconfirm your itinerary 72 hours before departure or return.
      • Information on visa requirements, health or safely issues and driving regulations for a specific country may be obtained from the US State Department at this site: travel.gov/travel_warnings.html
      • It is solely the passenger’s responsibility to ensure that all documentation/visas necessary for travel are complete and current.


    • Try to pack everything in one bag(50lbs max) to make it easier to move through airports and hotels. Baggage rates are always changing, so please check the airline website for the most current information.
    • ATM’s are an easy and fast way to get cash abroad in local currencies.
    • Prescription medication should always be carried in their original containers, with the name matching the passengers. Never pack them in your checked luggage-keep the in your carry-on.
    • Make sure to keep a copy of your passport and pack it separately from your original. This is helpful to speed up replacement in case of a lost passport.

While traveling…

  • Keep your wallet with you at all times and avoid carrying large quantities of cash.
  • Lock valuables in your hotel safe if available.
  • Only use organized ground transportation services. Be wary of solicitors offering alleged low-cost services. It may turn out to be expensive, unreliable, and uninsured.
  • Do not accept packages from strangers or ask strangers to watch your belongings.
  • Refrain from making any jokes about security issues. Remarks about bombs or violent action will be taken seriously and in certain places can lead to arrest.


When traveling abroad, it is wise to carry a credit card.  However, many US cards have a magnetic stripe, but these are technologically passé.   Many foreign merchants use smart cards with a chip.  Some require a personal identification number to work; others just a signature.  You may have problems abroad using a magstrip card such as we use in the USA, so apply for a Chip and Pin MasterCard through USAA online.   Chip and Pin cards are the most secure cards to use.  A thief would have to be as close as 4 inches away to grab the signal from this card.  And if the chip is breached, the information is heavily encrypted.  In searching for the right card for you, check to find out (1)  if there’s an annual fee for the card; (2) if it charges a foreign transaction fee; and (3) if it’s a credit or cash advance card such as an ATM card.


You discover in the final preparations for your trip that your passport has expired or the expiration date does not extend 6 months beyond your return date (required by the US government).  What to do? You have to expedite getting a new passport.  First, check the U.S. Department of State’s website (travel.state.gov) for up-to-date info on passport rules, application procedures and foreign entry requirements. You suddenly learn you are headed for a location that requires a Visa for entry.  Check the U.S. Department of State’s website (travel.state.gov) for visa requirements.   If you find yourself in need of a visa at the 11th hour, consider enlisting the services of the expediting agency CIBT (212-949-6340 – cibtvisas.com).  The $286 fee may seem steep, but you can speak to an employee by phone and get access to status updates on line. Your baggage didn’t show on the airport carousel.  What steps should you take?  Before leaving the airport:  (1) Report the missing item to the airline; (2) Insist  that the airline create a report and give you a copy – note the name of  each employee who helps you; (3) Ask if the bag will be delivered to you without charge if it’s found and whether cash advances for emergency purchases are issued in the meantime.  Be sure to keep receipts for anything you have to buy to replace your missing items.  If your baggage is eventually declared permanently lost, you MUST file a claim for reimbursement before the stated deadline or the airline may have grounds for discrediting it.   This year the DOT is raising the liability limit from $3300 to $3400, which means airlines won’t be allowed to offer less than $3400 for a lost bag plus contents worth that much or more. You are planning to use your cell phone abroad.  One of the easiest ways to avoid racking up sky high charges is to call your mobile service provider before you leave and temporarily change your phone plan to one that covers any service (calls, Internet, email) you plan to use in the countries you’ll be passing through.  This should not change your long-term contract.  When you return, call your company to change the plan back. BEFORE you book a long Europe stay, read this info on Passport Validity for TRAVEL TO EUROPEAN COUNTRIES IN THE SCHENGEN AREA OF THE EUROPEAN UNION Check the expiration date on your passport carefully before traveling to Europe.  Entry into any of the 26 European countries in The Schengen area for short-term tourism, a business trip, or  transit to a non-Schengen destination, requires that your passport be valid for 3 months beyond your intended date of departure.  If your passport does not meet this minimum requirement, you may be refused boarding by the airline at your point of origin or while transferring planes.  Some Schengen countries assume all travelers will stay the full three months allowed for visa-free visitors, meaning you may not be admitted unless your passport is valid for at least six months.  If you are a U.S. citizen with a valid U.S. passport traveling for tourism or business, you can apply to enter the Schengen area without a visa for a maximum period of three months within each six-month period.  **Schengen Visa Countries List** Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein.