If you're thinking of traveling abroad anytime soon, this is the article for you. We've compiled a list of things that everyone should consider before going on their next trip to another country.
From making sure your passport is valid and up-to-date to pack some essential items in your carry-on bag – it's all here! So let's get to the ultimate international travel checklist!
Make Sure Your Passport Is Valid and Up-to-Date
This wouldn't be a perfect international travel checklist if we didn't cover the basics.
First and foremost, before you even think about international travel and purchasing tickets for flights or a bus ride to another country, your passport must be valid and up-to-date. Without a valid passport, you will not be able to board the plane to leave the country, nor will you be allowed entry back into your home country.
You should also check how long it takes to have your passport renewed again before you book your international trip, as this will be the basis on how soon you physically will be traveling abroad.
Make Sure Your International Driving License Is Valid
When you decide on your mode of transportation to arrive at the airport, it's essential to consider if there will be any limitations for driving. For example, if you plan to go to the airport, first ensure that your international driver's license is valid and up-to-date.
You may need an international driving permit depending on which country you are traveling in, so it is good to check before you go if that's required, especially if you are planning on getting a rental car.
Choose the Right Travel Bag for Your Trip (Including a Good Carry-on Bag)
When choosing your travel bag for your trip, we recommend looking into a backpack with multiple compartments and styles.
Pack some essential items in your carry-on bag that might be useful on the flight and while you are getting to your destination. If you have a late check-in and know you will arrive early, it's good to pack a spare change of clothing.
Before boarding the plane and heading out on another adventure, make sure you pack some bare packing list essentials such as:
- Passport (of course)
- International driving license
- Spare change of clothing for the flight
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, floss/toothpicks
- Medications for any known allergies or illness you might have
Notify Your Bank and Credit Card Companies
Suppose you plan to use your credit card while staying in another country. In that case, it's essential to notify your bank and credit card companies.
This is important because sometimes international transactions can get flagged as suspicious activity, resulting in your cards being declined. Save the hassle and embarrassment by notifying your credit card company before traveling.
Get a Good Travel Card
When it comes to traveling abroad, one of the most important things is to have suitable travel money. Make sure your international currency cards are up-to-date and in order before going on another trip.
You can make this step even more straightforward by investing in a sound travel card. Many travel cards now have no commission on international currency, so if you don't want to carry lots of cash around, these are some excellent options.
Get Vaccinated for Your Trip Abroad
Vaccinations are a requirement for airports all around the world today. Although some diseases may be more common in one area of the world, you can get any disease anywhere.
Vaccinations offer a defense against some of the most common conditions you might encounter during your trip abroad. Unfortunately, if an airport requires it, you'll need to get vaccinated before being allowed onboard the plane.
Check with your doctor before your trip to be safe.
Study Your Destination
The next important thing to do before deciding to leave for your trip abroad is to study your destination. It's impossible to be fully prepared for something you don't know about, and it's always better to be safe than sorry.
It would be best if you start by looking into the following things
- Visa requirements for long trips
- Safety concerns
It's also good to know if other languages are spoken in the country you plan to visit. You'll want to make sure that you can go by without having to rely solely on your English skills during your stay abroad.
Learn about the country's currency, learn what you need for public transportation and make sure you're aware of the general prices and how they compare to your country.
Pack a First-aid Kit That Suits Your Needs and Update It as Necessary
When you first pack your international first-aid kit, include all of those essential travel documents such as visas and passports.
After you've loaded those items, start adding other necessities like aspirin or Tylenol, bandages for more extensive injuries, antiseptic wipes and cream, anti-diarrheal tablets, nausea medication, and electrolyte powder packs.
Don't Forget Travel Insurance
It's essential to look into your travel insurance before leaving for another trip abroad. You never know what might happen on your journey, so it's always good to be safe and look into your options.
If the worse were to happen, you wouldn't want to be stranded abroad because you can't afford to pay the bills.
Don't Forget To Notify People About Your Travel Dates
You need to make sure you have booked sufficient vacation time, and people know you are aware. This could be for work or help you manage your home while away. You will also need to give people plenty of time if you need a pet sitter if you have pets.
Before Leaving the House, Make Sure You Have Everything
Double-check you have your travel documents and passport before you embark on your trip abroad. You don't want to hit the airport and be without it! Before leaving the house, say goodbye to your loved ones and lock up any valuable items you have.
If you wear contacts and glasses, make sure you have both before leaving – speaking from experience!
Clothing for Travel Abroad
One of the most important things to consider when packing your clothing for a trip abroad would be knowing what to expect from the weather. It will be easier to pack accordingly when you know what type of temperature you'll be experiencing.
Unless you want to spend 10 minutes each morning debating on what to wear, make sure not to pack more than two pairs of pants, two or three shirts, and one or two pairs of shoes (depending on whether or not you'll be traveling with a bag).
Keep it simple and research what you will be doing so you know what to pack.
Pack Some Essential Items in Your Carry-on Bag
Pack some essential items in your carry-on bag for your flight. Put your passport at the bottom of the bag and any necessary documentation if you're flying internationally.
It's also good to put any medication you might need or prescription glasses in this bag. It would help if you also packed things like toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, and a hairbrush.
The next thing you'll want to consider in your carry-on is what you'll wear on the flight – especially if you'll be traveling in cold weather.
