Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!

Red Alert Checklist: What to Remember Before You Travel

A quick reference to help you ask the pertinent questions for the best travel experience.


  • Are there any special requirements for your destination? Vaccinations? Visas, passports, or I.D.s? Remember that government-issued photo ID (such as a passport or driver's license) is needed at airports, Amtrak rail stations and even some bus terminals. Detailed road maps? Bug repellents? Appropriate attire?
  • Do any theater, restaurant, or travel reservations need to be booked in advance? (You can often make reservations right at home either online or toll-free over the phone.)
  • Did you make sure your favorite attraction is open? Some attractions (such as skyscraper observation decks) are closed for security reasons. Many scheduled tours, festivals, and special events have also been cancelled. Other attractions close or operate within reduced hours during off-seasons. Call ahead for opening and closing hours.
  • If you purchased traveler's checks, have you recorded the check numbers and stored the documentation separately from the checks?
  • Did you pack your camera and an extra set of camera batteries and purchase enough film? If you packed film in your checked or carry-on baggage, did you invest in protective pouches to shield film from airport x-rays?
  • Do you have a safe, accessible place to store money, such as a money-belt?
  • Did you bring your ID cards that could entitle you to discounts such as AAA and AARP cards, student IDs, etc.?
  • Did you bring emergency drug prescriptions, enough medicine for the duration of your trip, and extra glasses and/or contact lenses?
  • Do you have your credit card pin numbers and are they memorized or written down in a safe place separate from the cards?
  • If you have an E-ticket, do you have documentation? You can't get into the airport departure area without it.
  • Did you leave a copy of your itinerary with someone at home?
  • For international destinations, did you check to see if any travel advisories have been issued by the U.S. State Department ( regarding your destination?
  • If going abroad, do you have the address and phone number of your country's embassy with you?