Category Archives: General Info

ime Add headingIf someone asked you right now if your passport was expired, do you know for sure? Remember if it’s got six months or less to go before the expiration date, just call it expired. The huge majority of countries require at least six months of time left after the completion date of your departure from the country. So, time to renew that passport.

When you want to renew your passport, you have two main choices. You can go through the Passport Agency which can take four to seven weeks on the average or you can outsource the task to a passport and visa company. There is a small service fee attached, but doing the legwork to get a passport renewal won’t be on you.

The following is an overview of how to renew your passport.
First make sure you meet the minimum requirements to renew your passport.

passport renewal
Make sure you meet the minimum requirements for passport renewal!

Then you will need to get some paperwork together. We have a handy checklist to help you with that task. Click to view.
Renew Your Passport - Texas Tower 24 Hour Passport and Visa.clipular

We offer real-time tracking and above all, you’ll always talk to a human when you go through Texas Tower Passport and Visa. We don’t rely on automated systems to handle our clients. We will work with you from start to finish to make sure your passport renewal goes fast and easy.

Common TravelLike any other industry, you have to be aware of scams. Here is an overview of some of the most common travel scams and how to avoid being scammed.

Scam Offer: Travel Deal that is deeply discounted to pennies on the dollar
Many deals are legit, however this particular scam won’t give you time to think about it and will expire in say 10-12 hours, so you better act fast. Read the fine print and make sure the travel restrictions to take advantage of the deal aren’t ridiculous like limited travel times, limited destinations or hidden fees.

Scam Offer: You sit through a sales pitch, real estate offer for “free” travel
This one isn’t as common, but still occurs. You get a postcard or email to take advantage of a no-strings tour or presentation and at the end of this pitch, you will get some free travel vouchers. Generally the travel vouchers won’t be free travel but mere discounts on already insanely priced travel packages. The vouchers are usually non-transferable.

Scam Offer: You rent a vacation home from someone who isn’t an owner
With the ability to post ads online, use AirBnB or Craigslist, this scam is out in full force. Basically it works like this. You run across the perfect deal on a vacation rental, you pay a down payment or other arrangement and the person doesn’t even actually own the property. When you try to get the keys or paperwork, it’s not unusual to find the scammer has already skipped town with your payment. To avoid this one, only rent through a reputable company.

Scam Offer: Free Vacation Winner!
You receive a very official looking letter in the mail that you have won a vacation in a contest you never entered (first red flag) all you have to do is call the number to redeem your vacation package. You call and find they want your credit card info to charge you for your prize and the fees on these winnings are usually huge.

Those are just a few of the most common travel scams out there. Have you been scammed?

We can make getting your passport and travel visa a breeze when you want to visit Russia, but what about the trip itself? Need some ideas for where to go, what to see, and where to stay? No worries we have some ideas for you.

Travelata.ru

Travelata makes it simple to plan your trip to Russia on one single website. This online travel agency helps you find the perfect hotel or B&B to fit your wants and needs on your visit to Russia. Over 100 cities are currently covered with more added on a regular basis as the coverage expands. The company also has more than 25 brick and mortar locations across Russia, including an office in Siberia. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Sletat

Would you rather have someone else plan your trip to Russia for you? You need Sletat. This online travel agency covers about 80% of the country, so there will be a lot of options to pick and choose to your trip. Works for iOS and Android.

Yandex

There are hundreds of stations that make up the Moscow network and getting around can feel overwhelming. A huge helper app is the Yandex app. This app has metro maps for St. Petersburg and Moscow and will help you navigate your way around. Best of all, it works offline as well as online.  Available for both iOS and Android.

Gett

Uber is a thing in Russia just like the U.S. and if you prefer to use it – great. If you’d rather go with a taxi service,  Gett will be your new best friend. You can have access to the taxis closest to you and schedule a ride. instead, and you’ll have a network of local taxis at your fingertips. Available for iOS and Android devices.

Learn Some Russian

Russian may seem overwhelming to learn, but pick up a few words to help you navigate. The Learn Russian app has over 10,000 flashcards to help you pick up useful words and phrases. Learn Russian is available for Android devices only.

 


Japan is a popular destination and for U.S. travelers, no visa is required for entry. Just a valid U.S. passport!

Here are some common questions about visiting Japan for the first time.

How long is the average stay for tourists in Japan? 
Most people tend to stay one to two weeks. Remember, you need 6 months beyond the expiration date of your passport when visiting Japan.

What are some of the main cities to explore?
Tokyo, of course. Kyoto, Nara, and Koya are all excellent places to immerse yourself in Japanese culture.

What is a good way to get around Japan?
Definitely, invest in a JR Pass. It will let you have unlimited train rides and that includes the bullet train anywhere around Japan.

