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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. Why is double occupancy less than single occupancy on air and hotel packages?
  2. Do I really need to go to the airport two hours or more before my flight?
  3. Is it true that if someone cancels their vacation, their trip is automatically offered at a lower price to get rid of the space?
  4. Is it cheaper to fly out of O'Hare than Midway?
  5. When is the best time to go to the Caribbean or Mexico?
  6. Do I need a passport to travel to Mexico or the Caribbean?
  7. How long will it take to receive my passport?
  8. Where can I find the nearest passport facility?
  9. Help! I'm traveling within fourteen days and need a passport. What can I do?
  10. With all the changes regarding allowed and restricted items, exactly what can I bring and not bring?
  11. What are the new rules regarding liquids, medication, etc. and luggage?
  12. What are the new rules concerning lithium batteries in checked luggage?

 

  1. Why is double occupancy less than single occupancy on air and hotel packages?

    Room cost is divided between the number of people staying in the room. If one person stays alone, that person absorbs the entire room cost.

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  2. Do I really need to go to the airport two hours or more before my flight?

    After the events of 9/11, airport check-in procedure is more strict than ever. Showing up at the airport well before your flight allows ample time for clearing security check points, initial ticket counter check-in, better choice of seat assignments on charters, and less hassle overall.

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  3. Is it true that if someone cancels their vacation, their trip is automatically offered at a lower price to get rid of the space?

    Packages and air only seats are only discounted if there is an overabundance of space. These discounts usually occur a month to two months prior to travel. Two seats are not enough to bother with.

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  4. Is it cheaper to fly out of O'Hare than Midway?

    There is no concrete rule that flying out of one airport versus another will guarantee a lower rate. The best option is to be flexible in departure from both airports.

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  6. When is the best time to go to the Caribbean or Mexico?

    It depends. For lower prices, off-season for both areas is considered summer and fall. Hurricane season, however, also covers a portion of that period. Hurricane season is traditionally late summer through the end of November. By traveling in the winter months, you will usually avoid dangerous weather, but conversely prices also go up as well.  

    For lower prices in the winter, early January is considered a better time for travel; high season is mid-January through April. May is often the beginning of off-season. Avoiding holidays can also help to keep prices lower. Most people want to take off near a holiday so as to avoid taking one less vacation day. Holiday travel can drive up the price and significantly reduce availability. Spring break, which runs from mid-March to mid-April, is also a heavy travel period. Traveling during the week instead of a weekend can help reduce prices too.

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  8. Do I need a passport to travel to Mexico or the Caribbean?

    Effective January 8th 2007, it is mandatory for all U.S. citizens
    traveling internationally to have a passport. As listed verbatim by the
    U.S. State Department: January 8, 2007 - Requirement applied to all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Prior to the above date, acceptable proof of citizenship is a state certified copy of birth (not a hospital birth certificate) along with a valid photo ID (drivers license or state ID). In cases of women who are married or divorced, a marriage certificate or divorce decree is needed to bridge the last name change between maiden vs married.Is it HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you apply for a passport ASAP if you plan on traveling internationally. For general information on applying for a passport click here.

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  10. How long will it take to receive my passport?

    If you apply at a passport acceptance facility or by mail (for renewal, additional pages, and amendment) and choose routine service, you will receive your passport within six weeks.* If you apply at a passport acceptance facility or by mail (for renewal, additional pages, and amendment) and choose expedited service plus overnight delivery service for expedited service for sending your application and returning your passport to you, it will be two weeks.

    **Processing times can vary depending on workload and occasional unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters. During busier times, it is encouraged that customer expedite their applications if traveling in less than 8 weeks.)

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  12. Where can I find the nearest passport facility?

    This website has a searchable database to help you find the nearest passport facility. iafdb.travel.state.gov

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  14. Help! I'm traveling within fourteen days and need a passport. What can I do?

    For Chicago or Illinois residents, follow this link: http://travel.state.gov/passport/npic/agencies/agencies_905.html. For non-Chicago residents, follow this link: http://travel.state.gov/passport/hurry/hurry_831.html. There is no charge for an appointment at a passport agency. Customers should not pay anyone or any business making such a charge. Passport Agencies assist customers with urgent travel needs (generally if you are traveling within 2 weeks) and require proof of departure. Most Passport Agencies are open by appointment only and require proof of your travel date or need for foreign visas.

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  16. With all the changes regarding allowed and restricted items, exactly what can I bring and not bring?

    The best way to stay aware of the latest changes is to periodically monitor the TSA website. Here is the direct link:
    http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information

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  18. What are the rules regarding liquids, medication, etc. and luggage?

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) adjusted its total ban on liquids, gels and aerosols on September 26, 2006. There are two significant changes: Travelers will be allowed to carry travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably in ONE quart-size, clear plastic, zip-top bag through security checkpoints. Travelers may also bring items, including beverages, purchased in the secure, boarding area or on-board the aircraft. Existing exemptions, including larger amounts of required medications, baby formula and diabetic glucose treatments, must be declared to security officers at the entrance of the checkpoint for screening. For additional information and travel tips, please go to http://www.tsa.gov/. TSA first implemented the ban on all liquids, gels and aerosols on August 10 after U.K. officials uncovered a terrorist plot involving transatlantic flights bound for the United States.

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  19. What are the rules concerning lithium batteries in checked luggage?

    Lithium Battery Limits in Carry-on Baggage Effective January 1, 2008
    Summary: Passengers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning January 1, 2008, once new federal safety rules take effect.

    US DOT Hazmat Safety Rule to Place Lithium Battery Limits in Carry-on Baggage on Passenger Aircraft Effective January 1, 2008

    Passengers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning January 1, 2008, once new federal safety rules take effect. The new regulation, designed to reduce the risk of lithium battery fires, will continue to allow lithium batteries in checked baggage if they are installed in electronic devices, or in carry-on baggage if stored in plastic bags.

    Common consumer electronics such as travel cameras, cell phones, and most laptop computers are still allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. However, the rule limits individuals to bringing only two extended-life spare rechargeable lithium batteries (see attached illustration), such as laptop and professional audio/video/camera equipment lithium batteries in carry-on baggage.

    "Doing something as simple as keeping a spare battery in its original retail packaging or a plastic zip-lock bag will prevent unintentional short-circuiting and fires," said Krista Edwards, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

    Lithium batteries are considered hazardous materials because they can overheat and ignite in certain conditions. Safety testing conducted by the FAA found that current aircraft cargo fire suppression system would not be capable of suppressing a fire if a shipment of non-rechargeable lithium batteries were ignited in flight.

    "This rule protects the passenger," said Lynne Osmus, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assistant administrator for security and hazardous materials. "It's one more step for safety. It's the right thing to do and the right time to do it."

    In addition to the new rule, PHMSA is working with the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the battery and airline industries, airline employee organizations, testing laboratories, and the emergency response communities to increase public awareness about battery-related risks and developments. These useful safety tips are highlighted at the public Web site: http://safetravel.dot.gov/.

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