If you're traveling in cold weather, the best option would be to layer up so you can shed a few layers as needed. Pack a pair of jeans and a warm sweater, as well as thermal underwear, because the temperature on the plane is often colder than it appears outside
Before heading on your trip abroad, it's also good to put some significant phone numbers in your wallet or purse. If you do not have connecting travel, you should have contact information for any family members staying at or hotel addresses.
Bring a Power Adapter for Charging Devices
Before you go on the trip, make sure to check if your phone or laptop's charger is consistent with the power outlets in the country. If they aren't, you'll want to bring a power adapter along with you to plug in your devices when necessary.
You don't want to miss out on any chance to take memorable photos and videos while traveling. Chargers are easily forgotten, so check and pack this item early!
Check Baggage Size Restrictions Before Flying
Before heading to the airport, it's also good to check your baggage size restrictions. Sometimes oversized items can be checked in for free, but there is a hefty fee associated with checking in large bags. Make sure they're not too big before you buy your ticket!
Before going on a trip abroad, the regulations surrounding liquids and aerosols are another thing to keep in mind. There are liquid size restrictions for carry-on bags, so double-check that you're not bringing anything over the limit!
Make sure to double-check regulations before flying.
It's also a good idea to double-check regulations before flying because many countries have different rules. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the local laws before you start traveling!
Before Checking Out Different Flights
Before checking out different flights on an airline website, you should always use a search engine to review the company's reviews.
The reviews are essential because they might give you an idea of what to expect from the company if you have any problems with your flight or luggage.
Consider the Different Time Zones When You're Traveling to Another Country
If you're not familiar with the time zones of where you are going, it can be unclear when you land. Research the country before traveling. And make sure you let your family know so they can contact you at the right time if they need to – you don't want any midnight calls!
It's an interesting idea to research local customs before leaving for your trip abroad. This is especially important if you're visiting a foreign country because the norms might differ from those you're used to.
Take a Few Plastic Bags
A plastic bag can be handy for any vacation, especially if you are swimming. By taking some plastic bags, you can keep wet clothes separate on a beach day. They are also helpful when coming home as you can keep all of your dirty clothes separate.
Use This Handy Packing Checklist
There are a few things that everyone needs on almost every trip print out this handy checklist to make sure you have the essentials. Check out the infographic below or download it.
Book Rental Cars in Advance
Save money by booking big-cost items like rental cars in advance. It will also save you time when you arrive at your destination as most of the paperwork should already be done.
Pack a Lightweight Rain Jacket
Even if you are going to a hot destination, a lightweight rain jacket can be helpful for when you land back home if you are like me and live in a rainy climate.
Hand Sanitizer and a Face Mask Are Now a Must
We are living in a time where we are facing a pandemic. Therefore it's more important than ever to ensure you have a hand sanitizer and maybe even a facemask to keep up with local government guidelines. Be sure to check before you travel.
Use These Packing Tips To Be More Efficient
Save space in your suitcase by applying some of these tips:
- Don't pack too many clothes in your bag. What is advisable to take with you? It is beneficial to have a few plastic bags handy for buying things along the way.
- Use some packing cubes to keep things organized.
- Find out what the weather is like in the country you're going to and pack for that while still considering any other places on your trip. For example, if you'll be heading to a cold place during the journey, make sure you bring a warm coat even if it's hot where you are.
- Pack toiletries in a sealed bag in case they leak.
- Keep credit cards, debit cards, boarding pass and over essential documents you need access to in a small bag that you can take on to the flight with you.
- If you're struggling with luggage weight, wear some of your heavier clothes on the flight.
- Travel pillows are not included in your weight allowance, so use a pillowcase and stuff it with clothes if you need to!
Keep a Travel Journal
Memories are memories. Taking a travel journal and keeping a log of your trip will be something you can look back on in years to come. Plus, if you are on a long-haul flight, it will give you lots to do on the way home when many have holiday blues.
Creating a Budget Should Be a Part of Any International Travel Checklist
Before embarking on international travel, it's essential to make sure you have budgeted for your actual trip and have budgeted for spending while you are away. While not an official part of an international travel checklist, it should form the foundation of any time you are traveling abroad.
You do not want to be in debt due to traveling abroad. Check out some of these budgeting tips to help you save up enough money for international travel.
Make Sure To Create a Travel Itinerary
Creating a travel itinerary will help you with all parts of your international travel checklist. It will help you budget and pack according to your trip, meaning you don't overpack or under pack!
You should never overpack and take more than you need. For a two-week trip, two outfits per day plus one outfit to change into for dinner at night is the perfect amount.
International Travel Checklist: Bottom Line
A comprehensive international travel checklist is crucial for any trip abroad. If you're planning a long-haul flight, pack toiletries in a sealed bag and keep credit cards, debit cards, boarding pass and over essential documents that you need access to in a small bag that you can take on the flight with you.
Keep track of your memories by taking a journal – it will be something special to look back on years later! And don't forget: before embarking on international travel, it's essential to make sure you have budgeted for your actual trip and spending while away from home. Consider all the international travel checklist items carefully! Create an accurate budget so as not to get into debt after traveling abroad.
I hope you have enjoyed this ultimate travel checklist guide! Please comment below if you have any tips to add to our international travel checklist.
Mary Elizabeth is a self-taught finance nerd and money master. At the age of 21, she bought her first house, and by the time she was 30 had paid off all student debt and saved 100k.
She founded MeMoreMoney.com to help others achieve their own financial goals with uncomplicated advice that works for everyone from just starting out to those who have been saving for decades.