For Those Traveling Abroad

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List everything you need to take with you. This list aids in the task of packing and serves as an invaluable inventory (for an insurance claim) should your luggage be lost or stolen.

Make photocopies of your passport, airline/rail tickets and other important documents, as well as both sides of your credit cards. Keep these copies separate from the real thing. They will assist you in the unfortunate event of loss or theft.

  • Your passport is your most valuable travel document. Without a passport, you cannot legally remain in a foreign country, travel to another country or return to the United States. Keep it in a safe place at all times and immediately report its loss or theft to the nearest American embassy and the local police authorities.
  • Carry only the amount of cash you can afford to lose. Take most of your money in travelers’ checks and supplement with credit cards. When using your credit card, be sure to check that your name is on the card when it is returned by a waiter or sales clerk. (Cards can accidentally be switched when a restaurant or store is busy.) Also notify your credit card company that you will be traveling abroad (to assure that the fraud department won’t deny your credit card usage for fear the card has been stolen).
  • Reconfirm your airline ticket and 
  • Hotel reservation upon arrival at each stopover on your trip.
  • Do not leave cash, jewelry, camera equipment or other valuable items in your hotel room while you are out. Store them in a hotel safe or in a safety deposit box. If you must leave valuables in your room for a brief time, hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door.
  • Label your luggage, inside and out, with your name, address and phone number. As an added safety precaution, use your business address and phone number to avoid advertising an unoccupied house.
  • Pack a lightweight collapsible tote bag in your luggage to bring home souvenirs and last minute airport purchases.
  • Unfamiliarity with foreign currency can lead to costly mistakes. Take along a small battery-operated calculator to compute currency exchange rates. It’s also a valuable accessory when shopping in foreign lands.
  • Do comparative shopping before you leave home for specialty items you plan to purchase abroad. This homework will help you determine what is actually a bargain.
  • Try to pack all of your new purchases in one bag and keep your receipts in one envelope. This can save time and eliminate confusion when going through customs.

Because many pieces of luggage look exactly the same (big, black and on-wheels), match your check stub to the baggage claim number on your luggage tag. To spot your luggage quickly, distinguish it with a piece of colored ribbon or yarn tied to your baggage handle or a bright sticker placed on the bag’s side.

*compiled from Travel Tips, ASTA.