Even seasoned travelers will need to expect some changes, as there are a number of new factors to consider when readying for departure. This guide and handy checklist can help with vacation preparation.
Get informed about your destination
- Research entry/exit requirements, visas, laws, customs, medical care, road safety, etc. in the countries you will be visiting.
- Write down contact details for your nearest embassy or consulate to carry with you in case of emergency while travelling.
- Assess the risks of travelling abroad. Read Travel Alerts for your destination and check your local embassy or consulate website for the latest security messages.
- Assess the health risks of travelling abroad by staying up to date on current events and by checking Travel Safety Information by Destination
- Before going abroad, notify your banks and credit cards of your travel and check exchange rates.
- Download the Sam app for city guides, emergency phone numbers, and information about any trip disruptions affecting your itinerary.
Get required documents
- Safeguard your documents! Make two copies of all your travel documents in case of emergency. Leave one copy with a trusted friend or relative at home and carry the other separately from your original documents. To help prevent theft, do not carry your passport in your back pocket, and keep it separate from your money.
- Passport – Apply several months in advance for a new passport. If you already have one, it should be valid for at least six months after you return home and have two or more blank pages, depending on your destination.
- Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter.
- Visas –You may need to get a visa before you travel to a foreign destination. Contact the embassy of the countries you will be visiting for more information
- Prescriptions – Get a letter from your doctor for medications you are bringing. Some countries have strict laws, even against medications that are over-the-counter in your home country, so check with the embassy of your destination before traveling.
- Consent for Travel with Minors – If you are travelling alone with children, foreign border officials may require custody documents or notarized written consent from the other parent. Check with the embassy of your foreign destination before traveling.
- International Driving Permit – Rules vary worldwide as to what documentation you may need when renting a vehicle. However, most countries accept an International Driving Permit (IDP). You may also need supplemental auto insurance. Do your due diligence before renting a vehicle abroad.
- Many foreign medical facilities and providers require cash payment up front and do not accept some forms of insurance. Check your health care policy to see if it will cover you overseas. If not, consider buying supplemental insurance. Make sure the insurance you purchase covers any special medical needs or risks you anticipate on your trip.