 

 

 

 

Other than hotels what are good places to stay in?
Hostels are always great for keeping on a budget and meeting new people. AirBnB often has deals and there are guest houses you can rent

What about WiFi in Japan?
There is WiFi but finding it free is another story. Picking up a 3g hotspot device is worth the investment.

How can I renew my passport in a rush?
You can get your passport renewed quickly, start here.
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Planning your first visit to China? Here are some tips to know to make your visit go smoothly.

Learn a Little Chinese
Most Chinese people learn English in primary grades. If you speak English clearly and slowly to someone in an urban area, chances are you will be understood. In the more rural areas, it might be difficult to find someone that speaks English. It’s good to learn some Mandarin phrases for basics you might need to ask about.

Make sure Beijing is on Your List of Destinations

Focus Your Tourist Destinations
This is not only the capital city of China, but you can see one of the eight Wonders of the World, The Great Wall. Check out the Forbidden City and see the Summer Palace.

Look at the Long-Range Weather Forecast Before You Go
China has the distinction of having the largest range of weather of any country on Earth. Because the weather can vary from region to region, look up the long-term weather predictions where you plan to visit.

4. How to Shop in China

December is the prime time to score deals. With vendors, most prices are negotiable. Keep your cool, smile when you are bargaining and know not all price negotiations will be successful. Always act like the item isn’t very important and if you walk away, sometimes the vendor will follow you and accept your price.

5. Dining in China

One of the most interesting things about China is every region has a distinct style of cooking. Roast duck in Beijing, Shanghai has steamed pork buns you shouldn’t miss out on, and Guilin rice noodles are delicious.

Once you make your travel plans, talk to us about getting your passport and travel visa, we can make the process fast and easy.

Things to Know Before Your First Visit to Ghana

1. Never been to Ghana before? Check any preconceived notions you have about Africans at the door. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

2. Don’t photograph people unless you ask politely. It’s considered rude to point and click at locals going about their daily lives without permission. Most Ghanians will happily pose for photos if approached politely.

3. Did you know the average Ghanian speaks 3 languages including English by age 8? Rest assured you shouldn’t have any issues being understood.

4. Learn some useful Twi phrases so you can speak to locals. It’s considered respectful for travelers to at least try. Here are several to get you started.
english phrase         Twi phrase                [pronunciation] 1.How are you?      Wo ho te sɛn?         [woe HOE teh SANG] 2.I am doing well   Me ho yɛ.                  [mih HOE yeh] 3.What’s up?            Ɛte sɛn?                     [eh-teh SANG] 4.I’m fine.                   Ɛyɛ.                              [eh-yeh] 5.Yes.                           Aane.                           [aah-NIH]/[ayn] 6.No.                           Dabi.                             [deh-BEE] 7.Good morning. Maakye.                      [mah CHEE] 8.Good afternoon. Maaha.                     [mah HÃ] 9.Good evening   Maadwo.                    [mah JWO]

5. You probably already have a list going of places you want to visit in Accra. Talk to the locals and find particular places of interest. Yes, there are tourist venues, but see Ghana as the people who live there see it to really experience it.

Texas Tower is your one-stop passport and travel visa venue. You can skip the trip to the embassy for your travel visa and we can expedite your passport. Call us with any questions 713-874-1420.

did-you-know
Mozambique is a beautiful, coastal country in Africa. United States citizen that want to visit for business or tourism purposes will need a travel visa.

To enter Mozambique, you will need to make sure that your passport has a minimum of three blank pages in your passport. Your passport will also need to have an expiration that extends out past six months after the completion of your trip to Mozambique.
Your visa will be good for 30 days.

Mozambique Visa - Texas Tower Fast Passport and Visa Call Now! (713) 874-1420.clipular
O
ur company can save you the hassle of visiting the consulate to get your travel visa. Just gather the necessary paperwork listed above, send it to Texas Tower, and we do the rest.

Here is a special note about visiting Mozambique. There are areas where pedestrians are banned.
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Curious what to do and see in Mozambique? Here is a video from World Travel Guides with a great overview.

Enjoy planning your trip to Mozambique, if you need help or have questions regarding your passport or visa, contact our offices at 713-874-1420, we’re happy to help.

Traveling to the Ivory Coast (Cote D’Ivoire) from the United States? You will need a travel visa. The good news is we can get your travel visa for you and let you concentrate on getting ready for your trip.

If you’re a business traveler – you will need the following :
Ivory Coast Visa - Texas Tower Fast Passport and Visa Call Now! (713) 874-1420.clipular (1)

Tourists will need to use the following information to obtain their Ivory Coast visa:
Ivory Coast Visa - Texas Tower Fast Passport and Visa Call Now! (713) 874-1420.clipular

Your travel visa will be good for multiple entries and good for up to 12-months.

