Everyone has heard the horror stories of trips that never made it past airport security. Whether you are planning a corporate meeting or incentive travel for a group, help your travelers prepare by providing them with a checklist. This will reduce stress and ensure there are no last minute obstacles that prevent travel. Below are a few items you’ll want to be sure are on your list.

Immunizations and Physical Exams

Travelers should visit their primary care physician for a physical exam and any needed immunizations before traveling internationally. Depending on the area of travel there may be vaccines that are recommended in addition to the routine vaccinations. Some countries prohibit travelers from entering if certain guidelines have not been met. If planning a trip to Africa or South America, travelers may be required to provide proof of the yellow fever immunization by showing a yellow card, a certificate recording the immunizations received.  Because some vaccinations require time to take effect, 4-6 weeks prior to travel is the timeframe recommended by the CDC.1

Pro Tip: Plan ahead!  Even simple vaccinations such as those for the flu can have undesired side effects such as aches or a low grade fever which can lead to a miserable travel experience.  Make sure travelers allow several weeks before travel to sure that they recover from any possible side effects from immunizations.


Certain medical conditions may require that travelers take medication with them when traveling. This does require a few precautionary steps prior to travel.

  • The regulations on certain medications may come as surprise, so encourage those who are traveling to do their research on any medication they plan on taking. (Read more here.) In the event that a medication used by a traveler is not allowed in the destination country, the traveler should make an appointment with a primary care provider to discuss alternate medications.

Pro Tip: It is best to allow a few week to acclimate to the new medication and be sure that there are no side effects.

  • Even if the medication should be accepted, travelers will want to bring a signed and dated doctor’s note with specifications and dosages. In addition, be sure that all medication and supplements are clearly labeled.
  • As a preventative measure, travelers should carry a copy of their prescription. They can also ask their doctor to write an emergency prescription with the generic brands that are more common abroad.
  • Don’t forget about herbs, natural supplements and essential oils. While many countries may allow these remedies in, most have restrictions on the quantity/volume, as well as the strength of the active ingredient.  Be sure that travelers are aware of .


To ensure an uneventful trip home, make sure to inform your team of any souvenirs that would be best avoided when returning to the US. What appeared to be the holy grail of designer bargains, might end up costing them a large fine. (Find more information, here.)

 Check on Past Misdemeanors

Some countries will not allow entrance to individuals with certain past misdemeanors. While most companies already run a background check on employees, this is important to keep in mind if the incentive trip or corporate meeting is allowing attendees to bring a guest. For example, Canada will often deny entrance to those with a past DUI charge on their record.2 A quick call to the country’s embassy will let your travelers know if any past misdemeanors will pose a problem.

Passports and Visas

Sometimes the most obvious requirements are the ones that get forgotten. Travelers should allow themselves a couple months in applying for a passport. If your destination requires that a Visa be obtained prior to your arrival this should also be taken care of around the same time as your passport application.


While it may be tempting to bring along your furry friend, travelers should be encouraged to leave their pets behind. The requirements for bringing a pet into another country can also be quite labor intensive. Pet owner’s might even be asked to provide a pet passport. Their animal will be safer and happier with family, friends or a kennel back home. This will also allow travelers greater flexibility to explore without worrying about their pet’s needs.

Easy Checkpoints

A few things can make getting though airport security that much easier.  Some ways that can help travelers breeze through checkpoints are:

  • Wear easy on and off shoes that fit snuggly, are comfortable for walking but don’t require lacing or multiple fasteners.
  • Clarify with travelers the size of the bags that they plan to check-in as well as those they plan to carry-on. Airlines as well as many countries have restrictions on size as well as the material allowed for each.
  • Encourage space-saving and easy bag spot-checks by security. The simple way, place clothes such as pants and shirts in individual dry cleaning or similar bags and roll.  This conserves space and keeps the wrinkles at bay.  Use smaller clear bags or packing cubes so that airport security can lift items and place back in.

While checking off the large boxes on the to-do list, remind your travelers that the smaller issues can still cause hang-ups.

  • Prevent becoming an easy break-in target by encouraging travelers to stop mail and/or refraining from publicly posting travel plans on social media.
  • Encourage travelers to hire a house sitter while they are gone to check on the house (e.g. ensure there isn’t a plumbing issue resulting in flooding, or storm damage) as well as water plants or care for small animals such as fish.
  • If travelers plan to use a cell phone during their trip, prompt them to call their cell phone provider to add on a global plan.
  • Help travelers avoid snafus while traveling. Ask them to contact the bank and inform them of travel plans, so they don’t end up freezing the account when they spot unusual charges.
  • Consider other the what-if scenarios. For example: Are guests covered should a medical situation arise while traveling? What about employees who are attending but who may have alternate medical coverage through a spouse?


For some of your travelers this may be their first international experience while others may be seasoned travelers. By ensuring that you’ve provided all travelers with some common issues that can interfere with airport security as well as interfere with travel plans, you can help all travelers enjoy a carefree trip!

Planning an international corporate meeting or incentive travel program? Gavel International can help ensure a successful plan. Contact us for more information.

1 https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/last-minute-travelers

2 https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/402/~/entering-the-u.s.-and-canada-with-dui-offenses