Traveler's Checklist


Get Required Documents

Safeguard Your Documents! Make copies of all your travel documents.  Leave one copy with a trusted friend or relative and carry the other separately from your original documents.  Also take a photograph of your travel documents with your phone to have an electronic copy.

  • Passport: Check your passport expiration dates as soon as you start planning a trip, and remember passports issued to children under 16 are only valid for only five years.  Some countries – including most of Europe – will require that your passport expiration date is at least six months away.  If you need a new passport, apply early to allow for delays; click here for passport information.
  • Visas: Check with the embassy of your destination regarding visa requirements.
  • Medications: Some prescription drugs (including narcotics) and some U.S. over-the-counter medications are illegal in other countries. Check with the embassy of your destination(s) about regulations and documentation before you travel.
  • Consent for Travel with Minors: If you are traveling 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 to see what you may need.

Importance of Travel Insurance

  • The U.S. government does not provide insurance for U.S. citizens overseas. We do not pay medical bills or unexpected costs. We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance before you travel to cover emergency medical care, either as part of or separate from trip cancellation insurance.
  • Health Insurance: Medical facilities and providers abroad may require cash up front and may not accept U.S. insurance plans.  U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not provide coverage outside the United States.  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.
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation: Evacuation for medical treatment can cost more than $100,000.  You should strongly consider purchasing medical evacuation insurance in case of emergency overseas.

Get Informed

  • Safety and Security Information: Read the Travel Advisory and Alerts for the countries you will be visiting at
  • Money Matters: Before going abroad, notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel, and check exchange rates. For information about using cash, debit/credit cards, and ATMs overseas, read the country information page for your destination.

Other Information for U.S. Citizen Travelers

Emergency Assistance

Sometimes, in spite of careful planning, things still go wrong during a trip abroad.  Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate overseas or our Washington, D. C. office (888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444).


The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on or are linked to the above page. Inclusion of private groups on this page is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. The order in which names appear has no significance. The Department is not in a position to vouch for the information.

Last Updated: February 14, 2024