International Travel Checklist
Here are some steps you can take to help you prepare completely for travel abroad so there will be no surprises when you get to the airport. (Summarized from the U.S. Passports & International Travel website)
- Travel Alerts and Warnings for your destination: Go to the State Department web site for up-do-date information.
- Travel Documents: You will need a U.S. passport to travel overseas and reenter the United States. Be sure to allow a lot of time to get yours if you don’t already have one. (routine processing times: 4-6 weeks) For Dominican Republic your passport must be valid at time of entry and you must have one blank page for the entry stamp. You will be required to purchase a tourist card upon arrival. Mexico requires 6 months minimum validity for entry as well as one blank page for the entry stamp. A tourist card/entry permit will be required and can be obtained at the airport upon arrival.
- Emergency Preparations: U.S. Embassy or Consulate personnel are available for emergency assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can get contact information on the website listed above.
- Driving Overseas? (I would highly recommend you do not drive in Dominican Republic! The drivers there seem to see the driving laws as suggestions.) As for Cancun, your U.S. driver’s license is valid in Mexico. You must get Mexican auto insurance as U.S. automobile liability insurance is not valid in Mexico.
- Pack Smart: Pack light so that you can move quickly and have a free hand when you need it. Carry a minimum number of valuables and plan places to conceal them. Make sure you have not packed any banned items or substances in your luggage or clothing. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity and nationality. Avoid packing IDs, tickets and other vital documents in backpacks or other locations you won’t be able to see at all times.
- Have Photocopies of Your Itinerary and Travel Documents: Make 2 copies of your documents. Leave one with a friend or relative at home. Pack the other copy with you stored separately from the originals. Let at least one person know exactly where you will be staying and how to contact you in an emergency. Documents include: Passport ID page, itinerary, hotel confirmation, airline ticket, driver’s license, credit cards brought on the trip, and traveler’s check serial numbers if you are bringing these.
- Check and understand the exchange rate before you travel. The resorts you will be staying at will accept U.S. Dollars, so you may not have to convert any money while you are there unless you are traveling off the resort properties.
- Before you leave, notify your bank or credit card company that you will be traveling overseas. This will really help when you go to use them so you can avoid making those calls when you are shopping. Be sure to check which cards are accepted before you travel with them.
- Avoid carrying or flashing large amounts of cash when paying a bill. No sense in making yourself a target.
- Check for required vaccinations before you travel. At this time there are no required vaccinations for either Mexico or Dominican Republic.
- Finding medical help abroad: Check your health insurance provider to learn what they will cover when you are out of the country. Often times, payment up front is required before treatment can be provided. If you require medical assistance, be sure to ask about costs before you agree to treatment.
- Prescriptions or other medications: Be sure to pack enough to last your entire trip plus a few extra in case of unexpected delays. Carry them in their original labeled containers and pack them in your carry-on luggage so it arrives with you. Ask your doctor or pharmacy for the generic equivalent name of your prescriptions in case you need to purchase additional medication abroad. Get a letter from your physician in case you are questioned about your carry-on medications.