Traveler’s Checklist!

A trip requires careful planning.  Listed below are important steps you can take to prepare for a safe trip anywhere outside the United States.


  • Beware of Any Travel Alerts and Warnings for Your Destination

The State Department issues Travel Warnings to recommend postponing travel to a country because of civil unrest, dangerous conditions, and terrorist activity.


  • Do You Have All Required Travel Documents?

Most foreign countries require a valid passport to enter and leave. Some countries may allow you to enter with only a birth certificate, or with a birth certificate and a driver’s license, but all persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air, must present a valid passport to reenter the United States.


  • Are You Prepared for an Emergency?

Make sure you have the contact information for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you are going. If your family needs to reach you because of an emergency at home or if they are worried about your welfare, they should call the Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (during business hours) or 202-647-5225 (after hours).


  • Do You Plan to Drive Overseas?

If you plan to drive overseas, you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP).  If you will be residing overseas for an extended time, it is a good idea to obtain a local driver’s license as soon as possible.


  • Pack Smart!
  1. Pack light so you can move more quickly and have a free hand when you need it.

  2. Carry a minimum number of valuables and plan places to conceal them.

  3. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity and nationality.

  4. Avoid packing IDs, tickets and other vital documents in backpacks or other locations you won't be able to see at all times.


  • Do You Have Photocopies of Your Itinerary and Travel Documents?

Make two photocopies of all your travel documents in case of emergency or if your documents are lost or stolen. Leave one copy with a friend or relative at home. It is always a great idea to let at least one person know exactly where you will be staying and how to contact you in an emergency. Carry the other copy with you stored separately from the originals. Documents to make copies of include:

  1. Passport ID page

  2. Foreign visa (if applicable)

  3. Itinerary

  4. Hotel confirmation

  5. Airline ticket

  6. Driver's license

  7. Credit cards brought on the trip

  8. Traveler's check serial numbers


  • Your Safety
  1. Prepare to Handle Money Overseas

  2. Check and understand the exchange rate before you travel.

  3. Before you leave, notify your bank, credit card company, or other financial institutions that you are going overseas.

  4. Avoid carrying cash and consider using traveler's checks or major credit cards instead (but make sure they are accepted at your destination before departing on your trip).

  5. Change traveler's checks only as you need them.

  6. Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill.


  • Learn about local laws and customs

While traveling, you are subject to the local laws even if you are a U.S. Citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own and it is very important to know what's legal and what's not. If you break local laws while abroad, your U.S. passport won't help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and the U.S. Embassy cannot get you out of jail.




  • Do You Need Any New Vaccinations?

Vaccinations Are Required for Entry to Some Countries. Some countries require foreign visitors to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination (aka Yellow Card) or other proof that they have had certain inoculations or medical tests before entering or transiting their country.  Before you travel, check the Country Specific Information and contact the foreign embassy of the country to be visited or transited through for current entry requirements.


  • Do You Know How to Find Medical Help Abroad?

Get Help With a Medical Emergency Abroad:

  1. Find a Doctor/Hospital Abroad

  2. View ALL information about Your Health Abroad


  • Does Your Health Insurance Cover You Outside the U.S.?

Learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas.  If your insurance policy does not cover you abroad, consider purchasing a short-term policy that does.  Many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

  1. Are You Taking Any Prescriptions or Other Medications?

  2. If you take prescription medication:

  3. Pack enough to last your entire trip, including some extra in case you are unexpectedly delayed.

  4. Carry your medications in their original labeled containers, and pack them in your carry-on bag since checked baggage is occasionally lost or delayed.

  5. Ask your pharmacy or physician for the generic equivalent name of your prescriptions in case you need to purchase additional medication abroad.

  6. Get a letter from your physician in case you are questioned about  your carry-on medication; some countries have strict restrictions on bringing prescription or even non-prescription medications into the country without proper medical documentation.