International travel is a fun and exciting experience, but it’s also a lot of work.
That’s why I have created this international travel checklist for the savvy traveler. It covers everything from transportation and lodging to health care expenses and currency exchange rates.
You might be a seasoned traveler, or perhaps you’re about to embark on your first trip. Either way, this travel checklist is packed with helpful information that will make your next adventure more manageable and enjoyable.
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Have All Your Legal And Travel Documents Ready
Have all your documents ready before you leave home to avoid last-minute hassles at the airport or border crossing when you arrive at your destination.
A valid passport is a must when you’re traveling abroad. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date.
Also, check if there are still blank pages left in your passport for entry and exit stamps. If not, get your next passport renewal started now, so you don’t miss out on any travel opportunities.
Take a photocopy of the front and back of your passport, as well as any visas or other travel documents you may need while abroad. The copies can be used as proof of identity if you lose your passport while traveling.
Before you leave home, check with the embassy or consulate of your destination country to find out if you need a visa, what it costs, and how long it takes to get one.
Some countries require visitors to apply for a tourist visa before they leave home. In other cases, you may be able to apply for a visa on arrival at the airport or border crossing.
It’s a good idea to bring your student ID for additional identification purposes.
Plus, some shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions will offer discounts for students with their university student cards.
You might think that travel insurance is only for those who are traveling to a far-flung destination or for those who plan to get into trouble. But even if you’re traveling to a nearby country, buying travel insurance is vital before leaving.
It gives you peace of mind and can assist with costs should an emergency arise (such as medical treatment and lost luggage) while you’re away.
International Driver’s License
If you’re planning on driving while abroad, get an International Driver’s License before leaving home. You also want to be aware of the road rules.
Not all countries require international licenses, but some do, and others may need them before they let you rent or drive a car.
Vaccinations are a critical part of your trip. You want to find out what vaccinations you need before traveling abroad.
In some countries, there may be laws requiring proof of immunization against certain diseases before entering the country.
Emergency Contact Information
It’s best to have all your emergency contact information in one place so you can access it quickly in the event of an emergency.
I recommend creating a document that includes the name, address, and phone number of every person who should be contacted in case of an emergency (including parents/guardians).
If possible, write down how to reach them in English and the local language.
Medical Record Copies
Before you leave on your trip, be sure you’ve got a copy of your medical records or prescriptions in your carry-on bag or purse in case of an emergency or lost luggage.
Copies Of Important Documents
Put all these documents into a file and email it to yourself so that you have them online.
This way, if your phone dies or gets stolen while traveling, you will still have access to all the details.
Book Your Flight Early
It’s never too early to book your flight.
If you need to take last-minute flights, be prepared for higher prices and increased competition for flight seats—especially during peak holiday travel times, such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Day weekends.
The earlier you book, the better your chance of getting a good deal on airfare.
Here are some tips:
- Check out different airlines.
- Look for promotions and special deals that airline companies are offering.
- Find websites that show you the cheapest flights available at any given time.
Check Your Airline’s Carry-On And Luggage Restrictions
Before you leave on your trip, you need to know the airline carry-on and luggage restrictions.
You should also ensure that your luggage meets all the requirements for traveling by plane.
Here are some tips for packing for international travel:
- Check what items are allowed in the cabin with the airline’s website or call ahead of time.
- Make sure not to pack any sharp objects like knives or scissors.
- Make sure that all your liquids are under 100ml.
- Never exceed the maximum weight limit for your bag or suitcase. Most airlines charge extra fees for oversized luggage and bags.
- Don’t forget to weigh your bag or luggage before leaving.
- Always check the size of your bag.
- Don’t pack anything that could cause a fire hazard.
Make Necessary Hotel And Tour Reservations
If you’re planning a big trip, like a honeymoon, vacation, or business trip, you’ll want to make all the necessary hotel and tour reservations as soon as you know where you’re going.
This can save you money and time.
Don’t forget to send yourself an email with your flight, hotel booking, and tour information so that you can access it easily.
It’s easy to overpack, especially if you’re traveling for an extended period of time.
However, you will be hauling this bag for the next few weeks or months, so the less you carry, the better.
Here is a list of things I recommend packing for your international trip:
- Money (cash, credit card, and debit card) It’s recommended that you bring some cash with you—credit cards aren’t always accepted overseas, and sometimes ATMs don’t work as they do at home.
