Emergency Contact Information
Make sure you have the contact information for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Consular duty personnel are available for emergency assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at U.S. embassies, consulates, and consular agencies overseas, and in Washington, D.C.
If your family needs to reach you because of an emergency at home, or if they are concerned about your welfare, they should call the Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (during business hours) or 202-647-5225 (after hours). The State Department will relay the message to the consular officers in the country where you are. The consular officers will then try to locate you, pass on any urgent messages, and, if you wish, report back to your family in accordance with the Privacy Act.
If you plan to drive overseas, you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). Many countries do not recognize U.S. driver’s licenses, 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 the driver’s license and car insurance requirements.
■ Prepare to handle money overseas by checking that you understand the exchange rate before you travel.
■ Before you leave, notify your bank, credit card company, or other financial institutions that you are going overseas.
■ Avoid carrying cash and consider using traveler’s checks or major credit cards instead (but make sure they are accepted at your destination before departing on your trip).
■ Change traveler’s checks only as you need them.
■ Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill.
■ Learn about local laws and customs.
While traveling, you are subject to the local laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own and it is very important to know what’s legal and what’s not. If you break local laws while abroad, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and the U.S. Embassy cannot get you out of jail.
Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. Vaccinations are required for entry to some countries and foreign visitors are required to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination (aka Yellow Card) or other proof that they have had certain inoculations or medical tests before entry. Before you travel, check with the foreign embassy of the country to be visited or transited through for current entry requirements.
Health Experts Recommend Vaccinations for Travel to Some Countries, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) can provide you their recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your trip abroad.
Does Your Health Insurance Cover You Outside the U.S.?
You may have coverage from other sources that provide you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of the travel protection plan offered via the Travelex link below, with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.
If your insurance policy does not cover you abroad, consider purchasing a travel protection plan that not only provides coverage for Emergency Medical expenses, but also coverage for Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption, Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.
Be aware of any Travel Alerts and Warnings for your destination
The State Department issues Travel Warnings to recommend postponing travel to a country because of civil unrest, dangerous conditions, terrorist activity, or, because the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with the country and may have great difficulty in assisting U.S. 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.