1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
2. Read the Consular Information Sheets and any Travel Warnings for the countries you plan to visit. (Look at the end of this listing for where to find Consular Information Sheets).
3. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in a country, you are subject to its laws!
4. Make 2 photocopies of your passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home. Carry the other with you in a separate place from your passport.
5. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so you can be contacted in case of emergency.
6. Notify by phone or register in person with the U.S. embassy or consulate upon arrival.
7. Don't leave luggage unattended in public areas. Don't accept packages from strangers.
8. Don't be a target! Avoid conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and don't carry excessive amounts of money or unnecessary credit cards.
9. In order to avoid violating local laws, deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase art or antiques.
10. If you get into trouble, contact the U.S. Consul!
They describe unusual entry or currency regulations, health conditions, the crime and security situation, political disturbances, areas of instability, and drug penalties. In general, Consular Information Sheets do not give advice. Instead, they describe conditions so that travelers can make informed decisions about their trips.
However, in some dangerous situations, the Department of State recommends that Americans defer all travel to a country. In these cases, a Travel Warning is issued for the country, in addition to its Consular Information Sheet. There are many ways to access Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings:
You can listen to them 24 hours a day by calling (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone phone.
From a fax machine, you can dial (202) 647-3000, using the handset as you would a regular telephone. You will hear instructions on how to have them faxed to you.
With a computer and a modem, you can access them through many electronic bulletin boards, including the
Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB).
You can find them at the 13 regional U.S. passport agencies, or you can learn about them from the airline when you or your travel agent make your international air reservation.
Your Trip Abroad
Travel Tips for Older Americans
Tips for Americans Residing Abroad
Country specific information can be found in the following publications:
Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa
Tips for Travelers to the Caribbean
Tips for Travelers to Central and South America
Tips for Travelers to the People's Republic of China
Tips for Travelers to Mexico
Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa
Tips for Travelers to South Asia
Tips for Travelers to Russia
Foreign Entry Requirements
Passports - Applying for Them the Easy Way