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Frequently Asked Questions

We asked around and found some of the most frequently asked questions about international travel. Did we miss your question? Ask us on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll find an answer for you!

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

    • We know international travel can be pricey. Our blog post about when to book your flight helps suggest good times to purchase your tickets; but the number of days before your trip is only part of the equation.

      You might also save money if you are able to book your flight out of one city and into another. For example, if you live in Washington, D.C., you could save some money by booking your flight out of DCA and your return flight into BWI. Don’t forget to drop your car off at BWI before you leave then hop on the Metro!

  • 2. Do I really need travelers insurance?

    • The short – and indecisive – answer is maybe. Travelers insurance can cover trip cancelations, lost luggage and even medical expenses during your trip. The price you’ll pay varies by the state you live in and what is included in each package, so you can tailor your insurance to your needs. Do your research before you buy and make sure you’re not purchasing more insurance than you need.

  • 3. Where can I find travelers insurance?

    • The U.S Department of State keeps all alerts and warnings updated on its website. Alerts are generally issued for any events travelers should be aware of, for example, an upcoming election that could draw protests or an area prone to hurricanes during a specific season. Usually, it’s fairly safe to travel during these types of events, just be aware of your surroundings.

      Travel warnings are much more serious. These are issued when the State Department suggests you reconsider your visit to a country because of civil war, frequent terror attacks or general unrest. For some countries, like Iraq, Afghanistan or North Korea, travel warnings can be in place for many years.

  • 4. What can I bring home?

    • Whether you’re a coffee lover trying to bring home a few bags of a great new blend or you found an exotic fruit your loved ones have to try, you likely won’t get them past customs officers. When you arrive at U.S. customs, you’ll be asked to declare any fruits, vegetables or plant products you plan to bring back. If your specialty coffee isn’t on the list of permitted items, get ready to leave it at the airport. The USDA has a full list of regulations about what you can and can’t bring back with you.

  • 5. 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 the staff there will help. They will ask you for a passport-size photo, identification (i.e. a driver’s license), proof of citizenship (i.e. your birth certificate), your itinerary, a police report if your passport was stolen, a completed DS-11 application and a competed DS-64 statement about lost or stolen passports.

      They understand you probably won’t have a birth certificate and may not have your driver’s license. Just stay calm, the embassy staff will help you get back home.

  • 6. Do I need shots or a visa?

    • The need for a visa or immunizations vary by country. The State Department’s website has a great resource to see requirements for any country you’d like to visit.