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Helpful Travel Tips and Links for Road Scholar Participants

Before You Leave
Emergency Contact Information
A Valid Passport
Carefully Read All Road Scholar Materials
Travel Advisories and Required Documents

Helpful Tips for Air Travel
Checking In and Upgraded Seating
Getting Through Security
Passengers With Special Needs
What to Bring in Your Carry-On Baggage

Helpful Tips While on Your Program
Credit Cards and ATM Bank Cards
Traveler's Checks
Creating Your Own Money Tablet
Making International Telephone Calls
How to Travel Light
Experience Real Local Life at the Grocery Store

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These suggestions have been created by our staff of travel experts. Please be aware that unforeseen occurrences can arise no matter how well-prepared you are when you travel.

Before You Leave

Emergency Contact Information 
Leave copies of your itinerary, passport and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency. When you enroll in a program, Road Scholar provides an emergency contact information page that you can share.

A Valid Passport 
If traveling abroad, make sure your passport is valid three to six months from your return date. For passport information for United States citizens visit www.state.gov/.

Carefully Read All Road Scholar Materials 
Carefully read the Program Preparatory Materials you receive from Road Scholar and prepare accordingly. It will include a suggested packing list, information about climate and physical activity and much more.

Travel Advisories and Required Documents 
We strongly recommend that US citizens who are traveling to a foreign county enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This is a free service provided by the US Government. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. Enrollment is voluntary and costs nothing. Enroll at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/us/

Travel Advisories for Geopolitical Events:

Travel Advisories for Health and Disease:

VISA information and applications for Road Scholar Programs:

DOT Disclosure of Aircraft Insecticide:
Some countries require insecticide spraying of aircraft prior to a flight or while you are on the aircraft. Federal law requires that all travelers are referred to the Department of Transportation (DOT) website at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/spray.htm. We suggest you always review this website to see whether the country you are visiting may allow for this. The Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 provides that the DOT must maintain an up-to-date list of possible insecticide spraying.

Helpful Tips for Air Travel

Checking In and Upgraded Seating 
Checking In: We strongly recommend that you check in through your airline’s website prior to travel. Many airlines offer e-boarding using a smart phone. At the airport, check in should be done two hours before for domestic flights and three hours before for international flights.

Seating: Many airlines now provide special seating with additional legroom, sometimes for a fee, either during booking or at check-in. If a medical condition makes additional legroom necessary, it is helpful to have a medical note to present at check-in, which may allow the gate agent to assign you bulkhead seating or expedited boarding.

Upgraded Seating: Road Scholar Travel has great specially negotiated business and premium class fares in many cases. Using Road Scholar will insure that your upgraded seat is booked in advance and secured. However, many airlines now provide upgraded seating to higher-class cabins within 24 hours of travel and/or at check-in, for a fee. The fee varies widely by carrier, but may be an affordable option for seating in premium or business class especially on an international flight. While not guaranteed that any space would be available, it is something to consider and can be done generally within 24 hours by visiting an airline's website or when checking in at the airport.

Helpful Resource: For a helpful resource for general travel information, including tips for long-term parking, currency converters, airline contact information and more, visit www.airwise.com.

Getting Through Security 
Security and Boarding: All travelers can contact the Transportation Security Administration using Talk To TSA, a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, (866) 289-9673 and SA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints. TSA requires you contact them at least 72 hours prior to travel.

If you are 75 or older you may qualify for a simpler security process at the airport including:
leaving your shoes on
leaving on your light outerwear such as a sweater
if metal detector is triggered, you will be allowed to pass through the detector a second time before undergoing a pat down

You can learn more here:

With TSA Pre-Check you can avoid security lines at the airport by pre-registering with the Transportation Security Administration. This program is expanding across the United States but is currently offered only in select airports. Learn more at www.tsa.gov/tsa-pre%E2%9C%93%E2%84%A2.

Global Entry is a very similar program to TSA Pre-Check and allows passengers to be 'pre-screened' for travel, expediting the airport security process. You can learn more at www.globalentry.gov/index.html.

Passengers With Special Needs 
At the time you are making your airline reservations, you can make an advance reservation for wheelchair assistance at the airport. Our Road Scholar Travel Advisor can make this request on your behalf with the airline when you are booking your travel. You may also call the airline directly 72 hours prior to your travel date and make this request directly yourself.

