Secure your visa for an international Colorado ski trip

You’ve booked your tickets, scouted trails to hike and planned epic ski adventures. Excitement is building, but now what? Here are a few tips on traveling to Breckenridge from abroad.

Depending on what country you hail from, you may or may not need a visa for visit duration of 90 days or less. Many countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program and therefore the U.S. does not require you to obtain a visa before you travel – visit the waiver program page for a full list of countries that participate in the VWP.

To be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) you must possess a machine-readable passport. Depending on when you acquired your passport, other security features may be required. Additionally, if you are traveling from a VWP approved country, you must apply for ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before you travel to be eligible. It’s recommended that you apply at least 72 hours in advance of leaving your home country, otherwise you may be unable to board your plane or denied access upon arrival. Once your ESTA application is approved, you can enter and re-enter the U.S. for up to two years. Check out the frequently asked questions and answers about the VWP and ESTA before getting started.

Dogs in BreckYou’re excited to hike some of the surrounding 14ers (nationally-known 14,000-foot peaks) with Fido at your side, but did you check the regulations? There are stipulations on bringing pets in to the U.S. and quarantine and health checks are often required. Certain pets, such as hedgehogs (if you live in New Zealand), monkeys, some rodents and a few turtles are prohibited. Wondering what it will take to bring Fluffy over? Check out the Pets and wildlife page for more details.

Traveling with medication? No problem. Authorities suggest bringing no more than a 90-day supply and encourage travelers to keep medication in its original container. Plan for the worst in case your flight is delayed or the airline loses your bags by keeping a copy of your prescription and medication close at hand in your carry-on luggage. More information can be found on the US Customs and Border Patrol medications page.

Colorado Mountain Express van
Colorado Mountain Express shuttle

Flying into Denver and making the trip up to the mountains can seem daunting after hours of international travel. Shuttle services such as Colorado Mountain Express (CME), Summit Express and Peak 1 Express make transportation to your final destination in Breck a breeze.  If you are planning on renting a car, it’s advisable to be acquainted with Colorado traffic rules and road signs. Agencies such as Hertz, Budget and Avis make it easy to pick up a car at most airports and drop off at a variety of locations throughout the country. A few things to remember: driver’s seat is on the left and driving is on the right-hand side of the road, most rentals are automatics and don’t have a clutch to shift gears, sporty cars are not advisable in the mountains as Breckenridge gets over 300 inches of snow per year and car rental insurance is required. More tips on road signs, regulations and cultural differences when driving in the U.S. can be found here.

While you’re here, don’t miss some of Breckenridge’s cultural must-dos. The Breckenridge Brewery and Broken Compass provide signature ice-cold thirst-quenching beers. Historic mines, such as Sallie Barber or Country Boy mine give a look back into U.S. history. Restaurants like the Hearthstone serve locally grown farm-to-table meals, highlighting some of the best Colorado has to offer.

If you want to foray into Colorado’s most recent legalized greenery, please do so responsibly. Rules and regulations can be found on Colorado’s state page, and don’t forget to read about it on our blog as well.

Looking for more guidance? Breckenridge works with a variety of international travel partners to book flights, lodging and lift passes. Visit Breckenridge.com for help planning an international vacation. See you on the slopes!

– Jesse Ambrogi

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