Tips for Holiday Travel Safety: Are you #ReadyToTravel?

Traveling overseas this holiday season? Here are a few things to think about before you head out. Follow @TravelGov on Twitter and send us your holiday travel selfie using the hashtag #ReadyToTravel!

Check our Country Specific Information pages to learn about your destination before you go. has information for each country, including entry/exit requirements, safety and security information, travel warnings or alerts, health and vaccination requirements, and special circumstances you may run into while abroad. For example, in Nepal, if you want to go on a hiking expedition (maybe you’re trying to summit Everest on Christmas Eve to see Santa fly by?), you are required to register with the Nepal Tourism Board. The country pages on provide this type of specialized information!

Make sure your passport/visas are valid!

Many countries require that your U.S. passport have at least six months validity remaining in order to enter that country and some countries require U.S. citizens to have a valid visa prior to entry. You can find all entry/exit requirements on If you need to renew your passport in a hurry (e.g. you are traveling within the next two weeks), make an appointment at the nearest Passport Agency and pay for expedited processing.

Enroll your trip in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and follow @TravelGov on Twitter/Facebook.

STEP enrollment will provide you with destination-specific security information via text or email. TravelGov posts security and emergency messages to social media in real time.

Make sure you’re insured.

If your U.S. health care plan does not cover you overseas, consider buying supplemental insurance to cover medical costs and emergency evacuation—especially if you are taking a more adventurous holiday trip (e.g. heli-skiing in the Alps!). Know that foreign hospitals and doctors often require payment in cash, and emergency medical evacuation can cost up to $100,000.

Stay in regular contact with family and friends back home.

Give them your itinerary and check in periodically via phone, email, social media, etc. Should a disaster strike while you are traveling, your family and friends will worry about your safety. The easiest way to calm everyone’s fears is to keep in touch. In the event that you need someone to help you, your family/friends can call 1-888-407-4747 (or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States) to get in contact with the Department of State.

Know where the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate is located. country-specific information pages have the contact information for all U.S. embassies and consulates. Keep this information handy in case you run into trouble and need assistance. For example, if you lose your passport while traveling abroad, you must head to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to get a new one before you can board an airplane to travel internationally. In an emergency, embassy or consulate duty officers are available 24/7 to assist U.S. citizens.

Safe travels, and happy holidays! 

About the Author: Alyssa Zalenski serves as Digital Media Advisor in the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

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obasuyi o.
December 23, 2016
Good information Thanks
Renu C.
January 3, 2017
My compliment about this blog is very positive I visit this blog first time and impress by this stuff nice work. Great Post Keep Posting such a good information.
Amber M.
United Kingdom
December 30, 2016
I think that amongst all the things you've listed here, getting an insurance is the thing we forget about when traveling abroad. It's because most people believe that travel insurances aren't a necessity and are wasted money. Which is completely wrong because you never know when you might need your insurance. Things happen and they don't ask for our permission. Greetings, <a href="">Amber Morris</a>
Safety tips for holiday travel. [State Department photo]
Posted by Alyssa Zalenski
December 23, 2016


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