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8 – Vital Packing Tips & Advice

Packing Right

1.  Make a packing list

The easiest way to ensure you don’t over pack or under pack is to make a list. Figure out what you need for each day and list it. Type it, print it, check it off. You can always ask Jolly Mon for a copy of his own trip packing list!

2.  Choose a method

Your goal is to have what you need, meet flight requirements and get it there safely. I firmly believe in two packing methods. One is called, ‘packing light’ and the other is rolling. These methods can save you a lot of space and cause less wrinkles! ‘Packing Light’ is a method that folds clothes together in one big bundle. Rolling (or Ranger Rolling, tightly rolling each garment makes for more room in the suitcase. (which is great for motor coach touring where you live out of your suitcase) Choose a method that works for you. You can continue reading about this here: Click Here!

3.  Know before you go

Know your airline/cruise ship and TSA baggage rules. You can find out by checking your documents, the airlines website FAQ, and the TSA’s site. Know your weight restriction and baggage sizes BEFORE you pack. Nothing is more frustrating than being over the weight limit at the airlines baggage scale and shuffling clothes or paying enormous extra fees! Your travel agent can help you with this.

4.  Layers and dual purpose garments

Pack for wearing clothes in layers according to climate. Instead of a bulky coat, you can pack a couple of garments to ‘layer’ for warmth. This gives you more items to wear and cuts the bulk during packing. Dual purpose garments are something you wear with multiple other garments or pants that turn into shorts. Each pair of pants or trousers can go with multiple tops. Bring comfortable shoes that can be worn with multiple outfits and still be comfy! Saving space while offering more options.

5.  Never check your essential items

Valuables, medications, passports, money, credit cards, electronics, important documents and such should always be brought onto the plane in your carry-on bag. Keep them secure and close to you.

6.  Extra bags

Pack an extra tote bag into your luggage. They squish flat and come in handy for trips to the beach, a shore excursion, bringing towels to the pool or keeping your things together and secure. They can also come in handy if you buy some souvenirs at your destination and run out of room to pack them in your luggage. You can put them in the tote bag and use it as your ‘personal item’ to be carried onboard the plane and tucked under the seat in front of you. Smart packing!

7.  Mark it

Tie a colorful ribbon to the handle, or mark your suitcase with colorful tape if it doesn’t stand out in a sea of other suitcases. Remove all old airline or cruise tags. Attach a luggage tag with your cell phone number/name so that it can be identified. I like to put that information INSIDE the case as well. If the tag gets ripped off, they can still find you.

8.  Purchase and protect

Luggage is a personal choice but there are things to consider. No matter what amount of money you spend on a suitcase, it is going to get beat up. Cheap luggage won’t last long. Plastic gets broken, soft sides get ripped and it doesn’t hold up well. Many larger suitcases are simply too big. If you pack them full, it will be over the weight restriction. Buy the size that fits your needs and purchase the best you can afford. A well-made suitcase will hold up longer, protect your things and pay you back in longevity. Keep a close eye on your luggage during travel.

BONUS TIP:  Use your smartphone to take a picture of the items inside your suitcase before you close it up and again once it’s closed. If the luggage goes missing,  can show the airline staff what it looks like and you will also have proof of what’s inside for any claims that need to be made.

Jolly Mon Vacations and River Cruise Guru assist with all your travel needs from start to finish. Planning travel is a lot more than simply booking it. A lot of thought MUST go into the choice because not all destinations, resorts, hotels or cruise ships are the same. Pick the wrong one for YOU and your vacation could turn into a nightmare.

Trust in us, contact us today!

Pete Larson,

Certified Travel Associate / Owner,

www.JollyMonVacations.com & www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

Phone:  218-779-3050

pete@jollymonvacations.com

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8 Tips on How to Go Through Customs & Immigration

customsWhen you arrive at your island destination you will need to clear immigration & customs. Each country is a little different, but the process is very similar. You can expedite this process by being properly prepared.
Preparation begins when you pack for your trip and if you plan to purchase any duty-free items in the U.S airport. Every island has different restrictions on what you can bring in “duty-free”. Each island also has “prohibited items”.

