Do all the people you know travel? Are they already asking you to join them and that you are already itching yourself to? However, a trip requires careful planning. Before you pack your bags and hitch hike with your friends, Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours has listed some important steps you can take to prepare for a safe trip anywhere:
Be Aware of Any Travel Alerts and Warnings for Your Destination
The State Department may issue Travel Warnings to recommend postponing travel to a country because of widespread civil unrest, dangerous conditions, terrorist activity or, in some cases, because the your country has no diplomatic relations with the country and may have great difficulty in assisting foreign citizens in distress. Travel Alerts disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats or other relatively short-term or transnational conditions that could pose significant risks to you and affect your travel plans.
Do You Have All Required Travel Documents?
Most foreign countries require a valid passport to enter and leave. Some countries may allow you to enter with only a birth certificate, or with a birth certificate and a driver’s license, but all persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air, must present a valid passport to reenter the United States. Some countries have the strictest policies in knowing fraud passports entering their country.
What about your children?
Some countries have instituted requirements to help prevent child abductions and may require travelers to present proof of relationship to the children and evidence of consent from any non-accompanying parent(s). Visit our child abduction country information pages for information about your destination.
When does your passport expire?
Some countries require that a traveler’s passport be valid for at least six months beyond the dates of the trip. Contact the embassy of your foreign destination for more information. Foreign embassy and consulate contact information can also be found in our Country Specific Information pages.
Do You Plan to Drive Overseas?
If you plan to drive overseas, you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). Many countries do not recognize your local driver’s licenses without an accompanying IDP, and it is illegal to drive without a valid license and insurance in most places. You should check with the embassy of the country where you plan to travel to find out more about driver’s license and car insurance requirements. If you will be residing overseas for an extended time, say, Jakarta, Indonesia or Singapore, it is a good idea to obtain a local driver’s license as soon as possible, since IDPs have a limited validity. Foreign countries may also require that persons considered resident obtain a local driver’s license if they are going to drive. To renew a U.S. driver’s license while abroad, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in your home state. IDs are also important to verify your identity so that you would not be tagged as scam.