- Outfits, underwear, socks, and shoes
- Travel-sized toiletries
- Skincare products (e.g., hand cream, body lotion, and face cream)
- Earplugs and eye mask
- Hairbrush, hair ties
- Masks and hand sanitizer
- Mini perfume or cologne bottle
- Shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental care items
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, lip balm, and sunglasses
- Microfiber towel
- Pen (for filling out customs forms)
- Plastic bags (for wet or dirty clothes)
- Ebooks, movies, songs, and apps on your phone
- Electronic devices (e.g., mobile phones, laptops, and tablets)
- Universal travel adapters, chargers, and a power bank
- Necessary medication
International Travel Checklist For Your Baby
Traveling with a baby is no easy task.
No matter if it’s your first time traveling with a baby or your fifth time, there are things you should always remember to pack when traveling overseas with your little one.
Here are some of the items that will help make your international trip go smoothly:
- Baby carrier/stroller
- Diapers and wipes
- Extra clothes
- Baby food and formula
- Bottles, nipples, and pacifiers
- Spoons and bowls
- Toys, games, and entertainment
- Burp cloths
- Thermometer and other health needs
- Changing pad
- Food and snacks
- Diaper rash cream
- Baby blankets
Know Your Destination
Check The Weather
Be sure to check the weather before leaving for your destination, as it may affect what clothing items you will need to bring along.
For example, if you’re visiting a tropical climate during the summer, shorts and tank tops might be appropriate; however, jeans and sweaters would be more suitable attire choices if you’re going during the winter months.
Research Customs, Laws, And Etiquette
Before you go anywhere, read up on the country’s customs, laws, and etiquette.
You’ll avoid embarrassing or dangerous situations by knowing what’s appropriate and what’s not.
Learn Some Phrases In The Language Of The Country You’re Visiting
Before traveling abroad, it’s a good idea to learn a few simple phrases in the language of each country you visit. It can go a long way toward making you seem friendly and approachable.
Don’t worry if you don’t know many words. Just pick up a few basic ones and use them whenever you can.
It is also an excellent way to show respect for the local culture and traditions. Plus, it’s just plain fun!
Research Currency Exchange Rates
Before you leave, check the current exchange rate for the currency of the country you visit.
It’s important to know how much money you’ll actually need when you arrive at your destination.
This will also help you avoid getting ripped off when exchanging money at airports or banks.
Improve Your English Language Skills
Did you know over 1.5 billion people speak English as a first or second language? It’s the third most spoken native language in the world, behind only Mandarin (Chinese) and Spanish.
Speaking English is an essential skill to have as a traveler. It opens up a new world of people, places, and experiences.
No matter which country you visit, English helps you communicate with locals and experience their culture more easily.
Don’t know where to start?
Take Care Of Your Home
Before you go on a trip, be sure to take care of your household.
Contact Your Bank And Credit Card Companies
It’s always a good idea to alert your bank and credit card companies about your travel plans, as they might flag your accounts if they notice any suspicious activity abroad.
Choose How To Connect With The World
Cellphone providers have different policies on international travel. Some will allow you to use your phone in other countries without extra fees, while others charge very high rates for roaming.
If you don’t want to activate roaming on your cell phone, you can buy a local SIM card or use free Wi-Fi as much as possible in the country you’re visiting.
Tie Up Loose Ends At Home Before You Leave
If there’s anything important that needs to be done at home before you leave for your trip (like cleaning out your mailbox), make sure that it gets done before you go. That way, when you return from vacation, everything will be exactly how it was when you left—no surprises waiting for you!
Tell Your Family/Friends How To Contact You
As you plan your trip, let your family and friends know how they can contact you in case of an emergency or if something major happens. Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell them about your itinerary, where you are staying, and any other information that could help them get in touch with you.
Get A Pet Sitter If Necessary
Before going on a long trip, make sure you have a temporary home for your pet (like hiring a professional pet sitter).
If you’re concerned about boarding fees, a good option is to find a friend or family member who can take care of your pet while you’re away.
International Travel Checklist FAQs
Do Airports Check What’s Inside Your Luggage?
Airports do not search your luggage, but if they think something suspicious is happening or feel they need to inspect your suitcases for safety reasons, they might ask you to open up your luggage.
What Do You Have To Put In The Tray At The Airport?
You need to take out laptops, tablets, cameras, and other electronic devices when passing airport security checkpoints. If you have trouble with this process, simply ask an airport employee for help.
Do I Need To Print My Boarding Pass?
No, you don’t have to print your boarding pass; you can have an electronic version saved on your phone or tablet. But you can print out a copy before leaving home just in case something happens.
And there you have it—the international travel checklist.
It looks like a lot, but it really just takes some organization and research before you go. A little bit of preparation goes a long way when traveling abroad.
With these tips, you can make sure your trip goes off without a hitch so that you can focus on enjoying all that the new country has to offer!