Know Before You Go What You Should Know Before Traveling to Different Countries

What I love most about my new job in the travel industry is how much I’m constantly learning. From the vendors my company works with to the destinations themselves, I’ve learned so much about things I thought I already had a pretty good grip on. For instance, I’ve learned that Canada comprises 6 different time zones and it has the world’s longest coastline. Of the Caribbean, I found out that only about two percent of the Caribbean’s numerous islands are inhabited. Though learning about places I want to travel and things I want to do is a lot of fun, probably one of the most beneficial learning experiences I’ve had on the job is learning about what’s required when traveling internationally. Read below to find out more of what I’ve learned about abroad travel.


Bring a passport on a cruise with international ports, even if you’re not planning on getting off.
Anyone getting off at international ports of call needs a passport to get back on the ship with no exceptions. While it may sound strange and though it did not use to be the case, it does make sense when you think about. If there’s an emergency during which you have to evacuate, you will not be let back on and that can ruin a whole trip. I’ve heard horror stories of this happening. In one case, a man got off to look for his wife before embarkation and when he found her, they wouldn’t be let back on because neither had their passports in hand. They watched horrified as the ship left without them but with their son on board(who was accompanied by another family member).

Be aware of any international ports of call and research the requirements for each country.
Cruise ships that are not registered in the U.S. are required to make at least one international stop on each cruise itinerary. Even if where you’re going is Hawaii, there might be a stop in Mexico. Do your research so you know what documents to bring.

Mexico and Canada Travel:

Make sure you(and your kids) have the required documents when traveling to Mexico and Canada.
While kids under 16 don’t need a passport, they do need proof of citizenship like, for instance, a birth certificate to enter both countries. Also, it used to be that you could travel in between Canada and U.S. without a passport if you were a U.S. citizen, but as of about 5 years ago, it is no longer the case.

Middle Eastern Countries:

Check your passport
You are free to travel to any country you wish as long as you bring the required documents. However, if you have too many(determined by whoever’s checking your passport) stamps for a country like Iran, you may not be allowed to enter that said country or get back into the U.S. Even if you just have one stamp to one of these countries, you may be denied entrance or exit. If you’re not doing anything illegal or suspicious(which again, depends on who views the behavior), you should be fine. However, it can still cause delays and headaches. Whenever you plan to travel in the middle east and you’ve been there before, request a passport with clean pages.

Traveling with Children:

Always carry the required paperwork.
When traveling with a child when both parents are not present, documentation is required. Whether you are a parent or not, you need something that states you’re allowed to travel with the child. If you are a parent, then you need a letter from the other parent authorizing you to travel where you’re traveling with the child. If you’re a temporary guardian, you need both a letter and the documentation that proves temporary guardianship. Parents, grandparents, and friends are surprised by this law all the time and don’t always have what they need to travel with the child or children.

Air Travel

Know what you should and shouldn’t carry with you.
All international air travel requires at least a passport to board the plane and it is needed again in customs after you deplane. Research what you’ll need as requirements can change based on when, where, and for how long you’re going. You may need a passport, visa, and additional documentation. Also, check to see what items are permitted and what is restricted to bring to and from the country. You may be surprised what makes the list.

Passport Cards
While passport cards do come in handy and are preferred in some countries, they are not accepted in place of a passport in many other countries and CANNOT be used for international air travel. They’re accepted for use to enter the United States from Bermuda, Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries, but always do your research to make sure it is or isn’t all you need.

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What You Should Know Before Traveling Abroad

Dionne Evans

Dionne Evans, the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of HBS, is a graduate from Marymount Manhattan College with a BA in Communication Arts. She has been a professional writer for over 7 years and loves everything food, beauty, and travel related. For more information on Dionne, visit:

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