Travel and Living Abroad
1-866-404-USAC 1-775-784-6569 1-775-784-6010

Pre-Departure Checklist

The following is a suggested Pre-Departure Checklist which is also provided in your USAC Know Before You Go: Student Handbook.


  • Obtain/renew your passport and make sure it is signed and valid for at least six months after your return
  • Obtain a visa, if required
  • Pay remaining program balance or send a copy of your financial aid award letter to the USAC Finance/Accounting Department
  • Determine whether your file with USAC is complete
  • Sign up for the group flight through the USAC-recommended travel agency, if offered, or book your own flight
  • Send your flight itinerary to your USAC Program Advisor; complete your Notification of Arrival form
  • Check your airline for any baggage restrictions
  • Read your Arrival Update for site-specific arrival instructions and make sure that your parents or other family member has a copy


Documents to Copy

Make two copies of the items below; leave a copy with a family member or close friend.

  • Passport/Visa
  • Front and back of all credit cards, ATMs/debit cards, and traveler’s check numbers
  • Identification cards
  • Prescriptions (vision and medication)
  • Flight itinerary
  • Arrival Update



  • Register with the US State Department
  • Complete a Power of Attorney form
  • Get information about absentee voting, if applicable
  • Get information about filing taxes abroad, if applicable



  • Obtain all vaccinations required for the countries where you will be living and/or visiting
  • Get generic prescription medication
  • Have sufficient quantities of prescriptions to last through your time abroad
  • Visit doctor, dentist, and optometrist for a check-up



  • Contact the insurance company about extending coverage if you plan to travel before or after your official program dates
  • Obtain letter confirming full-time student status, if necessary for your private insurance plan
  • Obtain additional personal property and personal liability coverage, if desired
  • Purchase traveler’s insurance



  • Gather all phone numbers, email, and mailing addresses of friends and family
  • Gather phone numbers and email addresses of your home university advisors, financial aid office, and registrar
  • Note the on-site staff ’s contact information in your Arrival Update
  • Determine whether your cell phone will work (if you plan on using it while abroad)
  • Buy an international calling card and/or set up an international calling plan on your home phone
  • Establish an email account that can be accessed from abroad (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail)
  • Create and test an account with a VoIP internet calling provider to make sure you can connect with whomever you will want to call or video chat
  • Make sure family and friends understand international dialing instructions and have contact phone numbers to reach you while abroad



  • Buy a journal (if you want to record your memories in a written form)
  • Establish an online journal or blog
  • Begin writing in your journal or start blogging prior to departure to capture the entire experience



  • Contact your bank to make sure your ATM card and PIN will work abroad; if you don’t have a 4-digit PIN, ask how to use your ATM card abroad
  • Learn what fees are charged by your bank
  • Look into theft insurance and replacement policies with your ATM and credit card companies
  • Inform your credit card company and bank that you will be out of the country and making transactions from abroad
  • Research the local currency of the country in which you will be studying/traveling; know the current exchange rate prior to departure
  • Purchase local currency at the international terminal of the airport or from a local bank prior to departure
  • Put together a budget for your time abroad of estimated and fixed expenses
  • Sign up for internet banking option
  • Check with your bank to see if they have any alliances with other international banks to help minimize transaction fees



  • Determine the voltage of the country where you will be living/traveling
  • Purchase voltage converters or kits, if needed


Course Registration

  • If you are able to pre-register, check your course registration to make sure you are in the correct courses
  • Select the courses you plan to take and some alternatives; get them pre- approved by an advisor at your home institution to determine if they fulfill graduation or degree requirements
  • Purchase required textbooks prior to departure if notified of these books in your Student Gateway account



  • Research the country and city in which you will be living
  • Research the local weather for the timeframe you’ll be living abroad
  • Read books on the culture/general area
  • Purchase a guidebook to use abroad
  • Purchase a phrase book and brush up on some basic vocabulary


Arrival Update

Please remember to bring a copy of the Arrival Update in your carry-on luggage. This update will contain important arrival information as well as contact numbers for the on- site staff. We also recommend leaving a copy of it at home with a family member.


Important Notes, Email Addresses, and Phone Numbers Home University

  • Study Abroad Advisor:
  • Home University Major/Minor Advisor:
  • Home University Financial Aid Office:
  • Home University Registrar:
  • USAC Central Office: 1.866.404.USAC (toll-free in the US) or 775.784.6569
  • USAC general email:
  • USAC Facebook, YouTube, Twitter: …/studyabroadusac
  • USAC Program Advisor:
  • On-site Contact Information*:
  • Nearest Embassy or Consulate at Program Site*:
  • Local Emergency Services at Program Site:

*See pre-departure Arrival Update or Emergency Procedures from on-site orientation