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International Travel FAQ

What do inquiring minds want to know about international travel? Here are five of the most frequently asked questions.  

  • 1. How can I pay less for my plane ticket?

    • International travel can be pricey. Timing is everything and, oftentimes, deals are fleeting. (Check out our blog post about when to book your flight.) So, if you come across an offer that’s too good to be true, don’t think, just buy. Even nonrefundable flights give you a 24 hour grace period to refund your purchase in full – for any reason.

      Use fare finder calendars like Google Flights to recommend the most affordable dates and departure airports. It also helps to learn which international carriers fly directly from your home airport.

  • 2. Do I really need travelers insurance?

    • The short answer – it’s a gamble. While it’s hard to justify the added expense, especially when you’re shopping around to find the best deal, spending the extra money could save you thousands if you encounter an unexpected event or travel complication. Travel insurance can cover trip cancellations, lost luggage and even medical expenses during your trip. The price you’ll pay varies by the state in which you live and what’s included in your package. Do your research before you buy and make sure you’re not purchasing more insurance than you need.

  • 3. What can I bring home?

    • All travelers entering the United States are required to declare meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, soil and animals, as well as plant and animal products they may be carrying. This covers all items in your carry-on and checked luggage. Souvenirs may be poked, prodded or opened to ensure they’re allowed. The USDA has a full list of regulations about what you can and can’t bring back with you.  

  • 4. What if I lose my passport?

    • Misplacing your passport in a foreign country can be scary, but don’t panic. Ask your hotel concierge to help you find the U.S. Embassy, and be prepared to present the following items:
      • Passport-size photo
      • Identification (driver’s license)
      • Proof of citizenship (birth certificate)
      • Your itinerary
      • A police report if your passport was stolen
      • Completed DS11 application
      • Completed DS64 statement about lost or stolen passports
      If you don’t have your driver’s license or passport, just stay calm – the embassy staff will help you get back home.

  • 5. Do I need a visa?

    • You may need to get a visa before you travel internationally. Contact the embassies of the countries you will be visiting for more information. Passport Index is a great resource to see what documents you need per county.