Paperwork & Documents
Here are some tips, links, and lists to get you started before
knows you need a passport when you go abroad, but how do
you get one? Will you need a visa? The process is not that
complicated. You can apply for a passport at any federal
or state courthouse, and at your town's main branch post
office or even library.
The state department maintains websites with detailed information
about documents and governmental formalities you need to
know about when you travel abroad.
They'll even help you find the consulates in the countries
you're thinking about visiting.
Generally, travel in western and central Europe does not
require that you carry a visa if you'll be there for less
than 3 months, but if there's any chance you'll be visiting
any eastern European countries (even for less than 30 days),
you may need one. The sites listed above can help you figure
out if you need one. NOTE: This information is with consideration
as an American passport holder.
If you want to drive, you'll need an International Driving
Permit (aka IDP). Many countries allow driving for a short
period (given you have your license already), but the laws
change from country to country. To be safe, you can pick
up an an IDP at any AAA office for $10.
For renting a car in Europe, here are some requirements
(varies according to country): must be at least 21 years
old and have a drivers license (more specifically an IDP).
Also be forewarned that cars with automatic transmission
aren't as readily available.
- STUDENT ID:
The International Student Identity Card (aka ISIC) is the
most widely accepted student identity card. It can get you
discounts on travel, hotels, museums and historical sites.
These cards are $20. Ask for the ISIC Handbook to find where
discounts are available.
Learn more about
You get a better rate if you exchange your currency overseas
rather than in the US. Best rates are available when you
use a local ATM. The worst rates are given in convenience
areas like airports or train stations. Credit cards are
also a great way to use money (Your best bets are MasterCard
and Visa for acceptance). Travelers Cheques are always a
Before leaving make sure you have copies of all of the above
information. Put them in a different location from originals
in case you are separated from them.