Travel Abroad Checklist

We recognize there are many steps to planning a trip. We have developed a detailed checklist to help simplify the process.

See the sections below for more information or download the PDF.

For the top five health and safety pre-travel tips for students, download this PDF.


Make sure you have a valid passport. Your passport should not expire less than 180 days prior to your return to the U.S.

 Determine if you will need an entry visa for any of the countries you plan to visit. 

Photocopy passport, visa(s), insurance card, credit card(s), tickets and other personal documents, and give copies to someone you trust at home. Keep a copy for yourself, separate from the originals. 

Scan important documents and email them to yourself.

Carry an extra photo ID, if available.

Share your itinerary with your office, family and/or friends.

Educate yourself about local culture and customs.

Ask your bank and credit card providers whether your cards will work at your destination. Inquire about fees and partner banks.


Visit the MIT Medical Travel Clinic* to ensure that:

  • You have received all necessary vaccinations.
  • You have packed prescription medications to last your entire trip as well as extra dosages for any travel delays.
  • All of your medications are legal in the country/countries where you are traveling.

Be sure you know the location of the nearest hospital or medical facility in the country/countries where you are traveling. International SOS (ISOS) can provide information on clinics and hospitals at your location(s).

Make sure you understand how your health insurance coverage works abroad. If you are a student, review MIT's Study Abroad Student Health Insurance information.

Make sure you take your health insurance card with you.

For additional information, please review the State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) health advice and checklist for travel.

Safety and Security

Record your trip in the Institute Travel Registry to help expedite the look-up of travelers in a particular area where health, safety, or security are threatened.

Enroll your trip with the U.S. Embassy's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive U.S. embassy security alerts. US citizens are required to enroll their passport number; non US citizens may enroll their email address. Non US citizens are advised to check with the embassy for the passport they use to travel whether there is a similar trip enrollment program available.

Per the MIT Travel Policy, please read the Guidance at a Glance to understand how your travel may be affected. In limited circumstances, you may be able to apply for a policy waiver. Note, no Undergraduate MIT-related travel is eligible for a waiver.

For assistance abroad, International SOS is MIT’s provider for medical, security, and other types of travel emergencies. Please download the app ( to your smart phone and / or program the telephone number for the Philadelphia Assistance Center (+1 215 942-8478) into your phone. The MIT membership number is 11BSGC000066, which is needed when downloading the app or accessing the MIT-ISOS website.

Please review insurance policies and coverage provided through the MIT Office of Insurance. Contact the Office of Insurance for questions.

Review current travel advisories provided by the U.S. Department of State, ISOS, and Centers for Disease Control Covid-19 Travel Health Notices..

Request your ISOS cardA copy can also be downloaded from the MIT/ISOS portal.

Obtain and carry the phone number(s) and address(es) of the U.S. embassy and consular offices for the country(ies) you will visit. Non-U.S. citizens should carry the corresponding information for the country that issued their passport.

While abroad, lock your cash, cards, and/or identity documents in a secure safe that only you have access to.

Consider preparing a Muggers Wallet, and be aware of common travel scams.

Mobile devices and technology

 Check whether you can add international calls to your cell phone service.

If your cell phone works abroad, download the Smart Traveler App

Learn the international access codes for calls to and from the U.S.

Learn the local 911 equivalent number for emergencies.

Program important numbers into your phone before departure and keep a printed list handy.

Review MIT’s Information Systems and Technology Secure Travel Recommendations and Technology Tips before traveling.

  Read guidance regarding international travel with MIT data and materials from the Vice President for Research and the Associate Provost, and OGC’s Guidance Regarding International Travel Preparation (MIT certificates required).

 While you are traveling

Monitor travel advisories by consulting the MIT International Travel Risk policy and real time safety alerts from the ISOS app.

Be aware of your surroundings and any neighborhoods or areas known to be unsafe.

Although strongly discouraged, due to significant safety and security risks, if renting a vehicle abroad, review insurance and drivers license requirements for each country and purchase insurance when you rent the vehicle. MIT’s auto insurance does not cover you while abroad.


*Services are available to all graduate and undergraduate students as well as faculty and staff who use MIT Medical for their primary care.