This is what the government says you should do on spring break while abroad

The U.S. State Department recently released a list of recommendations for American travelers looking to go abroad this Spring Break. Some of these tips can help people keep their trips on the right track. In certain situations, following these ideas will ensure that a beautiful spring tour doesn’t turn into a nightmare! Here are some of the things that the U.S. State Department recommends.

Ensure Your Passport is Valid Before You Book

Woman holding passport & boarding pass
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If you want to find a silver lining here, most airlines these days will force you to enter your passport details when you book a foreign trip. In these cases, you won’t be able to book unless your passport is valid. If you slip through the cracks in their system, you could be in trouble. Ultimately, you’ll likely not be able to board the plane.

Crossing over to Mexico or Canada by land could be an interesting situation. If your passport is valid when you cross, they may allow you in, but suppose it expires within a few days; that’s the limit they’ll give you at the border to return to the U.S.

Follow The Guidelines Provided by the State Department for Each Country

Application on the phone with guidelines for travelers at the airport.
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The State Department continuously releases a set of travel warnings for virtually every country in the world. There are places like Mexico where the warnings are set per state. These warnings typically have a line of text that says, for example, “Tourist destination cities like Los Cabos are safe, but avoid x city within the state.”

Each country also gets assigned a warning level according to how safe or unsafe it is to travel there. Places like Israel, Ukraine, Russia, and recently Haiti are going to be on the do-not-travel list. This has to do, of course, with the wars and general civil unrest that’s taking place in those countries at the moment. Other countries may be on the do-not-fly list, so it’s a good idea to check the State Department’s official site before booking a trip.

Avoid Countries With a High Warning Level

A passport and a stop sign.
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This next tip is an obvious segway from the last one. There are usually multiple reasons why countries are on the no-fly list or have a high warning level. The best way to avoid issues during your vacation is to stick to countries that the State Department deems safe or reasonably safe. The truth is, even in those situations, things could come up that can ruin your vacation. Going to unsafe places only increases the chances of something terrible happening.

Locate the U.S. Embassy Nearest You

The building of the US Embassy in Moscow.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Zubkov Igor

Wherever you decide to go, this will always be a good idea. However, there are situations where the nearest U.S. embassy won’t be all that near. For example, you could travel to a beach destination in Colombia, and the embassy is in Bogotá. The next best thing that you can do to stay safe is to have the number of the U.S. Embassy written down in case of emergency. There could be Consular Offices representing the Embassy that visit if you need help. That’s the case, for example, in Cancun and other popular tourist destinations in Mexico. The embassy is usually each country’s capital, but these Consular Offices can be in different cities.

Understand What the U.S. Embassy Can Do For You if You’re Abroad

Portrait of male worker revising documents of young woman applying for visa in US immigration office
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If you lose your passport, you need to go to the embassy to have it replaced. The same goes for people whose passports are about to expire or have expired while abroad. They can provide emergency evacuation assistance. Americans caught in Haiti, for example, have been evacuated by the local embassy in the last few hours. The embassy can also help Americans navigate a country’s legal or medical systems. These are just a few things that the U.S. State Department can help Americans with through foreign embassies.

This Doesn’t Include Bailing You Out of Trouble

Bail bond concept. Gavel and dollar banknotes.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vitalii Vodolazskyi

This extra tip didn’t come from the U.S. State Department directly. Still, it seems fitting to include it, particularly for those going out to party this Spring Break. The U.S. Embassy provides legal counseling for Americans who are detained abroad. That does not mean that they’ll provide money for bail or pay fines that Americans are hit with while they’re abroad. A person having legal trouble abroad can and should contact the American embassy, mainly if it’s more of a political arrest or if they’re a journalist abroad. People who are there to party will typically only get direct legal help if things get dire.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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