For travelers who need extra assistance, airlines will allow one caretaker through security and to the gate as long as the escort provides his or her full name, birth date and government-issued ID. It helps to request this at least a day ahead with the airline.

Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at (855) 787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares is an additional resource dedicated specifically to passengers with disabilities or medical conditions. It is also an excellent resource for travelers and their families who have concerns with the airport screening process.

The Transportation Security Administration web page for passengers with disabilities and medical conditions addresses materials allowed aboard the aircraft and advises you of your rights and what to expect for security procedures: www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/travelers-disabilities-and-medical-conditions.

Passengers with religious or cultural affiliations can check this website for permitted items and clothing acceptable on an aircraft: www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/civil-rights-travelers.

What to Bring in Your Carry-On Baggage? 
When packing your carry-on baggage, keep in mind that this will be all you have for a day or two if your luggage is lost. Therefore, you should take essential and valuable items. We recommend packing the following items in your carry-on luggage:
Your Road Scholar program materials, any visas you may need, and any other tickets or vouchers you will need for further travel after your program is over
Your passport and a photocopy for added security. (Carry your photocopies separately from the originals)
Your personal health insurance information
Your prescription medicine(s) with copies of prescription(s)
Extra eyeglasses/lenses and a copy of your prescription
A change of clothing
Your camera
Something to snack on, if it helps you during travel

Helpful Tips While on Your Program

Credit Cards and ATM Bank Cards 
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted around the world. Notify your credit card company that you are traveling abroad and inquire about foreign transaction fees, which can be a flat fee or percentage of the amount withdrawn. It is good practice to bring a photocopy of all of your credit and bank cards. It will be of great assistance if they are lost or stolen. A convenient way to obtain foreign currency is with your ATM bank card. Follow the instructions on the cash machine in English. You will need a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number). If you use your credit card to withdraw cash be aware that your credit card company may consider it a cash advance and charge interest from the date of the transaction.

Traveler's Checks 
Unfortunately, the service charge for changing traveler's checks has become very expensive and many banks no longer change them, so we do not recommend using traveler’s checks.

Make Your Own Money Tablet 
In many places around the world, even if only local currency or credit cards are used for meals and store purchases, a supply of small denomination US dollar bills comes in handy for incidentals such as postcards, a bottle of water, street vendors, or in case of emergencies. Many experienced travelers suggest carrying $25-$50 in one-dollar bills, $50 in five-dollar bills, $100 in ten-dollar bills, and $200 in twenty-dollar bills.

Three Steps to Make an International Telephone Call 
1. In order to make an international call, you must first gain access to the international telephone circuits by dialing an exit code. To gain access to the international telephone circuits when calling from the United States, dial the International Exit Code 011. To gain access to the international telephone circuits when calling from abroad, dial the International Exit Code 00.
2. After dialing the International Exit Code, you need to dial the country code number for the country you are calling.
3. Then dial the city code/area code and the local number.

What is a Trunk Code
Trunk Codes are single or double digit codes used to place calls within a certain country. They are left out when dialing in from abroad. For example, the Trunk Code for the US is 1. When calling long distance within the US you must dial 1 area code local number. This is left out when dialing in from abroad.

Click here for a list of country codes, international exit codes and trunk codes: http://www.howtocallabroad.com/codes.html.

How to Travel Light 
All of your items should fit into one small, lightweight suitcase with wheels. To save space in your suitcase, plan to wear your heaviest, bulkiest clothing. Travel is much more enjoyable if you aren’t burdened with heavy and large pieces of luggage.

In order to "travel light," you should plan to:
Do a small amount of hand-laundry every few days
Do without some of the conveniences and electrical appliances that you use at home
Wear the same few garments often
Take clothing that matches one basic color (navy blue, black or brown)
"Dress like an onion" (that is, in layers) according to the weather

Experience Real Local Life at the Grocery Store 
Whether you travel across the USA or across the world, one of the best ways to gain insight into the local culture is to stop by the grocery store. In some countries, this may be small individual boutiques, market stalls or large enterprises. What do things cost compared to what you pay at home? This is also a great place to strike up conversations with local people and really step outside the "tourist" sphere.

Be aware that, depending on the country, eating the local food may not be recommended. When you enroll in a Road Scholar program we provide you with detailed information about the local food.

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