State Department Shares Travel Advice for Summer Vacation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to a recent survey from The Vacationer, nearly 25 percent of American adults, which is roughly 64 million people, intend to travel abroad this summer. Before you pack your sandals, sunglasses and beachwear for that summer trip, the State Department shares how travelers can prepare to have a safe vacation overseas. 

As the temperatures start to get warmer, kids get out of school for the summer break and work is starting to feel like too much work, you might be ready for a much needed vacation. But before you book your flight, the State Department is urging people to plan ahead.  

“If you can hear my voice and are thinking of traveling this summer I hope you can check the expiration date on your passport, make sure its valid for travel before you book your travel plans,” said Rena Bitter, Assistant Secretary Bureau of Consular Affairs, State Department. “And also remember a lot of places require at least six months validity left on a passport in order to be able to enter.” 

They’re also encouraging people to visit their website. They said you can find information on the country you plan to visit, like info on their healthcare system, crime, transportation and more.  

“I always check the country information page in particular ways that local law differs from law here,” said Bitter. “For example, substances like cannabis that may be legal here or things like firearms can be illegal in your destination and there can be penalties that are quite harsh.” 

That nightmare became a reality for five Americans in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Some have been detained for accidentally having ammunition in their luggage. New legislation on TCI forbids people to bring unauthorized weapons or ammo into the country. The crime carries a 12-year sentence.  But one of the Americans detained, Bryan Hagerich, a Somerset County, Pennsylvania man, was freed. 

The State Department hopes travelers visit their site and sign up for their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to get updates about safety and security about your destination while you’re on vacation.  

“Also again in case of emergency again super rare, but it does help the embassy locate you while you’re travelling,” added Bitter.