International Travel Checklist

This list is intended to cover many common issues for international travel courses, but is not intended to be an exhaustive list of pre-departure preparation.

International Travel Insurance

Luther Seminary students traveling outside the U.S. for a course may request a copy of the EIIA International Travel Brochure from the Contextual Learning office. There is no additional cost for this insurance.

Passports

If you do not have a passport or one that will be valid during your trip, please go to this Web site to print a passport application/renewal form: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html. To find the nearest location for passport service, visit the Web site of the U.S. State Department at this link: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/where/where_4851.html

You will need to secure at least two passport photos in order to complete your application. Submit your application as soon as possible. It usually takes at least six weeks to process your application and receive your passport. In order to avoid delays, make sure that you include all requested information and enclose the stipulated fee for the passport service.

You should make a photocopy of the first page of your passport and keep it in a different place than you passport during your trip. If you passport is lost or stolen, you will then have the number and information to get a replacement.

Visas

Some countries require visas at the time of entry. You can determine whether a visa is required by consulting the website of a particular country. Upon arrival at your destination, the visa can sometimes be secured when going through the passport check point. But if at all possible, secure it before leaving the U.S. — it saves time and insures your immediate entry. Apply for your visa by sending your passport along with the designated fee to the country's embassy or consulate with an application form that can usually be printed off the country's online website. You are responsible for completing the application and paying the stipulated fee. After embassy officials stamp the visa in your passport, it will be returned to you. This service can take up to one month (sometimes longer), which means one needs to do this early on in your preparation.

Other documents

Carry your immunization record (usually a yellow booklet) with you on your trip as evidence of immunizations that you have received.

Keep a record of your traveler's checks and credit card numbers. In case they are stolen or lost, these records make reporting and recovery much easier.

Immunizations

Many areas that you may visit require particular immunizations/vaccinations. Make sure that you secure these in plenty of time before leaving. Some shots require one or more doses that are spaced over weeks or months of time. You are responsible for the costs of securing the immunizations, vaccinations and medications that may be required for the areas where you will be visiting. For a preliminary check on the shots/medications that you might need, please visit the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control at this link: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list

Immunization may be given by your physician or local clinic. Some hospitals have special travel clinics where you can make an appointment and personally consult about needed vaccinations. The least expensive place to secure these may be your County Health Clinic. Call early and make an appointment to see the designated health staff person assigned to travel immunizations. In the Twin Cities, you may consult with your local physician, or call 952-967-7201 and make an appointment with a "travel clinic" at one of three locations in the metro area. You will want to make sure that your medical insurance covers this service, if possible.

Reconfirming flights

If the length of time between flights of your international trip is more than twenty-four hours at any point you may need to reconfirm your continuing or return flight reservations. To do so, please inform the airline office at the city where you intend to resume your trip at least forty-eight hours before the departure of your continuing or return flight. You may reconfirm your reservation in any city with any office of the airline on whose flight you will be continuing your trip. Failure to reconfirm your reservations may result in the cancellation of your reservation. When you reconfirm your reservations make sure that the flight numbers and times correspond with those on your itinerary. If you are not planning to use a segment of your itinerary, please inform the airline that you will not be using the flight involved. If you do not show up for a flight on which your are confirmed and have not advised the airline, they may cancel the remaining flights on your itinerary.

Changing flights

If you find it necessary to change your ticket, it would be advisable to contact the airlines involved and find out what the options and costs would be. If the cost is substantial it may be worth your effort to contact the travel agent or office that issued the ticket. Often there is no refund on partially used tickets.

Departure fees

Many countries have departure fees payable upon departure from their country in local currency. When you reconfirm your flight with the airline you may want to check on what the departure tax is. The U.S. international departure tax is $6.00 and is included in the cost of your ticket. Find out the amount of this fee and have it in hand at the time of your departure.

Baggage

In most cases you can check your luggage from your point of departure to your first stopover point. You should advise the ticket agent of where you want your luggage checked to.

Check with your airline to learn their requirements for the weight limits on luggage, including the allowable dimensions, the number of bags allowed, the number of carry-ons allowed, and the weight and dimension restrictions for each type of bag.

If you stop over at a point outside of the United States you will then travel under the weight allowance system from that point to the last point of stopover before returning to the United States. Under the weight system your checked luggage should not exceed 20 kilos (44 pounds) total.

Medication

If you take medication on a regular basis be sure to have an adequate supply for the duration of the trip. Any prescription drugs that you take should be in their original container with the container clearly labeled. We recommend that you carry your medication in your carry-on luggage.

Currency

You will be able to exchange your money at most airports on arrival. Exchange the amount of money you think you will need. If you need to exchange additional money, it is best to exchange your money at a bank rather than at a hotel. Hotels usually do not give as good of an exchange rate.

Customs

The United States allows each person to bring back into the country $400.00 worth of goods duty free. The allowance is increased to $800.00 for travel to certain countries.

If you are taking a camera or other expensive equipment, you may want to register them with U.S. customs before leaving the United States. That way you can prove on your return that the registered items were purchased before your trip and were not purchased during the trip.

Travel tips borrowed from: Menno Travel Service of Minnesota, 4111 Central Ave., NE, Suite 107, Minneapolis, MN 55421