Top Destinations for International Travel

top destination for intl travel

Planning a trip that involves international travel can be a bit stressful. There are so many amazing destinations to visit! How do you know where to start? How do you know the destination you’ve selected is right for you? Take a deep breath and know it will all be okay once you are sitting in your version of paradise. Here are some top destinations for international travel to get you started in your search!

  • France: Get in touch with your romantic side and plan a trip to the city of Paris. While known for its top attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, it has so much more to offer as well. Take time to visit small neighborhood cafes, markets, and enjoy trendy shopping.
  • Spain: Be ready to fall in love with Barcelona. Its architecture is of the medieval era and will leave you in awe. View the unique building work of Antoni Gaudí while you enjoy tapas accompanied by a glass of fine wine.
  • Greece: Greece is back on the tourist market after experiencing a recent downturn in travel due to its economy. However, in 2015 you will see people traveling to Greece again, including going to Athens for the early history of western civilization. The islands of Crete and Santorini will also start to bring back beach goers who want to see some of the best beaches in the world.
  • United Arab Emirates: Plan a trip to Dubai to play with the rich and famous! The city is known as one of the biggest international gateways for the world’s elite. There is indoor skiing, the Burj Khalifa (or tallest building in the world), and some of the most luxurious hotels ever built.
  • Iceland: Iceland has become a huge travel spot, especially to Grindavík. The Blue Lagoon natural hot springs and northern lights call to a wide variety of international travel lovers.

Finding the top international travel destinations for you or your family does not have to be stressful. Let it be fun. Whether you plan one vacation a year or many international vacations, VitalChek can help you get ready for the big trip. If you need government certified vital records for your next trip, contact VitalChek

Tips for Traveling Abroad with Children

Happy family

Taking family vacations are what make up some of our most precious memories, both as children and adults. Do you have an international family vacation planned? If so, you should make sure that you and your children are ready by making an international travel checklist. The best family trips are always well organized! Making sure you and your family are prepared means more time for fun and less time spent stressing over what to do, or if you packed the right things for your children.

Traveling internationally with children can be very exciting because you get to show them a whole new world outside of their own. Yet, it can be stressful as a parent because you aren’t sure the best way to prepare or plan. Here are some tips for planning a trip abroad with children so you can rest assured your trip will go smoothly!

  • Obtain a passport for your child well in advance of your international travel dates. Make sure you give at least 6 weeks of processing time for the passport to arrive.
  • Plan some fun kid-focused activities for your child to do in-between the more adult-focused activities on your trip. It is always good to know where the nearest beach, lake, park, or toy shop is to keep children entertained.
  • For an easier time at the airport, print or have all boarding passes readily available prior to your trip.
  • Prepare your child for the security line at the airport. Talk about what is appropriate and inappropriate to say or do while at an airport. Also let them know about the process of taking off shoes or a belt and walking through a scanner, so this doesn’t scare them.
  • If you are traveling with a baby or toddler you can pack food for them like formula, baby food, etc. Security will not take away these items, and you are allowed to travel with as much as you need to make it to your destination.
  • If you have a long flight, make sure you and the kids stand up every few hours to walk around. Many flights will offer entertainment, but you can also download movies on an iPad prior to the flight just in case.
  • Pack a basic supplies backpack in case of common messy emergencies. Include items such as disinfectant wipes, bottled water, map of city you are visiting, tissues, snacks, sunscreen, small first aid kit, a small toy, and money in a secured pouch. Consider using a clip to secure zippers of the backpack to avoid pick-pocketers.

This international travel checklist for traveling with children should cover the basics for you and your family. If you need any vital records prior to your trip, VitalChek can help you! We offer quick and easy vital record ordering for any of your government record needs. Visit our website and learn more about our easy and secure ordering process.

Obtaining a Passport for International Travel

Obtaining a passport

Winter is one of the most popular seasons to travel internationally. This might be because the beach calls our name during the snowy and chilly weather season, or because the flights tend to be cheaper during the winter. Whatever the reason for your trip, you want to be sure to get your passport for international travel set up with plenty of time to spare. Here are some helpful international travel tips to help you prepare for your upcoming adventure with passport in hand.

Documents needed to obtain a passport for international travel:

  • First, make sure you have all your vital records, as proof of your identity is required in order to obtain a passport. You will need proof of your U.S. citizenship and photo identification. You will also need to make sure you have the proper government paperwork filled out and the appropriate form of payment ready.
  • As proof of citizenship, you can use a certified birth certificate, previous U.S. passport, consular report of birth abroad, or a certificate of naturalization/citizenship.
  •  A photo ID can be a valid driver’s license, undamaged passport, or government ID.
  • A completed DS-11 form (application for passport).
  • 2 passport photos, which must be in color and printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper at the proper size of 2 x 2 inches.
  • Checks for payment.

