What Employers and Their Employees Should Know about Foreign Travel

Lauryn Page
Traveling for business is a necessary and unavoidable part of the global economy. Often, business travelers will leave at a moment’s notice and can find themselves ill-prepared for the trip. Here are a few things that employers and employees will want to know before their next departure to a foreign land. 

Passport Rules

United States passports expire after 10 years if you were over 16 at the time of issuance. Those who are 
15 and younger only have 5 years of valid passport use. Many countries will deny entry to US residents with passports that expire in less than six months. The reasoning is simple. If disaster strikes, the destination country wants to make sure US residents can return home. Be sure your passport is up-to-date or recently renewed. Also, be sure to have the address and contact information of the local embassy on hand in case you encounter any issues.

International ATM Fees

Out-of-network and international ATM fees can be costly. You can withdraw cash at the airport ATM for only one fee, but taking out large sums of money to carry around isn’t recommended for travelers. Frequent travelers may want to check out banks like Charles Schwab or Fidelity that offer checking accounts with no minimum balance requirements and reimbursements for overseas ATM fees. Otherwise, prepare to face additional fees and charges of frequent use of ATMs, as well as currency exchange rate fees. 

Credit Cards

Overseas banks and credit card companies have had embedded chips in credit and debit cards for years. While the US recently implemented those changes, some credit card companies are still catching up to the new technology. Most overseas vendors reject credit cards with the magnetic strip. Foreign exchange rates are best when converting with a credit card. However, it’s best to research the rules for credit card use and foreign transaction, as fees can range as high as 3% for international purchases.

Travel Alerts and Warnings

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. State Department publishes warnings and alerts about hazardous destinations for travelers. With information about 245 world destinations, the CDC provides travelers with information about current health issues from possible disease outbreaks, special events, natural disasters, or any condition that may impact your health or travel needs.

Travel Insurance

There are three types of travel insurance. Travel Health insurance covers hospital or clinic costs when sick or injured. Trip cancellation insurance compensates for canceled trips, flights, cruises, or train tickets but does not include medical care. Medical evacuation insurance pays for emergency transport from a remote or poor area to a more advanced hospital.

Travel Health 

Employees traveling for business should visit a doctor before going on any international trip. Individual countries may require specific vaccines before allowed entry. Packing a travel health kit for unexpected situations is advisable. A travel health kit includes first-aid supplies, any needed prescription medication, and over-the-counter medication for diarrhea if you decide to sample the local menu. 
To ensure you and your employees are prepared for international travel, be sure to consult with one of Concentra’s expert travel health specialists. Our certified travel health nurses can provide recommendations and information on diseases and current health issues specific to your exact destination.