If you haven’t gotten your passport, the time is now. Many travelers may find themselves stranded come January 22, 2018 if they reside in a state that does not yet comply with the Real ID Act. The Act has been slowly taking affect since 2005, with many states already in compliance, there are others that have filed extensions with the government allowing their state residents to continue to use their Driver’s License for domestic travel. If you live in any of the following states your ID is valid for domestic air travel:
States in Compliance:
District of Columbia
The remaining states have either been granted an extension or are under review. Extensions will expire but the expiration differs for each states. States under review have already reach the expiry date of their extensions and are now in a grace period. During the grace period, which ends January 22, 2018, driver’s licenses from these states will still be accepted. To avoid any interruptions in your travel plans we recommend applying for or renewing your passport as soon as possible. Travelers can also apply for a passport card, which may be more cost effective, however, the card is only valid for domestic travel. Travelers wishing to leave the country must have a valid passport. Since a passport is good for both domestic and international travel you may find it to be a better value for your travel needs.
After a long drive, flight, or train ride, a nice and quiet night in a hotel room probably sounds perfect but if your little one is anything like mine a peaceful night’s rest is most likely the furthest thing from his/her mind. If you don’t want to wake up in a room decorated in baby wipe with Hotel Shampoo accents, a bit of baby-proofing might be in order before settling down to sleep.
First, take anything that can be opened and sprayed or spilled, like the tiny hotel soaps and shampoos, and move it out of reach. You might consider leaving the bar soaps as a distraction, since a couple of scattered soap bars are a cinch to pick up compared to finger-painting in conditioner, however, if your toddler is good at opening things and may go in for a taste test, we recommend keeping those out of reach. Likewise, move any toxic or messy substances you brought with you out of reach, as well. Check the dresser drawers for things left in the room that could be torn up, or for helpful items like pens and notepads that could be used for redecorating.
Bring along a pack of baby electrical outlet plugs, so that any free electrical outlets can be locked down. Check for lamp power cords that reach out where small fingers can yank on them, and double-check the settings on air conditioners and heaters.
You might consider blocking off a play and sleep area with luggage, depending on the child’s climbing ability. Also, keeping the bathroom door shut at all times might not be a bad idea either. It’s much easier to contain the child before, than clean up after.
Make sure the child can’t open the front door, and if he can, keep it locked from the inside. Make sure that all windows are locked and can’t be opened far enough for toddlers to squeeze through.
A few minutes of forethought should be enough to make sure that every member of the family can spend a safe and comfortable night in the hotel room.