There are so many details to remember before going on a trip, especially if you’re traveling internationally. It’s easy to forget to check some of the most important travel details. Here are 10 things that the U.S. Department of State advises you do before you go on your overseas trip.
1. Check the Travel Warnings page on their website. Political unrest, terrorist activity and other dangerous conditions may suddenly crop up in your destination. Be aware of these conditions and follow the State Department’s advice about cancelling or postponing your trip.
2. Make copies of your travel documents, passport ID page, driver’s license and credit cards brought with you. Leave one copy of each with a friend or relative at home. Bring a second set with you and keep separate from your originals in a secured travel bag.
3. Check the expiration date of your passport. Some countries require that it be valid for at least six months from the date you return from your trip.
4. Notify your financial institution that you’ll be using your credit/debit card while you travel. Let them know the dates of your travel and the country(ies) you’ll visit.
5. The U.S. Department of State encourages U.S. citizens who are planning a trip abroad to sign up for their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens or nationals who are traveling to or living in a foreign country. It’s a good idea to print out a copy of the address and phone number of the Embassy or Consulate where you will be staying and keep this with you at all times during your trip. You can find this information on the Country Specific Information pages.
6. Check to see if you will need a visa to enter the country you’re visiting. If so, many countries require that you obtain the visa in advance of your entry. Visit the Americans Traveling Abroad page for country-specific entry requirements.
7. Are you traveling with your minor children? Some countries have instituted child abduction protection laws, and they’ll require documentation to prove your relationship to your children. Check the Department of State child abduction country information pages for your destination’s laws.
8. If you take prescription medication, be sure to pack enough for your trip. Leave the medication in its original labeled container and pack it in your carryon luggage.
9. Do you plan to drive in your overseas destination? You may need an International Driving Permit (IDP). Check with the Embassy of the country where you plan to travel for IDP information and car insurance requirements.
10. Does your destination require proof of vaccinations? You may be required to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination (aka Yellow Card) or proof of other inoculations or medical tests before entering your destination country. Even if it’s not a requirement, it’s wise to consider your health. Are there diseases or health conditions for which you should take precautions (Malaria, altitude sickness, Hepatitis A)? Before you go, check the Country Specific Information for entry requirements. The websites for U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for international travel.