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Travel Tips

THE RENAISSANCE GROUP, LLC. offers you the following advice to help make your travel easier and more enjoyable.  If we may be of additional assistance to you in planning your trip, please do not hesitate to let us know.  Please bear in mind that these suggestions are provided to all our passengers and are, therefore, somewhat general in nature. Remember that NOT ALL OF THESE SUGGESTIONS WILL APPLY TO EACH CITY OR COUNTRY TO WHICH YOU MAY BE TRAVELLING.
PASSENGERS MAY NOT HAVE LIQUIDS OR GELS OF ANY SIZE AT THE SCREENING CHECKPOINT OR IN THE CABIN OF THE AIRCRAFT
Restricted items include beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency. Such items may be transported in checked baggage
Passengers may carry on board:
- Baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling.
- Prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket.
- Insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines.
PASSPORT & VISAS:  Every traveler leaving the United States must have a valid passport.  You can get an application at the Post Office.  Those of you who are not citizens of the United States should contact our office for information concerning visa requirements when you make your reservations with us.  Passports are now valid for ten years from the date of issue.  A new passport will be required after the expiration.  Please make sure your passport is signed and will not expire until at least six (6) months after your return home. While you are out of the United States, you will probably handle your passport frequently.  Always keep your passport with you.  DO NOT PACK IT IN YOUR LUGGAGE!  A suggestion: write down your passport number, place and date of issue, and keep this information elsewhere.  Should you misplace or lose your passport during your trip, you can retrieve its pertinent information. Visas are required for certain countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, but not for Western European countries.
PLEASE NOTE:  We will advise you accordingly whenever U.S. citizens are required to obtain visas to visit certain countries.  However, if you are holding the passport of another country, it is imperative that you advise us immediately, so that we can determine if any visas are required for your travel.
IMPORTANT:  IF YOU ARE TRAVELING TO AN ARAB COUNTRY OTHER THAN EGYPT, YOU CANNOT HAVE AN ISRAELI STAMP SHOWN ON YOUR PASSPORT.  IF YOU DO HAVE SUCH A STAMP FROM A PREVIOUS TRIP, IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR YOU TO OBTAIN A NEW PASSPORT.  ALSO, WHEN ARRIVING IN ISRAEL, PLEASE BE SURE TO ASK THE IMMIGRATION OFFICERS NOT TO STAMP YOUR PASSPORT; THEY WILL BE GLAD TO OBLIGE.
INSURANCE:  Baggage and accident insurance are recommended.  We are forwarding the application forms with this information sheet and will issue your policy prior to departure, if you desire.
DOMESTIC AIR RESERVATIONS:  If you advise us of the home city of your preference, we will make reservations at the lowest available rates for your travel to and from the gateway city in conjunction with your international flights.
FINANCE:  Credit cards are honored in most European countries.  However, your bank may require notification that you will be over seas.  Exchanges can be made for local currencies through local banks and airports abroad and if necessary in your hotel lobby (not recommended due to higher fees).
AIR TICKETS & OTHER TOUR DOCUMENTS:  Your final itinerary will be sent to you within 15 days of the departure date (or, in some cases, be distributed to all at the airport). 
CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS FOR WOMEN:  Comfortable shoes, dresses, suits or slacks; tissues, slippers, all-weather coat, and sweaters, etc.  To enter churches, women can either wear pants or dresses and skirts that are knee length; shoulders must be covered. 
CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS FOR MEN:  Comfortable shoes, sports jacket, slacks, all-weather coat, shirts, ties, tissues, slippers, shaving equipment. To enter churches, men must wear pants and shirt, shorts are not permitted.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS:  We recommend including the following:  pens and small note pads, travel alarm clock, a few band-aids.  If you bring a camera, take plenty of film with you; film is much more expensive abroad than in the States.  It is usually possible to secure American cigarettes in most major cities, but sometimes they are hard to find and are always expensive.  Complimentary matches are not as common in Europe as in the U.S.  You might also want to include some packaged moist towelettes. 
ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES:  If you plan to take a travel iron, electric razor or other appliances, select one of the new dual-voltage models with its own set of convertible international plugs, or else an adapter may be purchased at a Radio Shack or similar store.