If you’re curious about some of the best sites to see off the beaten path (even if you’re there on a highly scheduled business trip – try to make time to see the country, it is stunning). Here is a brief video TravellingMatey made.

No matter if you’re traveling to Ghana, Russia, England, or staying within the continental U.S., knowing how to pack can make the difference in a number of things you can bring in even a single bag (for those of you who like to travel really light!).  This is particularly true if you are a traveler that enjoys hiking.

An excellent way to get to know an area is to hike through it.
Africa alone has a huge number of gorgeous hiking areas in Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya to name a few. There are numerous types of walking tours around the world, and hiking is best done with the least amount of necessary stuff in a single bag to keep things as light as possible.

Inside the U.S., the Appalachian Trail is a premier hiking destination for beginners as well as seasoned pros. You can get started in a local National Park or forest area. As far as gear, you don’t need a lot, but there are specialized items you need to make your hike more enjoyable. The North Face should have everything you need in one place.

How to Get Started
If you aren’t sure hiking is for you, try a short day trip first. Grab a hiking buddy and plan a few hours out on a trail together. Make it a goal to reconnect with nature. Even better, take a camera and record some sights to share. If you enjoyed your initial outing, then schedule a campout and see if sleeping under a starry sky and enjoying tent life is for you. There are all types of helpful items to make camping easy from easy firestarters for cooking to solar chargers for your phone and music that are lightweight and take up very little space in your bag. Whenever you’re considering adding an item to your gear, consider the weight and size and if it is really useful enough to rate the space.

Extra Places to Learn
Subscribe to blogs and check out tips on camping to make sure every hike you go on is equal parts safe and enjoyable. Learn from the pros and save yourself an unnecessary learning curve. The more you hike you more you learn the things you personally need for a great time. You’ll appreciate honing good packing skills around three hours into a hike when you realize you have everything you need, but you’re not carrying nearly the amount of weight your buddy is toting around.

Check out this infographic for some packing tips to make that hike easier whether in the U.S. or outside of it.Packing Tips: How To Pack The Right Way

Co-produced by :Rebateszone & Texas Tower

Should you keep your passport current- (1)

For a lot of people, if you tell them you’re traveling with an infant, you’ll either get a grimace or a look of complete sympathy. Nearly every frequent traveler has been serenaded by the screams of an unhappy baby on a flight. It can be stressful to try to calm a baby down during a long flight when their regular routine is disrupted. No matter how much you’ve traveled, traveling with a baby is a new challenge. There are a number of things new parents can do to make that flight go better for baby (and everyone else).

1. Plan
Make a checklist for the items you need for daily care for your baby. Keeping her routine the same as much as possible for feedings and diaper changes will go a long way towards having a calm, happy traveler. Get your paperwork together and yes, your newborn will need a passport, we can make this process easy!

2. Travel Light
There are several types of travel strollers that combine a collapsable stroller with a car seat to make it easy to take your baby from the stroller to the rental car or taxi. Many parents use a diaper bag as their carry on to keep baby’s gear near during the flight and then check the rest of their bags.

3. Consider a Bulkhead Seat
Another thing you can do is see if your airline has any bulkhead seats available. Additionally, some airlines have bassinets you can get to keep your baby as comfy as possible during the flight. If not invest in a soft travel bassinet. Most will collapse down to fit in your luggage when not in use, making them very convenient to take along.

4. Pack Extra Clothes for Yourself in the Diaper Bag
Babies are notorious for spewing when you least expect it, so expect it and bring another shirt for yourself at the very least. Never assume you made it through the flight without getting spit up on until you’re 100% off the plane.

5. Take-Off and Landings are Prime Feeding Times
The pressure change during flight can hurt your baby. One way to avoid dirty looks from travelers who aren’t’ very sympathetic to traveling with an infant is to feed your baby during take-off and landing. The movement of his jaw and sucking motions will help stop the pressure feeling from building up in your baby’s ears.

6. Invest in a Baby Carrier or Wrap
Baby wraps let you “wear your baby” and they are awesome for those times you need to pull luggage and carry a sleeping baby at the same time. Baby carriers work well too, however, they are a little more rigid.

7. Jetlag Happens
Keeping your baby on a schedule may be a real challenge when traveling internationally. Usually after a few days at your destination, your baby won’t be confusing the night with the day. But expect a few long days and nights until your baby gets into the groove of the new day/night hours.

Those are just seven tips for traveling with an infant. What’s your favorite way to keep your baby a calm, happy traveler?