Everything U.S. Citizens Need To Know When Traveling Abroad

As a US citizen traveling abroad, there are a few things to consider when planning your trip. Let’s go through some key points to keep in mind before and during your international travels.

Passport and visa requirements

First and foremost, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date. Some countries may require a longer validity period, so it’s wise to check the entry requirements for your specific destination well in advance. If you don’t have a passport or need to renew it, contact your local passport agency as soon as possible.

Passport renewal process

To renew an expired passport, you will need to complete an application form which you can find on the U.S. Department of State’s website or at a local passport acceptance facility. The form will require you to provide personal information, including your full name, date of birth, social security number, and contact details.

Proof of identity with a birth certificate

When renewing your passport with a birth certificate, you must submit the original document, photocopies or notarized copies are not accepted, along with your passport application.

In some cases, you may need to provide alternative proof of citizenship, such as a previous U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or consular report of birth abroad.

Visas for travel

It’s important to research whether you need a visa to enter your destination country. Some countries allow US citizens to enter without a visa for a limited period, while others may require a visa in advance. Check the official website of the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit for the most up-to-date visa information.

Seek travel advice from trusted sources

Before traveling, it’s advisable to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for any travel health advisories, recommended vaccinations, or specific health precautions for your destination Consider visiting a travel clinic or consulting with your healthcare provider to ensure you have the necessary vaccinations or medications for your trip.

It’s also essential to review travel advisories and safety information issued by the U.S. Department of State. The State Department provides country-specific information, including safety concerns, entry requirements, and local laws. Registering your trip with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is also recommended, as it enables the U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in case of an emergency.

Travel money

Familiarize yourself with the local currency and exchange rates of your destination. It’s a good idea to have a mix of payment methods, such as cash and credit cards, to ensure you’re prepared for various situations. Notify your bank and credit card company about your travel plans to avoid any issues with card transactions abroad.

Consider banking with an online bank such as Revolut or Wise that enable you to set up local bank accounts in multiple countries and spend convert and spend local currencies.

It’s also wise to keep emergency cash in a safe place, separate from your primary sources of money. Inquire about ATM availability and fees in your destination country to plan your cash withdrawals accordingly.

Travel insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself against unforeseen events like trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost baggage. Review different policies and make sure the coverage suits your needs. Some credit cards also provide travel insurance benefits, so check with your card issuer to see if you’re eligible.

Staying connected

Check with your cell phone provider to determine the availability and cost of international roaming. Alternatively, you can purchase a local SIM card, use an e-SIM or use Wi-Fi hotspots to stay connected. Familiarize yourself with any specific regulations regarding internet usage, censorship, or restrictions on social media platforms in your destination country.

It’s also advisable to keep digital or physical copies of important documents like your passport, visa, travel itinerary, and emergency contact information. Having these accessible can be helpful in case of loss or theft.



As a US citizen traveling abroad, it’s essential to be well-prepared and informed. Take care of your passport and visa requirements, stay updated on health and safety advisories, and be aware of local laws and customs. Pay attention to budgeting, consider travel insurance, and research communication options.