Top 6 Legal Tips for Summer Travel
Nearly 100 million Americans visit destinations across the United States and abroad every summer. Whether you’re going on a summer road trip to a U.S. state or far across the ocean, alone or with your children — getting legally prepared for your summer travel is a must. US Legal Forms offers several Personal Planning Packages with essential legal documents available for immediate download. Using these packages, you will be prepared for any travel emergencies and have your important documents and forms in order.
In this post, you will find tips to keep you and your family safe on vacation. Also, there is a list of documents a child needs when traveling with another family or parents.
Getting Ready for Summer Traveling
Safety is an essential part of traveling for yourself and your family. Here are the top 6 tips and tricks that you can use to get ready for a vacation:
- Protect yourself from travel scams
The Federal Trade Commission has a checklist of things to be aware of when booking summer travel. Recommendations include doing online research on travel companies, hotels, and rentals with the keywords “scam” and “complaint” included in your search and to ask about extra costs such as resort fees, taxes, and cancellation policies before you pay. This also applies to any insurance business, lawyer, or law firm offering travel-related services.
- Make copies of important travel documents
Passports, driver’s licenses, and other important papers can be lost or stolen on vacation, especially when traveling abroad. The U.S. State Department recommends making two copies of travel-related documents in the event of an emergency. One copy should be left with a trusted relative or friend, and the other you should carry with you apart from your original documents. You can also scan documents and store them on your smartphone or cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive. If that’s the case, make sure you can access them at any time — you might need to make a printout in the case of an emergency.
- Prepare legal documents and copies
There are several documents that need to be prepared ahead of time — Will, Living Will, and Travel Power of Attorney. Preparing these essential legal forms in advance can help you and your family in case of accidents, medical, and other emergencies. Consult a traveling attorney in your local area for assistance, if necessary. You can also prepare legal forms on your own by downloading state-specific travel documents online. We offer several Personal Planning Packages with essential legal documents available for immediate download.
- Get travel insurance
One of the ways to ensure a safe vacation abroad is by having travel medical insurance for trips outside the country. This type of coverage pays “reasonable and customary charges” for costs such as:
- Doctor bills
- Ambulance service
- Hospital room charges
- Operating room charges
- Examinations, X-rays, and lab tests
Note that purchasing travel insurance once you have booked your trip is a great way to save. Specific types of coverage are available between 14 to 21 days after making the first trip deposit. For instance, coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and a “cancel for any reason” upgrade.
- Guard Against Identity Theft
Identity theft increases during the summer. Tourists tend to be prime targets for those seeking to steal personal data. To better guard yourself and your relatives against this unfortunate scenario, be mindful of your personal information, currency, and possessions at all times while away from home. It’s better to check your travel documents in the morning and evening to make sure you have your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, money, and any other personal records at hand. Also, it’s important to be careful while accessing your mail inbox and social media accounts from an unsecured or public Wi-Fi network.
- Notify Financial Institutions
Before a vacation, it’s required to contact your bank and credit card companies in advance. If you travel far from home or internationally, this allows you to avoid restrictions being placed on your debit and/or credit card accounts. Banks and credit card companies can detect suspicious activities which are outside your normal spending patterns. It’s better to inform financial institutions about your travels beforehand. At the same time, contact your bank or credit card company immediately if you notice a credit or debit card is lost or stolen to minimize potential unauthorized use.
- Learn more about International Laws and Foreign Travel Issues
Suppose you want to visit a foreign country. In that case, it is worthwhile to review the Traveler’s Checklist put out by the U.S. State Department and similar online resources, which cover topics such as crisis planning, health precautions, money matters, visas, international driving permits, traveling with minors, and more. In some cases, you might need to consult a legal professional to get advice about the laws and regulations in the country you’re traveling to.
- Consider Estate Planning
Estate planning is not the most pleasant thing to consider when going on vacation. However, determining how your assets will be preserved, managed, and distributed after death or in the event of becoming incapacitated is a necessary move. Planning tasks include making a will, setting up trusts, making charitable donations to limit estate taxes, naming an executor and beneficiaries, and setting up funeral arrangements. For more information, explore the Personal Planning Package provided by US Legal Forms.
Three Must-Have Legal Documents on Vacation
To free your mind from worry during vacation, it’s better to prepare a few legal documents. Having the proper legal documents in place before travel is an important part of the trip preparation process.
Be sure to have the following documents in place and up-to-date:
- Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a document issued to a designated person called an agent, allowing this person to manage one’s finances, property, medical-related activities, etc. The person granting authorization is referred to as the principal or donor. The principal authorizes the agent to act on their behalf legally. The most common reasons for a Power of Attorney are the principal’s physical or mental illnesses and disabilities, as well as the inability to be present to sign important documents.
- Advance Medical Directive and Health Care Power of Attorney
An Advance Medical Directive expresses your wishes about your health care and end-of-life medical decisions, such as in what situations you would like life support measures to be terminated or continued. This document defines acceptable measures for saving or prolonging a patient’s life by medical staff or first-responders. It also includes statements about pain management and comfort measures that are desirable or allowable. In addition, you can assign a person who may make medical decisions for you if doctors determine that you are not capable of making your own decision.
- Revocable Living Trust or Will
A Living Will is an effective way to provide lifetime and after-death property management and estate planning. When you set up a Living Trust or Will, you are the Grantor; anyone you name within the Trust who will benefit from the assets in the Trust is a beneficiary. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. The revocable trust can be amended or discontinued at any time. An irrevocable trust can’t be modified or discontinued — individuals who use the Revocable Living Trust transfer title of their property into the trust.
US Legal Forms offers a Personal Planning Pack, which contains essential life documents and information on organizing documents. Each package includes a Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney forms, and other documents you may need. All the documents we offer are state-specific, so they meet all your needs and requirements.
Travel Documents Every Child Must Have When Going on Vacation
If you plan to send your children to a summer camp or on vacation alone, you’ll need to prepare a few other travel documents for children.
- Valid and up-to-date passport or child’s birth certificate
Of course, your child should travel with the primary documents. Pack a passport or your child’s birth certificate in their backpack, depending on the child’s age.
- Medical permission
Children under 18 years old can’t agree to their medical care. As a result, you need to allow another adult to approve medical treatment at a doctor’s office, hospital, or urgent care. So, it’s better to sign and notarize a medical consent form in advance. Add written instructions on the child’s allergies or other health conditions. Make a card with the name and phone number of your child’s regular doctor.
- Letter of consent for international travel
The U.S. does not require parental permission for a child to leave the country. However, a lot of European countries may have different travel laws. To avoid any difficulties, both parents should sign the letter of consent.
- Marital settlement agreement
If the parents are divorced, you’ll need to sign a marital settlement agreement and/or divorce judgment. These documents should contain provisions for travel, requirements for prior notice to identify vacation dates, and a requirement to provide a travel itinerary.
If you need any legal forms for summer travel, you can use US Legal Forms to find document templates. It contains a number of state-specific forms that will meet all your needs and requirements.