MEDICINE:  If you are traveling with medicine which is issued only with a prescription, please bring along extra medication to last the length of your trip, as your medicine may not be available in many areas.  Remember, all prescriptions must be labeled (preferably with the original label from the pharmacy) or you may risk having your medication confiscated at Customs.  If you are under treatment with narcotics, you must have a letter from your physician authorizing their use.  If you carry life-saving medication with you such as insulin, digitalis or nitroglycerin tablets which must be administered by another person in case of an attack, coma or shock, make certain to wear the necessary identification tag or bracelet.
BAGGAGE:  For tours of more than two weeks, we suggest one suitcase and one overnight bag, therefore pack lightly.  For tours of less than two weeks (specifically the 7 to 11 day Holy Land pilgrimages), you must limit yourself to the smallest size suitcase possible per person and an overnight bag.  Each person must take care of his or her own overnight bag.
DO NOT PACK OR CARRY THE FOLLOWING: Fireworks, signal flares or any explosives; flammable materials, including matches; drain cleaners or solvents; pressure containers (spray cans, butane fuel, scuba tanks, propane tanks or CO2 cartridges); weapons (firearms, ammunition or mace); other hazardous materials, such as dry ice, gasoline, powered tools, wet-cell batteries, camping equipment with fuel, radioactive materials, poisons, or infectious substances.
HOTELS:  In most cases, you will find excellent service everywhere, delicious food, and comfortable rooms.  But, please bear in mind that even the best hotels abroad are not always built or equipped like our modern U.S. hotels.  The main thing to remember is that you will enjoy yourself by taking things as you find them.
MEALS:  With the exception of when traveling in England and Ireland, the average breakfasts everywhere else consist of rolls and coffee.  Outside of breakfast, items such as coffee and tea are not considered part of the meal, and therefore, the hotel will bill you separately for these drinks.  Food preparation in the hotels selected is on a par with U.S. standards.  However, food not purchased in your hotel should be chosen with care.
WINE, LIQUORS, ETC:  Wine, liquors, mineral waters, soft drinks, sodas, etc. are not included in the tour price and will be billed to you individually by the hotel as they are served to you or when you check out. 
HOTEL CHECK-OUTS:  Many tour members will use a tour service, valet or other personal services.  Such charges should be settled with the hotel cashier at least two or three hours before check-out time. 
TIPPING:  Please consult your individual itinerary to see if tips (gratuities) are or are not included in the price of your tour.
FOREIGN CUSTOMS AND FORMALITIES:  You will go through customs each time you leave one country and enter another.  Often this merely means having your passport stamped by the officials.  However, you should also bear in mind that it is good to keep your luggage orderly so that it can be opened for inspection, if necessary.  In some areas, luggage must be fumigated.  Please make sure that all bottles carried in your luggage are tightly closed, and that cosmetics and other toilet articles are wrapped in plastic bags.  Customs agents are generally very courteous; they will allow you to take in almost anything except narcotics and an excessive amount of cigarettes and liquor.  Do not volunteer any information; just remain calm and answer any questions that are posed. 
CONNECTING FLIGHTS:  Passengers on domestic flights are advised to check their luggage through to their final destination from their city of origin.  “Land only” passengers will be able to pick up transfers at the airport of arrival only if they are at the airport at the same time that the tour group arrives.  Buses cannot wait, and passengers who miss their airport connections must meet the group at the hotel in the first scheduled overnight city.
U.S. CUSTOMS PROCEDURES:  It will be helpful if, before your return, you make a list of articles acquired on your trip as you purchase them.  You are allowed duty-free merchandise worth up to $500.00 (retail value).  Always retain your sales slips and have them available for customs inspection.  You are also allowed to mail gifts valued under $10.00 to relatives and friends in the U.S., as long as they do not contain tobacco, liquor, or perfume with alcohol.  You can mail as many of these gifts as you like, as long as you do not mail more than one per day to an individual.  Mark “UNSOLICITED GIFT” on the outside of each package.  DO NOT list these purchases on any of your declarations for customs purposes.  If you are taking expensive jewelry, cameras, or other items of foreign manufacture, declare them to customs officials before you leave the U.S., so that you will have no difficulty on your return.
VACCINATIONS:  We will advise you of any necessary shots.  Generally, the only shots required are for cholera at certain parts of the Orient and Middle East.  There has not been a reported case of smallpox since 1977, and the Center for Disease Control does not recommend that you get a vaccination for this.  We do advise, however, that each passenger consult his/her doctor for individual and particular advice in regard to one’s health needs.
 

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Renaissance Group LLC
20897 Planetree Forest Ct. Potomac Falls, VA 20165  
tel. 703.430.0030    I    fax. 703.430.1440    I    toll free. 800.304.8259

info@rengp.com

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