Travel Abroad Checklist

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


Make sure you have a valid passport. Your passport should not expire less than 90 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. 

Be aware of security risks and political situations in countries you will be visiting.

Educate yourself about local culture and customs.

Understand the cultural norms and risks around alcohol, drug use, and nightlife.

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.

Make sure you understand how your health insurance coverage works abroad.

Make sure you take your health insurance card with you.


If you are a student who wants to travel to a high or extreme risk country as designated in the MIT International Travel Risk policy, complete the International Travel Risk Policy Waiver Application.

If you are faculty or staff planning to travel to a high or extreme risk country as designated in the MIT International Travel Risk policy, complete the International Faculty/Staff Travel Risk Acknowledgment form.

Download the ISOS mobile app.

Review current travel advisories, medical and security alerts provided by the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Department of State, and ISOS.

Request ISOS card, or visit NE18-901. A copy can also be downloaded from the MIT/ISOS portal.

The Insurance Office recommends that you register your trip with ISOS.

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.

Register your trip with the U.S. Embassy’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that allows the Department of State to better assist you in an emergency.

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.

Mobile devices and technology

 Check to see if 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 tips before traveling.

While you are traveling

Be sure that your office and family or friends have copies of your itinerary and are aware of any changes. 

Monitor travel advisories by consulting the MIT International Travel Risk policy and the U.S. State Department website.

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

Understand public transit systems and know which are safe.

Be aware of regulations and cultural norms related to alcohol use.

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.