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Puerto Rico's unique political situation makes it a hassle-free destination for U.S. travelers, who will basically be subject to the same strictures as interstate travel. All you need is a government-issued identification. You won't face any of the hassles of foreign government entry requirements and processes you would at many other Caribbean destinations. Also, several major airlines offer direct flights to airports in San Juan and Aguadilla from major cities throughout the United States, especially from the East Coast, and beachfront guesthouses or big scale hotels are minutes from the airports. Being part of the U.S. also means there are no currency exchange hoops to jump through and your bank card will work as easily as it will at home.

It's a 3 1/2-hour flight from New York City, and it's quick for carry-on passengers, who can be at their destinations minutes after touchdown. (Baggage claim takes forever, and the airport is not being well maintained.)

Getting to your destination fast is so important. Puerto Rico's ease of entry makes it an alternative to not only Aruba or Cancun for that winter getaway, but a viable option to Vermont or New Hampshire for a long weekend getaway in October. This section discusses the where, when, and how of your trip to Puerto Rico -- everything required to plan your trip and get it on the road. It's what you need to do before you go to make this largely hassle-free destination even more manageable.

Lost-Luggage Insurance

On domestic flights, checked baggage is covered up to $2,500 per ticketed passenger. On international flights (including U.S. portions of international trips), baggage coverage is limited to approximately $9.07 per pound, up to approximately $635 per checked bag. If you plan to check items more valuable than what's covered by the standard liability, see if your homeowner's policy covers your valuables, or get baggage insurance as part of your comprehensive travel-insurance package. Don't buy insurance at the airport, where it's usually overpriced. Be sure to take any valuables or irreplaceable items with you in your carry-on luggage, because many valuables (including books, money, and electronics) aren't covered by airline policies.

If your luggage is lost, immediately file a lost-luggage claim at the airport, detailing the luggage contents. Most airlines require that you report delayed, damaged, or lost baggage within 4 hours of arrival. The airlines are required to deliver luggage, once found, directly to your house or destination free of charge.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.