The holiday season is here and many people are traveling to see loved ones or visit favorite places. Some will receive airline tickets as a present and may be taking their first overseas trip. Travel is easy for most Americans. A passport is needed for travel out of the country. Visas are necessary for Americans to enter many foreign countries, just as visitors from other countries must obtain visas to enter the States.
One important tip for inexperienced travelers is to prepare a small health kit. There aren’t specific guidelines for what to include, as individual needs vary. Just think about what you might need for routine care, such as aspirin, band-aids, or sterile hand wash. Experts stress that you take only the prescription medications needed for the time you expect to be gone, keep them in the original containers, and keep all medications with you rather than packing them in your luggage.
Travel to Africa
Africa offers numerous beautiful vacation spots and a multitude of celebrations and activities. Although Americans tend to think of Africa as just one country, it includes dozens of countries. Of all the African nations, only three are suffering from the Ebola crisis. Those three are Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Warnings from the Center for Disease Control and U.S. State Department are in place against non-essential travel to those countries by Americans.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) most of Africa has not seen confirmed Ebola cases and there is little risk of infection for travelers. People are able to travel at will, needing only to obtain local visas for the countries that require them. Because tourism has decreased so significantly in Africa, now might be a good time to visit. You won’t be dealing with crowds of tourists at popular locations, and might even find lots of bargains when it comes to travel costs.
Travel to Cuba
With President Obama’s recent lifting of the sanctions against Cuba, people are looking forward to visiting that lovely island. Don’t buy your ticket yet, as it will be awhile before you can go there just to relax and enjoy the sights. Most trips will continue to require permission from the U.S. government unless, and until, Congress lifts the existing travel restrictions.
Nevertheless, the travel situation has improved. American citizens have long been able to travel to Cuba under a “general license.” Those licenses previously needed case-by-case approval. Special permission is no longer required. The general license includes travel for events like artistic performances and athletic contests, humanitarian efforts, and business trips regarding export of certain products.
The U.S. State Department maintains a site for passport information and details about every country. The country information section describes visa requirements, special laws, and health facilities. There’s a section listing the address of the U.S. Embassy with contact information should you need help while in-country. They also maintain an up-to-date listing of travel warnings and alerts. So pack your bags and climb aboard—there’s nothing to stop you from exploring all those faraway places with the strange-sounding names.