International Travel Checklist
- Health Insurance
- Register your Travel
- International Driving Permit
- Important Documents
- Emergency Contact Information
- U.S. Embassies and Consulates
Passport (allow at least 3 to 6 weeks)
If your trip requires a passport be sure to verify that your passport is current and that it will not expire while you are traveling. Some countries require that your U.S. passport be valid at least six months or longer beyond the dates of your travel. Each country has its own policies for passport expiration dates, please check the U.S. Department of State web site for further information.
Visas (allow up to 6 weeks or longer)
Visa requirements and processing times vary widely by country. Learn about the country to which you are traveling and consult the U.S. State Department site immediately to determine whether a visa is required by your country of destination and then consult the appropriate foreign consular representative for the correct procedure. Please allow sufficient time for the processing of your visa application.
Inoculations/Vaccinations (begin at least one to two months in advance)
Travel to certain countries requires inoculations against certain diseases. Detailed health information can be obtained from your local health care provider or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Be sure to bring your inoculation records with you on your trip and allow adequate time to complete any series of inoculations that may be required. Visit the Vanderbilt Occupational Health site or the Vanderbilt Travel Clinic for more information.
Be sure to have an adequate supply of any prescription medication you would need while you are away because you may not be able to obtain your medication overseas.
Check with your medical insurance carrier before your departure to see how treatment should be handled while you are out of the country. Take all insurance cards and claim forms with you as well as the phone numbers of your physician and insurance carrier.
Register Your Travel
Anyone traveling on behalf of Vanderbilt should register their travel with International SOS, Vanderbilt's emergency medical and security evacuation insurer. Learn more about ISOS and to register your trip.
We also advise travelers to enroll in the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP allows travelers to enter information about their trip abroad so that the State Department can assist in the event of an emergency and allows travelers to receive information from the nearest embassy or consulate.
Students should also register any VU-sponsored travel on the GEO website. Students going to a country currently under a U.S. State Department travel warning should contact VIO and will need prior approval from the Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee.
The Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee is responsible for authorizing an education or service abroad opportunity that is sponsored by the University or involves University programs when there are significant health or safety concerns. These concerns include but are not limited to U.S. State Department travel warnings, travel warnings from governmental health organizations, natural disasters, and on-site reports. Prior approval of the Committee is required for any education abroad opportunity involving travel by Vanderbilt students to a location subject to a travel warning from the State Department.
International Driving Permit
Many countries do not recognize a U.S. driver’s license, although most countries will accept an international driver’s permit that can be obtained from your local automobile association before your trip.
It is important to have a variety of options for obtaining funds while you are traveling abroad (traveler’s checks, cash, ATM cards, and credit cards). Be sure to verify the expiration dates on the cards you plan on taking so that they will not expire while you are away.
Photocopy Important Documents
Be sure to make two copies of your passport, plane tickets, traveler’s checks, credit card numbers, prescriptions for medications and contact lenses. Leave one copy with an emergency contact person in the United States and take the other set with you.
Provide Your Emergency Contact Information
It is critical that people at home have contact information for the individual(s) traveling and that those traveling carry information for contacts at home. One way to do this and retain privacy, when this is an issue, is to leave contact information with a trusted individual or in an accessible location in a sealed envelope to be opened only in the case of emergency.
For those traveling, it is important to remember that collect calls cannot be made from abroad (or from within the US) to cellular or mobile phones. Collect phones can be made only to land lines. Be sure to carry contact information that contains at least one or two landline emergency contact numbers.
Also, be sure to complete any paperwork required by your department at Vanderbilt in advance of your departure. If you are an undergraduate, graduate, or professional student traveling abroad, you must register with the Global Education Office.
Finally, to ensure that all travel documents could be replaced and credit cards or accounts closed or placed on a 'watch' status were fraud or robbery to occur abroad, leave photocopies of all travel documents, prescriptions, credit card numbers and emergency contacts in a sealed envelope with someone who could access them any time of day or night during your travel. While it may be unlikely that such events would take place, preparation is the key to keeping unfortunate circumstances from ending an important trip prematurely.
U.S. Embassies and Consulates
It's always important to be aware of all US Embassies and Consulates where you might be traveling. Visit the U.S. Department of State site to find a list of these embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions.