Important FYI: Anytime you are traveling always check for travel restrictions alerts and warnings. Make sure you look up where the US Embassy is located and keep the address, and phone number with you at all times. Also, having the closest hospital’s information is also recommended. This is for ALL DOD that includes dependents on orders. DO NOT travel to restricted areas! If you choose to go to a restricted area for vacation you can lose your sponger-ship and the military will send you back to the home of record. It’s not game, if it is restricted don’t go!
Link for restrictions alerts and warnings. https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html
European Independent ATM charges:
After learning from a friend about how independent ATMs overcharge and after reading some posts on Facebook about what passports you need to travel I thought I would share some facts and provide some links with the correct information.
Most bank ATMs in Europe don’t charge a usage fee, but stay away from “independent” ATMs, which have high fees and may try to trick users with “dynamic currency conversion.” These ATMs (labeled with names such as Travelex, Euronet, Moneybox, Cardpoint, and Cashzone) are often found next to bank ATMs in the hope that travelers will be too confused to notice the difference.
Information provided by: http://lifehacker.com/avoid-independent-atms-when-withdrawing-cash-abroad-1762527797
Military members and their dependents must have a tourist passport and their military issued passport when traveling. The tourist passport is for visiting other counties outside of your assignment. The military issued, sofa stamped, passport is to let you back in the country you are assigned to. For example, my family and I are stationed in Germany, but we go on vacation to England. Everyone in my family, to include the military members, will need tourist passports. Now after our vacation in England, we return to our duty station in Germany, our whole family will need to show military issued passports and the military members will need a copy of their orders with their military ID to be let back into Germany.
Here are the official information for Special Issuance Passport (Military no fee passports) https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/no-fee.html
SUBJECT: DoD Passport and Passport Agent Services PFD File http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/100021e.pdf
Check with your local passport office to make sure you are filling out the correct application.
How to apply for your tourist passport: https://pptform.state.gov/
Ramstein AB Factsheet: http://www.ramstein.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet_print.asp?fsID=17152&page=1
International Drivers Licenses:
Driving outside the country that you are stationed in, you will need an International Driver’s Licenses. For example: You or your spouse are stationed in Germany and you are driving with only your valid USAREUR license while on vacation in France and someone hits you – legally, it will be your fault. You would be treated as if you are driving without a license. Getting your internal driver’s license is easy, cheap, and there is no test.
In order to get your international driver’s license application, you will need the valid paperwork. Start by going to the place where you were issued your USAREUR driver’s license. Make sure you bring a copy of your orders, U.S. ID card, a current passport-sized photo of yourself and your USAREUR Driver’s License. The office will fill out the paperwork and explain where to go off base to get your international driver’s license. There will be a small cost, so remember to bring some euros.
Ramstein AB factsheet: http://www.ramstein.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=13941
Army’s Links for USAREUR Driving Test: http://www.imcom-europe.army.mil/webs/sites/staff_org/safety/driver_training/index.html
Link for the Kaiserslautern Area DMV in Germany: http://www.kaiserslautern-kreis.de/en/administration/road-traffic/driving-license.html
Driving in Italy:
United Kingdom: What Do I Need To Know About Driving in the UK? http://www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=12455
Make sure that you have all the correct stickers before you driving into another county. Some countries require you to have a vignette sticker on your car. It is that country’s way of charging taxes to drive on their roads. You can normally buy vignette stickers at local gas stations before you leave the country or right after you cross the border into the country you are going to. Warning: not getting the vignette sticker will result in massive fines.
Links about Vignette: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vignette_(road_tax)
If you have a question, please email me at Sue@suginscorner.com . In the subject line please title your email “Question for Spouse Information Center”. The reason I am calling this the Spouse Information Center and not Sugin’s got the answer; is I do not have all the answers and I have not been stationed all over the world. I encourage others who are stationed overseas to make a video to contribute to the Spouse information Center and help expand our library of topics.