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International Travel Advisories

Before you begin your international travels, it is best to check the U.S. Department of State's website for information related to the country that you plan to explore.  Click here for travel advisories and updates.

Update Your Passport/Visa

Its a good time 'now' to review the status of your passport.  Most countries require that your passport be valid for six months after your return date. The State Department recommends that you renew your passport no less than nine months before it’s set to expire.


Check the expiration date of your passport now, and if you need to renew, check the U.S. Department of State’s website to find your nearest passport facility.

Vaccination & Fill Prescriptions

Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to find out health information and vaccination requirements for your destination. For maximum protection, you should get any required shots six weeks before departure. If you’re traveling to a country where disease is rampant, consult a travel medicine professional.

The CDC website also is a good source of information on the health risks of consuming the water and food, nonprescription items to pack and other health tips.

Cash/Credit Card Management

Choose one or two credit cards to take with you, and call the issuers shortly before you leave to inform them of which countries you will be visiting. Otherwise, your credit card could be denied, as the issuer may find the international activity suspicious.

Traveler’s checks are no longer universally accepted, and you may have trouble using them in many countries, especially the less developed ones. Instead, use your bank card to withdraw money from ATMs, which can be found in even the most exotic destinations. Memorize your numeric PIN, as many ATM keypads will not display the numbers and letters we use, or they may be placed differently on the keypad. Generally, your most favorable exchange rate will be through the ATM, although most companies will charge a transaction fee.

Travelers Insurance

It is likely that your job's health insurance policy won’t cover you while you’re traveling abroad. Depending on where you’re going, consider buying medical evacuation and emergency medical insurance. Also, if your trip requires a large down payment or is booked many months in advance, trip interruption and cancellation insurance can provide valuable protection from the unexpected.

Pack Appropriately

Other than the necessary electronics, don’t bring valuables with you. Expensive jewelry could attract thieves who are experts at targeting tourists. If you do bring valuables, always travel with them in your carry-on, and keep them locked up in the hotel safe.

Before you leave, empty your wallet of unnecessary items, such as credit cards that you don’t plan to use on your trip.

If you wear prescription glasses, pack an extra pair.

Use closed baggage tags to label each bag. Put your name, address and phone number both inside and outside your luggage.

Buy Transportation Security Administration approved locks, and always keep your luggage locked. Check to see if you can send your locked bags on in-country flights; TSA locks may not be recognized and could be cut to inspect your bags. Never put valuables in your checked luggage, and check carefully after going through security to ensure that all of your valuables are still in your carry-on.

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