By Amanda Huffman
Contributing Writer

Dreaming of a trip overseas? There’s a lot to consider and plan for.  Depending on where you go, you might need to worry about getting foreign currency, having the right travel documentation, navigating a different language and customs, and more.  There are even more considerations if your spouse is serving in the military. Depending on your spouse’s clearance and U.S. military relations with other countries, you may be limited on where you are allowed to go or your travel may require a specialized briefing.


There are a lot of rules around where your servicemember can go when they are on leave. You should make sure your spouse talks to their security manager and leadership before planning a trip overseas. Military members are often required to complete various trainings for overseas travel, and depending on the location, may also need to complete a threat brief before leaving. It’s important to make sure you fulfill the training requirements before you head out on your vacation. Don’t book anything that can’t be refunded until you can ensure your trip can happen. 


Do your research. When you are planning a trip overseas, you need to be aware that there are things that will be different, even if the language is the same. For example, in London there are huge fees for driving your car in the city, something foreign to Americans and which may affect what type of transportation you use. You will also be driving on the opposite side of the road, which can add some complexity. Research the things you want to do, learn about how people travel, and find  ways to blend into the culture if you do not want to stand out as an American. 

This doesn’t mean your travel plans have to be rigid with everything planned out. My husband and I once went to New Zealand with minimal planning on what we were going to do. However, we did research on how to travel around the country, and since there was no language barrier and it happened to be off-season, it was easy to find hotel accommodations and last-minute tour bookings… most of the time. 


When you are doing your research, you need to determine what documentation is required for you to go to the location you want to visit. For most trips a passport and a driver’s license or government-issued ID will be the only documentation needed. You may also need additional documentation, including visas, depending on where you are going and how long your trip will be. Many countries require that your passport be valid three to six months past your visit, so make sure to check the  expiration date on your passport. 

Another item to have up to date  is your health documentation, such as immunization records. Visiting the CDC’s website can help you discover which vaccinations, if any, are needed for travel to your destination. Once you know, make an appointment with your doctor or a travel health specialist to help ensure you are ready for your trip. 

With the Olympics happening this year (2024), and so many people planning trips overseas this summer, these useful tips will help ensure you have a great trip.  


Amanda is a military veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer who served on a combat deployment with the Army in Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career in the Space Force. Amanda is the host of the Women of the Military podcast. There she shares the stories of women who have served or are serving in the military. The podcast has over 200 episodes and over 100K downloads. Amanda is also an author and has published two books. Her first book, Women of the Military tells the stories of 28 military women who served in the military. Her second book, A Girl’s Guide to Military Serviceis the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Winner for Teen Non Fiction. It is a guide for high school girls considering military service to help them build a strong foundation for their future career. She also works as a freelance writer and has been featured in a number of military publications including The War HorseMilitary.com, Military Families Magazine, Clearance Jobs, Military Spouse Magazine, and more. 


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