Depending on the airport and/or airline you depart from you may need to pick up your own immigration and customs forms at the gate prior to boarding. Other times they are distributed by flight attendants once you are in the air. Don’t forget to bring an ink pen to fill out the forms!

You will need to fill out an immigration form for each passenger. Go slow to avoid mistakes. Date format is often different from what you may be used to. Be sure to sign form. Some countries, like Jamaica, have a separate immigration card attached to form. You need to fill it out as well or you will be delayed at immigration. For most countries you will also need to fill out customs form. These are generally per family, but if you passports have different surnames you may want to fill one out for each different name. You most likely will have nothing to declare.

When you arrive at destination, proceed to immigration. Cell phones and cameras may not be used in immigration and customs areas. Please stay behind line and wait for next available immigration agent. You will need to present you passport and forms. Be polite and answer any questions asked. Once through immigration you can put your passports away in safe place. Keep customs forms handy.

Proceed to the baggage claim area. Make sure you get all your bags and that they are YOUR bags. You can grab a cart to make it easier. Check to see if customs exit has “Nothing to Declare” lines and get in line. Depending on county, the customs official will review your customs form and/or interview you. On occasion the customs agents may want to perform a physical inspection of you luggage.

8 Tips on How to Go Through US Customs & Immigration

1
Onboard your flight, you will be given customs and immigration documents. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, then you will need to fill out an I-94 form. If you are a U.S. Citizen, then you do not need this form. All passengers must also complete a customs declaration form. This form is required for both U.S. and Foreign citizens. Make sure to have the required documents completed before you enter the customs and immigration facilities.

2
When you deplane, follow the signs directing you to international arrivals, immigration and customs. Most often, you will walk through a hallway or go down an escalator to the customs and immigration facilities. In rare circumstances (mostly at smaller, more poorly run airports), you will need to ride a bus.

3
The first stop is at Passport Control/Immigration. If you are a U.S. Citizen, go to the lanes marked United States Citizens. If you are non-U.S. Citizen, go to the lanes marked Foreign Citizens. If you have another flight to connect with, there are sometimes special lanes for Connecting Passengers.

4
Give your passport and immigration/customs forms to the officer. He/she will look at your passport, scan it, and possibly validate it. He/she will also retain any I-94 forms, and validate and return the customs forms.

5
After you clear Passport Control, follow the signs to Baggage Claim. Here, you will claim your checked baggage, even if you have another flight to connect with. Check the screens for the carousel number that your flight has been assigned to and wait for your bags to appear.

6
Once you have claimed your bags, your next stop is at Customs. If you do not have any items to declare, proceed to the green lanes marked “Nothing to Declare”. If you do have items to declare, proceed to the red lanes marked “Goods to Declare”. Here, you will turn in your customs form and if you do not have anything to declare, you will be waved through to the exit.

7
If you have another flight to connect with, follow the signs marked “Connecting Flights/Connecting Baggage Drop-off” as you leave the customs area. If you are already at your final destination, skip straight to step 8. When you get to the connecting baggage carousel, be sure to place any liquids, gels, and aerosols that are over 3 oz, or any other items that are not allowed through TSA security checkpoints in your checked luggage. Check that your baggage tags match your final destination. Place your luggage on the conveyor belt, wheels or handles facing up (the bag itself should be upside down).

Continue following the signs marked Connecting Flights, and proceed through security to the departures area.

8
If you are already at your final destination, follow the exit and ground transportation signs. Once you exit the customs and immigration facilities you will be in the International Arrivals area. Here you will meet up with friends and family, or proceed to courtesy shuttles, taxis, rental cars, or other ground transportation.

For more information and FREE ASSISTANCE with your travel plans, please contact a professional travel consultant at Jolly Mon Vacations today!
No charges, no fees…just expert advice and assistance! No strings attached.

218-779-3050
pete@jollymonvacations.com
www.JollyMonVacations.com
www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

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