Summer is the original vacation season, and international destinations are expected to lure more U.S. travelers in the coming months. According to the U.S. Travel Association’s March 2024 data, air passenger growth remains strong, and foreign visits have seen 24 percent year-over-year growth. For our many guests planning to “cross the pond” for the first time this year, we’re highlighting four important items you need to address BEFORE you hop on the Fast Park shuttle to the airport! 

  1. Check your travel documents (and prep for customs). Is your passport valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates? Is a visa required for travel to your destination? Verify entry requirements of all international destinations you’re visiting. Also beware of obscure rules and restrictions you normally wouldn’t think twice about, like brining allergy meds into Japan or chewing gum into Singapore (yes, it’s banned!). You also shouldn’t plan on returning to the states with any toy-filled Kinder chocolate treats either. These seemingly minor infractions could create a customs conundrum and sour your trip!
  2. Make sure your money is in order. Alert your banks and credit cards of your travel plans. Tell them where you’re headed and when to avoid security alerts that freeze your accounts. Also be aware that not all card types are universally accepted, so bring more than one type of credit card (e.g., American Express and Visa). It’s also a smart idea to have local currency in your wallet. While currency exchanges at the airport are convenient, currency exchange stores and kiosks at airports mark up the exchange rate. Visit a bank or ATM to receive more favorable rates.
  3. Figure out your phone plan. It’s likely your itinerary, including mobile tickets and confirmation emails, lives on your smartphone. And the second you land overseas, you’ll almost certainly need it upon leaving the airport. Update your phone plan before you leave the U.S. and understand the steps for activation. (Hint: It usually requires that you completely power down your device and turn it back on after you reach your destination.) Call your provider with your travel plans, and they’ll recommend a data package to best fit your needs. Relying on Wi-Fi for texts and internet is also an option as is investing in a local SIM card to avoid data roaming.
  4. Dissect your destination(s). The only way to make a new place abroad feel familiar is by doing your homework. Study maps, watch educational videos and scan traveler reviews for candid feedback and any red flags associated with local accommodations or excursions. If you’re worried about encountering a language barrier, consider learning just a few simple words and phrases to better engage with locals and find your way around more easily.

No travel plan is more important and sensitive than one that takes you somewhere foreign, especially if it’s your first time abroad. Oh, and one final Fast Park tip: Also take care of your parking reservation at least a week in advance of travel to guarantee your parking accommodations. Lots will fill this summer!

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