Have you been imagining a Sicily trip? This Italian island region is unlike anywhere else, so read on for 6 Useful Sicily Travel Tips.
At the crossroads of the Mediterranean, scenic Sicily embodies the history and flavors of a half-dozen cultures. From rich cuisine to unique wines, from ancient civilizations to the modern era, Sicily is ripe for discovery. Whether traveling independently or on our exclusive Flavors of Sicily small group tour (October 2024), read our tips on where to go and what to do in charming Sicily
We are huge fans of packing light for international travel! You'll never regret it. But exactly how do you do it?
With a Capsule Wardrobe.
Traveling outside the USA with a valid passport seems a no-brainer, but for passport newbies—or for folks who haven’t worried about their passports in almost 10 years—it’s good to keep in mind a few important tips.
1. A valid passport is required for all travel outside the USA. Granted, there are a couple of US territories that do not require them, but for United States citizens traveling to Europe (and even to Canada, Mexico, and most Caribbean locations), a passport is required. Passports for minors under age 16 expire 5 years after the issue date; adult passports expire in 10 years.
What is the ETIAS? First, a little background.
If traveling to Europe for business or pleasure for no more than 90 days in a 6-month period, Americans do not need a visa. However, by 2025, Americans will need a travel authorization.
Most European countries are part of the Schengen Zone--a cooperation agreement between 26 countries in Europe--and in the Schengen Agreement Americans are granted a visa waiver for business or leisure travel of up to 90 days.
In today’s changing travel environment, it’s important to protect your travel investment so you can relax and enjoy your trip. Unforeseen events such as flight delays, baggage loss or even a sudden sickness or injury could impact your travel plans. For your convenience, we offer a Travelex Insurance Services protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected.
If traveling to the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) for business or pleasure for up to 6-months (90 days for leisure travel), Americans do not need a visa. However, by 2024, Americans will need a travel authorization.
What does that mean?
When it comes to food, Europe does it right. Whether a hearty shepherd’s pie in the U.K., a flaky croissant in France, or a divine risotto in Italy, travelers to Europe are in for a treat.
Yes, it’s true that sometimes budget limitations, fatigue, or lack of know-how means visitors to Europe may feel frustrated or that they’ve wasted their precious travel dollars on a less-than-satisfying dining experience, but it doesn’t have to happen.
Keep these dining tips in mind, and you’re likely to find eating in Europe one of the highlights of your trip.
The Slow Food movement is nothing new. Originating in 1986 when Italian Carlo Petrini protested the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome, the Slow Food movement represents a response to the fast food lifestyle. With an emphasis on locally-grown ingredients and traditional, regional cuisine, the movement is responsible for some of the best dining experiences around the world.
Yes, the movement has a website and is well-organized, but in truth the Slow Food movement is less an association and more a philosophy. Eat simple. Eat authentic products. Eat traditional. Slow down. Enjoy. Promote local cuisine, small farms.
So, how can travelers explore and enjoy slow food?
You’ve booked your trip to Europe, made sure your passport is in order, packed your bags, and now you’re off on that trip of a lifetime.
What you might not have thought about is what to expect at your hotel. In the USA., hotel standards are pretty consistent. You know what to anticipate at a Motel 6 and what to look forward to at the Four Seasons. In Europe, the lines are not so clearly drawn.
In order to avoid disappointment and frustration, it’s helpful to know what to expect during your European hotel stay.
Self-drive options when traveling abroad give the most flexibility to travelers. Yet it’s important to consider whether it’s the best option for your particular destination and needs.
Here are 8 tips for making your decision and following through should you decide to rent a vehicle while traveling.
Americans are used to tipping in restaurants and for certain services, but when traveling abroad we are easily confused by what is customary and considerate. Every destination varies in tipping practices, but in Europe you can generally consider:
The deadline by which American travelers need a REAL ID or acceptable alternative to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities has been extended to May 2025.
River cruising is fabulous for many people, but is it right for you?
Only you can decide! We're happy to talk through the experience with you, but our handy list of pros and cons might help.
In recent years phone companies have made international service much more simple and affordable.
To stay in touch with loved ones back home, it's usually easy to make free internet-based calls via complimentary WiFi in hotels and other hotspots. Skype, WhatsApp, and iPhone's Facetime are great options for messaging and calls.
If you have a need to text to numbers outside your carrier or call landlines in the USA, you can purchase a temporary International calling plan from your phone service provider.
Travelers abroad often assume they need to add a small, but weighty, converter to their packing list, but a converter often isn’t required.
Why? Well, first, a quick vocabulary lesson:
Converter: this little box actually converts the voltage of the appliance or electronic item from your country’s typical voltage to that of the country you are visiting. The USA, most of the Americas, and Japan operate on 110/120 voltage. Most of the world, however, runs on 220/240, to include Europe, Africa, Australia, and most Asian countries.
If you haven’t flown abroad lately—or ever—you might feel a little confused about the regulations for flying to or within your international destination. Keep these pointers in mind, and you’ll do fine
Deciding whether to take credit cards or local currency on your vacation—and if so, how much—is a common dilemma travelers face.
Here, 10 points to consider:
1) First of all, alert your bank to your travel plans in advance so that your debit and credit card spending will not be blocked overseas. It is advisable to take both a credit card and debit card for emergencies even if you do not plan to use one of them. It's also a good idea to take more than one card in case there is a glitch and the card is not accepted at a certain vendor location or on a certain day.
Europe’s VAT—the Value-Added Tax—is essentially a sales tax, and can sometimes be refunded. That’s the good news. Every year, however, tourists leave behind millions of dollars’ worth of refundable tax.
Pro Tip: In order to secure a VAT refund, be sure to take your passport shopping with you and ask the retailer to complete the necessary paperwork. If they leave any portions of the paperwork blank, be sure you know how to fill them in.
The Schengen Agreement between 26 European countries eliminates border controls for individuals traveling between those countries. In other words, once inside the Schengen “zone,” travelers are not usually required to pass through customs or show their passports when going from one country in the Schengen Agreement to another.
An additional benefit for many travelers to Europe is that the Schengen Agreement eliminates the need for visas in many countries, depending upon the purpose and length of their stay.
Ah, there's nothin' like the luck of the Irish, and we're feeling it when we sip a lovely Irish coffee!
This delicious Pesto Bianco Ligure recipe from Italy is light, savory, and just right for spring gatherings.
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free and easy service of The Bureau of Consular Affairs of the US State Department. We call it peace of mind.
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