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NC State Extension

What to Know Before You Travel

en Español

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Begin Preparing Now!

  • Begin saving now.
  • Begin getting in shape for walking up and down hills so you will enjoy opportunities for moderate hikes when we get there.
  • Be sure that your Passport will extend at least six months beyond the return date.

Resources to Prepare for the trip

  • Consider reading books and watching movies about your destination. Please share good ones that you find.


Visit your doctor four to six weeks before your trip to ensure you have all the vaccines or medicines you may need.

Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Health Information for Travelers

Vaccination Needle
Routine Vaccinations

Check with your Primary Care Physician to confirm you have received routine vaccinations:

  • measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine,
  • diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine,
  • varicella (chickenpox) vaccine,
  • polio vaccine, and
  • yearly flu shot

Your Primary Care Physician will advise you on which additional vaccinations are required. These are recommended to prevent illness from unlikely exposure to contaminated food or water. We do not anticipate visiting any places with unclean drinking water or exposure to contaminants.

What To Pack

Clothes – Comfortable

  • Layers
  • Long sleeve shirt or jacket
  • Long Pants (lightweight, quick to dry)
  • Rain Gear (Umbrella, Jacket)
  • Sun Hat
  • Shoes that can be worn in wet places
  • Hiking Boots or other sturdy closed-toed shoes for walking


  • 1 Credit Card (Master Card, or Visa)
  • 1 Debit Card
  • NO Travelers Checks
  • Notify your bank that you will be traveling so they do not put a stop on your card when charges show up that are outside your normal range.


  • Leave a copy with a friend or relative
  • Bring your passport


  • Camera with extra batteries and memory cards
  • Small Flashlight
  • “Unlocked” cell phone
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Anti-Diarrhea Medicine
  • Day Pack / Fanny Pack
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Portable clothesline, pins, and laundry soap
  • Washcloth
  • Journal

Be sure to leave a list of what you packed at home, in case your suitcase is stolen.

Preparing to Go

Image of a passport

U.S. Passports & International Travel, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs

  • Alerts & Warnings
  • Quick Facts
  • Assistance for US Citizens
  • Embassies and Consulates
  • County Description
  • Entry, Exit, and Visa Requirements
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws, Special Circumstances
  • Health
  • Travel & Transportation
  • Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

Central Intelligence Agency World Fact Book

  • Introduction
  • Geography
  • People and Society
  • Government
  • Economy
  • Energy
  • Communications
  • Transportation
  • Military
  • Transnational Issues
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program a free service allowing U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


There are lots of online translators like Google Translate.

Consider brushing up ahead of time with a class or computer program like Rosetta Stone.


  • Many of the places we stay will have WiFi.
  • There is no need to add international calling to your cell plan. Whatsapp is an example of a popular app for free wifi talk and text. Everyone you plan to call or text will need to download the app. All that is required to use it is a wifi connection.

If you bring an “unlocked” cell phone, you can purchase a sim card and prepay minutes so you can make calls within the country (this does not allow you to make calls outside of the country).

Back to Extension Gardener International Travel.