Top 10 Tips for Every International Traveler

Preparing for International Travel

  1. Sign your passport and fill in the emergency information on your passport

  1. Ensure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to the U.S.  Some countries will refuse entry on arrival and some airlines will not allow passengers to board flights if their passport does not meet this requirement.

  2. Contact your bank and credit card company with your dates of travel and each country are visiting. Keep a copy of the contact phone numbers for your bank and credit card company in case you need to report a lost card.

  3. Check your overseas medical insurance coverage: Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance.

  1. Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the State Department can better assist you in an emergency, a free online service at This will help contact you if there is a family emergency in the U.S., or if there is a crisis where you are traveling.

  1. Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visa with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.  Carry one copy with you and leave a copy with someone at home.  If you have a cloud service such as Dropbox, this can be a good method to access your important documents while traveling.

  1. Check with health professionals for information on recommended vaccinations or other precautions and find out about overseas laws on travelling with medicines.   

  1. Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws: While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. The State Department web site at has useful safety and other information about the countries you will visit.

  1. Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.

  1. Emergency Contact: Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens. Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates appears on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at The Office of Overseas Citizen Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs may be reached for assistance with emergencies at 1-888-407-4747, if calling from the U.S. or Canada, or 202-501-4444, if calling from overseas.