In 2007, Tyler Hill, a kind and joyful 16-year-old role model, traveled abroad to experience a new land, its people, and culture as part of a People to People youth ambassador program in Japan. He looked forward to having the time of his life. But his adventure quickly turned into a nightmare after he suddenly became ill and died a preventable death.

Tyler would be alive had he known Japan’s emergency numbers, where to go, and how to ask for help in Japanese.

In the midst of unbearable sadness, Tyler’s parents, Sheryl and Allen Hill, poured themselves into grassroots action. For more than a decade, they’ve worked to shed light on poor safety standards, advocate federal and state protections for U.S. students and citizens abroad and empower individuals and families with safety education—a spirited journey that is now Depart Smart.

Hours before Tyler’s death, he climbed Mt. Fuji singing the lyrics to “Walking on Sunshine.” His vibrant spirit continues to inspire all of us here at Depart Smart.

Tyler Hill’s brother, Alec, narrates this beautiful 2-minute video about Tyler and his trip to Japan that should have been the time of his life… not the end of it.


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MISSION: Depart Smart’s mission is to save lives by preparing students to travel abroad safely.

VISION: To lead the world in travel safety.


We inspire, develop and transform student world travelers into safety heroes with our Travel Safety Training Course. We train students and traveling youth to avoid risks and get home safely. We create awareness as the trusted leader in travel safety education to help you and your loved ones Depart Smart for the world. We want students to know how to identify and avoid risks abroad, so they can get help and home to the people and places they love.

We developed online travel safety certification because travel and tourism consumer safety and reporting is poor in a $7+ trillion industry.

“Safety means the world to you when you go abroad. You mean the world to us.” – Sheryl Hill, Founder


Become a Travel Hero

Travel Hero Guy and Gal Through our online Travel HEROES Safety Certification Course, more and more students and traveling youth are Departing Smart with a personalized Travel Safety Plan.

As a result, they are better prepared by knowing their destination’s local emergency phone numbers, getting the proper vaccinations and insurance, making digital copies of personal records, registering trips with the US Department of State to get alerts and warnings, asking the right questions, mapping out destinations like hospitals, airports and the U.S. Embassy, investigating neighborhood surroundings to ensure they’re not duped into risky area hotels and so much more.

We need champions with heart like you to join our mission. Register yourself, your loved ones, your friends and even your school to get overseas travel plans today through the Travel HEROES Safety Certification Course. Protect others by sharing our initiatives on social media and with policy makers. Go above and beyond and help save more lives: Volunteer. Become a sponsor. Donate. Your contributions save lives. THANK YOU.

For more information, contact us at info@departsmart.org.