Now that you are prepared, you can either mail in your information through the U. S. State Department website or visit your nearest post office. If you would like to mail in your information, be ready to send in all of the above information. Don’t worry; your vital records (such as birth certificate and driver’s license) will be mailed back to you. If you would prefer to apply for your passport in person, most post offices act as a passport acceptance facility. Your town may also offer the courthouse, county office, or other government facilities as approved passport acceptance locations. Simply use the above website to look up your area and find the closest facility to you. Once you arrive you will be asked to hand in all of your paperwork, photos, and make payment. Don’t be surprised they will also ask to take your birth certificate and mail it in with your application. You will get it back in the mail when you receive your passport. Once the application and your paperwork is submitted, you will have your passport for international travel in about 4-6 weeks and will be ready for your trip!
VitalChek is your one stop center for all of your vital records needed to make your international travel planning easy. We provide you with a secure, authorized way to quickly order government endorsed birth certificates, so you can be off enjoying your travel and not stuck at home. Start the ordering process now and be on your way to your dream destination soon!

Essential Year-End Records Management Projects

Important Documents Records ManagementAs the end of the year approaches, quite likely you are focused on that big holiday gathering or perhaps a party to ring in the New Year. Make sure you save plenty of time for both of these in your schedule, but there’s something else on which you should also focus — records management of your important documents. The end of each physical year is the perfect time to get all of these documents organized and ready to be handled as necessary. Here are a few document-related projects to help you prepare for a brand new year! Continue reading

Relocating Internationally in the New Year: Here’s How to Obtain Your Birth Certificate

Relocating Internationally

The New Year is a great time to make big changes in your life. One of the biggest changes you could make is moving internationally. Yes, moving from the country you call home to another country is a big decision, and one that will generate a lot of paperwork and effort. However, the results could definitely be worth it. One of the most important steps to take may be obtaining your birth certificate if you do not already have one. Luckily, it is easier than you may think. Continue reading

Securing Vital Records to Get a Driver’s License Renewed

Renew LicenseRenewing a driver’s license is not on the top of anyone’s list of favorite things to do. Luckily, departments of driver services across the country are doing everything they can to make the process easier for drivers – without compromising the security of critical identification like a driver’s license. This includes making the waiting areas more comfortable, offering Wi-Fi and vending machines and some states even allow you to take care of some tasks with a self-service kiosk or online. While there are certain things that will always be an issue, such as obtaining and putting together the vital records and other needed documents, these tips may make things a little easier when it’s time to get your license renewed. Continue reading

Ready For Winter Sports Sign Ups? Here’s What You’ll Need

Youth Winter Sports

When it is freezing outside and all you want to do is curl up with a good book by the fire, it’s hard to think about signing your kids up to play sports. However, there are a number of winter sports available—many of which are mainly held indoors. Just like signing up for youth baseball, signing up for lacrosse, basketball, swimming, wrestling or indoor soccer will require that you furnish certain documents. Before you head out for registration, make sure you get the following items gathered up and ready to go.

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All You Need To Know About Passport Photos

Order Passport | Passport Timing How Quicly Can I Expect To Receive It

Preparing to go on an international trip, whether for work or pleasure, requires significant effort. In most cases, the experience is well worth it! One of the most stressful aspects of the preparation process can be obtaining your passport, including the dreaded passport photo. Never fear, your passport photo doesn’t need to be unflattering, but does need to follow specific requirements. In fact, getting a passport photo is easier than ever – you may even be able to do it yourself.

The entire process of requesting a passport, from filling out the paperwork, visiting your local passport office (if necessary), waiting for the paperwork to be processed and receiving your passport, as well as getting your passport photo, is detailed on the Department of the State website. We’ve summarized the passport photo requirements here, but be sure to check out the Department of the State website for full details.

The Requirements

According to The Department of the State, your passport photo must be:

  • Taken in full color
  • Printed on photo quality paper which can be either matte or glossy
  • Must be sized at 2” x 2”
  • Your head must be sized between 1” and 1 3/8”
  • Have been taken within the past 6 months to assure that it reflects your appearance as it is now
  • Have a white or off white background
  • You must be facing the camera fully
  • The photo must be taken from at least 4 feet away and at eye level
  • You must have a neutral expression and both eyes open
  • You must not be wearing a hat, sunglasses or distracting clothing
  • If you wear glasses on a daily basis, you can wear them—but there must not be a glare
  • Photos of children are slightly more flexible, but the child must still be able to be fully identified.

Where to Have Your Photo Taken

There are a number of options available to you for having your photos taken. Usually the easiest and safest is to go to a professional passport photographer. Many stores or pharmacies that offer photo developing services will also offer passport photography services. Another option is to have someone take your photo digitally, which you can then upload to the Department of State yourself using this photo tool.

Once you have your passport photo you’re ready to finish the process of applying. After all the effort needed to obtain your first passport, you will find that updating your passport in the future is much easier. Once you finally get that passport in your hands, you’re ready to travel—now all you have to do is pack!

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How to Avoid Holiday Identity Theft: What You Need to Know

No identity theft for holidays | How to Avoid Holiday Identity Theft: What You Need to Know

While you may know the basics on avoiding identity theft (not giving your social security number to just anybody, safeguarding your birth certificate, hiding your PIN number when you use an ATM), there is so much more to think about during the holiday season. Since it’s such a busy time (and a time that many of us do more shopping, traveling and the like), it only makes sense that identity theft rates soar this time of the year. However, if you’re proactive, you can avoid becoming a victim. Here are a few things that you need to know – and to share with those you love:

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