Safeguard Your Documents! Make two copies of all your travel documents in case of emergency. Leave one copy with a trusted friend or relative at home and carry the other separately from your original documents. To help prevent theft, do not carry your passport in your back pocket, and keep it separate from your money.
Passport: Apply several months in advance for a new passport. If you already have one, it should be valid for at least six months after you return home and have two or more blank pages, depending on your destination. Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter.
Children’s passports: Passports issued for children under age 16 are valid for only five years, not 10 years like adult passports. Check passport expiration dates carefully and renew early. Europe Travel via Canada and UK: Europe’s 26 Schengen countries strictly enforce the six-month validity rule. If you are transiting through Canada or the UK : which do not have that requirement : your passport must be valid at least six months, or airlines may not let you board your onward flight to Europe.
Visas: You may need to get a visa before you travel to a foreign destination. Contact the embassy of the countries you will be visiting for more information.
Medications: Some prescription drugs, including narcotics and some U.S. over-the-counter medications, are illegal in other countries. Check with the embassy of your destination(s) about regulations and documentation before you travel.
Consent for Travel with Minors: If you are traveling alone with children, foreign border officials may require custody documents or notarized written consent from the other parent. Check with the embassy of your foreign destination before traveling to see what you may need.
International Driving Permit: Many countries do not recognize a U.S. driver's license, but most accept an International Driving Permit (IDP). You may also need supplemental auto insurance. Read more about driving and road safety abroad before you go.
In case of emergency, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate overseas or the Washington, D. C. office at 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444.