The following pre-departure checklist will help you make arrangements regarding your health, documentation, safety, information technology, and finances so that you may be prepared to travel safely outside the United States.
Research Your Destination
- Research country-specific safety information about your destination, using resources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of State, and International SOS. Pay particular attention to health needs, safety and environmental risks, and security recommendations.
- Prepare for cultural differences by being aware of specific expectations in areas such as dress, behavior, business etiquette, and gender roles.
- Complete the Travel, Health & Safety Registration form to register your international travel. The link to this form can be found here for MD students and here for students in the MPH program.
- Register the details of your trip on International SOS MyTrips Portal.
- Schedule your travel health visit at least 4-6 weeks before departure to get any recommended immunizations or medications (e.g. malaria prophylaxis)
- Review the CDC Travelers' Health website for country-specific information.
- Contact the embassy of your destination country/s to determine the legality of any medications (prescription and over-the-counter) you plan to bring or obtain abroad.
- Keep medications in their original containers and bring them with you in your carry-on luggage.
- Make sure your passport will be valid for at least six months after you return home and it has two or more blank pages
- Determine if you need a visa, and make sure you obtain the correct type of visa based on your trip purpose. Students are responsible for submitting their own visa applications well in advance of departure, and for collecting invitation letters or other supporting documentation when required. Companies such as CIBTvisas can help you obtain proper travel documents for your planned destination(s).
- Make two copies of your passport identification page and any visas. You should keep one copy in your baggage (separate from the originals) and leave a second copy at home with a family member or trusted friend. Additionally, you can scan your passport and email yourself a copy of it so you will always have access to a digital version of it.
- If you are in the U.S. on a student visa, inform the Office of International Personnel of your proposed travel plan and confirm that you are eligible for travel. Please be cognizant of global events as they may affect your ability to reenter the U.S.
- Review safety and security information regarding your country/ies of travel which can be found on the International SOS travel portal.
- Remember to register the details of your trip on International SOS MyTrips Portal.
- Download the International SOS app onto your mobile phone to receive alerts. Use of location services is needed for full app functionality. Use the app or the International SOS website to review Country Guides for places you’ll be visiting, focusing on the Overview and Security tabs of the Country Guide.
- Review the U.S. State Department travel information regarding your destination country/s including any advisories.
- (If an American citizen) register your trip on the State Department’s STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). If not, register with your home country’s equivalent service, if one exists.
- Carry a cell phone with international coverage.
- Prior to travel, ensure that your Mount Sinai VPN is working, mobile devices have a mobile device manager installed (AirWatch) and all devices are backed-up and encrypted. Academic Informatics and Technology provides these additional tips for protecting your mobile phones, laptops, and data while traveling.
- Safeguard your data and electronic devices before you travel by minimizing the confidential data on the devices you bring, especially in high-risk countries such as China and Russia. Border and Customs agents may demand access to your devices before allowing entry into the country.
- Be cognizant of your privacy settings on social media. You may want to turn off location services on certain apps and sites as well as change the privacy settings to be more private while you are abroad.
- Contact your bank and credit card companies to alert them you are traveling.
- Check which credit card and ATM network (Mastercard/Maestro, Visa/Plus, Discover/JCB/UnionPay) is common where you will be traveling.
- Clean out your wallet and take only necessary items. Also carry a “throwaway wallet” with a small amount of cash, which you can give away if robbed.