With the rise of regional tensions leading to the recently downed commercial jet by military actors, the outbreak of measles and the new strain of coronavirus in China, and civil unrest from Hong Kong to Chile, global travel can feel risky. While a travelers may have very little to do with shaping these global issues, they can be prepared through better travel planning, therefore ensuring a safer, more enjoyable trip.
The U.S. Department of State has a pre-travel checklist which can provide a good template for your own travel checklist. Here are the three main take-aways from that list organized for your convenience.
Get Informed. Conduct your own research into the safety and security realities of the country you will be visiting. This means you should think about crisis planning, health requirements, and money.
- You should also consider getting airlift insurance depending on the stability of the situation in the country you are traveling to.
- Did you get the right vaccination? If the country you are visiting is experiencing an outbreak of disease against which you cannot be vaccinated, ensure you bring the proper sprays or tools to help you prevent infection. In order to ensure you are medically prepared, you might want to review our medical checklist.
- Also, do you have a sufficient amount of cash for your travel? Do not keep all of your cash in one place. Instead you should divide your cash and store it in different places, in case one pile is stolen or lost?
- Check whether credit is accepted or regularly used in the country where you are traveling. Is your credit card provider normally accepted in that country?
- Finally, you should prepare a communications list and know how you plan to contact individuals in and out of your country of travel in the event you are not able to continue on your planned itinerary.
Get required documents. Do you have the proper passport and visas? By this we mean, some countries offer passport cards or passport books. Both of these are acceptable as travel documents in some countries but not others.
- If you travel on a passport, does your passport have the required validity for the destination country? Check out our blog on passport validity for your destination. Some countries will require a valid passport for the duration of travel, while others will require up to a year from the date of return. Some airlines will also require a minimum of six months validity, so verify both the requirements of the country you are visiting and of your sending airline.
- Also, does the country require a visa? Do you have the visa and if not, how do you get it prior to your travel?
- Remember to purchase, and travel with, any prescription medications you are taking. Ideally, you will travel with more medication than is required for the length of your trip in the event there is a change in your travel plans/return dates.
- If you are a parent traveling with a minor, without the other parent, ensure you have the necessary travel consent documents from the un-accompanying parent.
- If you intend on driving while abroad, you should check whether the country you are traveling to requires that you obtain an international driving permit. Check out our blog on how to get a driving permit to find out more about obtaining an international driving permit.
- Finally, make sure you have your proof of travel insurance or medical insurance for easy access.
- For those living in the U.S., travelers should enroll in the Smart Traveler’s Enrollment Program?
- In addition, you should provide your travel information to emergency contacts. Ideally, you will have emergency contacts in your destination country as well as at home.
- And remember, 911 is not the emergency number in all countries. Before you travel, you should research the proper local emergency number in your destination country(ies) and keep that on hand in case you need it. Check out our blog on what to do in times of crises where we also list the different country’s emergency numbers.
- Finally, don’t forget to notify your credit card company about your international trip so they do not decline your transaction while abroad.
For further reading, we suggest visiting the U.S. Department of State’s country-specific travel alert and checklist for every country in the world here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-checklist.html.