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State Department issues guidances ahead of summer travel season

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – As Americans start their summer travel season, the State Department wants international travelers to stay safe.

Rena Bitter, who works in consular affairs at the State Department, said the most important thing for international travelers is the expiration date on your passport. Some destinations require 6 months validity on travelers passports in order to enter.

Bitter said travelers should go to travel.state.gov to learn more about any of their foreign destinations. There’s information for every country on crime, health, and important local laws that may differ from American laws.

“Items that might be legal here, substances like cannabis or firearms, items like firearms, might not be legal where you’re traveling to and penalties can be really harsh,” Bitter said.

Her advice comes as 5 Americans in Turks and Caicos have been detained for months over ammunition allegedly left in their bags.

Most Americans won’t run into any trouble while abroad, but Bitter suggests registering for the “smart traveler enrollment program” just in case.

“It’s a way that you can get information on your destination while you’re traveling in your destination, also in case of emergency it can help the embassy locate you,” Bitter said.

While there are a number of concerns travelers need to take seriously, Bitter said there’s never been a better time for Americans to travel.

“More Americans than ever before can travel internationally, more Americans have passports and so we really do want to make sure that Americans have all the information they need to have both a safe and super fun vacation overseas.”

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