travel checklist

Travel Checklist

Before you leave and during your travel

Checklist before you leave:

Research your destination
Learn as much as you can about your destination so that you feel comfortable in your new environment. This website is an excellent resource. The service section is good places to start. Look at the Safe Student Abroad Assessment and Individual Threat Assessment Plan, these are a comprehensive way of learning about your destination.

Register your trip
Enter your itinerary and register with the U.S. Department of State, Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP):

Check passport and visa requirements Passport and visa requirements vary by country, citizenship, length of stay, and purpose of travel. Carefully review your destination's requirements and plan well in advance. For U.S. citizens, you can also apply for your passport directly through the U.S. State Department. Review their processing times and expedited services. You can obtain a visa from your destination country’s embassy: U.S. State Department embassies and consulates

Verify your health insurance coverage Make sure it covers emergency expenses including medical evacuation and repatriation. If planning to participate in any extreme sports or activities, make sure they are included in your policy coverage.

Confirm Communication plans Stay in touch, create a call or email plan, including how often you will be communicating. In emergencies, the embassy can assist private citizens in locating friends or relatives in the consular district, passing messages if necessary. They are limited somewhat in this function by the Privacy Act, a U.S. law stating that the U.S. Government cannot release information concerning an individual without consent of that individual. The link below is the release form that needs to be signed. Sign and leave with a family member before you leave for your trip:

Check list while traveling:

Always carry emergency numbers along with address of lodging in your pocket. This way, if your phone or purse is stolen, you will have the information to get back to your lodging and have contact numbers if needed. If an incident occurs abroad, check in with family to let them know you are fine.

If you change your itinerary let family or friends know your new travel plans including flights, lodging and ground transit.

Keep up on local issues including environmental hazards by checking the local news.

Blend in with the local population. Dress conservative, keep in mind local customs and attitudes as well as religious beliefs when selecting your apparel. This will help avoid offending local people, especially when entering a place of worship. Also, thieves often target tourist, so by blending in you can reduce your risk.

Have a backup plan. If something goes wrong have a plan B and plan C. It is always better to have a plan in place and not use it, than to need a plan and not have one. Travel smart, travel wise and travel prepared.

While traveling abroad, tourists should focus on risk mitigation as it pertains to managing emergencies. Most crises can be avoided, but some incidents are simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the past year alone, we have had many extreme examples of this which include floods, earthquakes and terrorist attacks. Also, there are the everyday issues to be aware of including, illnesses, accidents, stolen property, assaults and robberies, all of which can be more stressful in a foreign country. Therefore, it is important to be cognizant of the entire spectrum of risks. Travelers should learn risk mitigation techniques, so they can avoid, manage, and respond accordingly. When researching your destination, it is helpful to identify obstacles before you go. For example, how available is medical help, what are the environmental hazards in the area, is there civil unrest and what is the level of gender violence? Your safety comes down to knowing your destination, its culture and finding the safest way of exploring.

Carrie Pasquarello of Global Secure Resources Inc. is dedicated to risk mitigation and threat assessment planning for campus safety and study abroad programs. She has spent more than a decade in a Diplomatic capacity working and living abroad in Europe and Asia. Served with the US Department of State. Trained victim advocate in trauma, recovery and crisis counseling. 1-800-939-0562 Ext. 6

Follow me on Twitter Carrie Pasquarello @glosecresources

To learn more on how to travel safe email

Global Secure Resources Inc.