Passports and Visas

  • Make sure you have a signed and valid passport and/or visas, if required.
  • Plan accordingly: passport processing times have increased.
  • Be sure to fill in your passport’s emergency information page.
  • Make two copies of your passport identification page. Leave one with friends or relatives, and carry the other with you in a separate place from your passport.

Health and Safety

  • Find out about disease outbreaks and how to protect yourself when traveling outside the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Check the health conditions, security information, and the location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country you’re visiting through the State Department’s Country Information Pages. 
  • If you take prescription medication, have your prescription refilled and take an extra supply in the original containers with you. Carry all vital medicines in your carry-on luggage.
  • Carry a list of blood type, allergies, or any special medical conditions. Medical alert bracelets are a good idea.

Financial Safety

  • Check with your medical insurance carrier about coverage protection for out-of-country travel. To be sure you are properly insured for your trip, consider travel insurance.
  • Avoid cancellation penalties. All of our tour operators have strict cancellation policies. You could lose 100% of your prepaid trip costs should you cancel close to the departure date. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to purchase trip protection insurance.
  • Take only the credit cards and personal identification you’ll need. Carry a driver’s license or state-issued ID card. These documents can help identify you if your passport is lost or stolen; keep them in a secure location.
  • Make a copy of your credit card and travelers check numbers and the telephone numbers needed to report a theft. Keep this information in a location separate from the documents themselves.
  • Don’t carry excessive amounts of cash.
  • Notify your credit card companies, ATM/debit card banks and cell phone providers that you will be traveling abroad.  Inquire whether or not their services are available to use internationally and if there are any fees.
  • To avoid being a target of crime, try not to wear conspicuous clothes and expensive jewelry.
  • Familiarize yourself with international currency values and conversions, so that you can make informed purchases abroad. Visit the Travelers Currency Cheat Sheet.

Air Travel Safety

  • Know the latest Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport security regulations.
  • Tag your luggage properly to help it reach its final destination. Don’t pack valuables in your checked luggage.
  • Be ready to describe the contents of your bags, especially any electronics. At many international airports, security and customer service staff will ask you questions about your luggage.
  • Don’t leave your luggage unattended and don’t accept packages from strangers.
  • While waiting for customs or security screenings, don’t exchange items between bags.
  • Be alert at security checkpoints.
  • To help combat jet lag, drink lots of water during your flight. Some authorities recommend drinking one cup for each hour of the flight.

More Words for the Wise Traveler