International Travel Checklist: 7 Things You Need To Do (Don’t Forget #1)

Planning a trip soon? Here's your check-list of all the 7 important things you need to do before you hop on the plane.
travel check-list

So, you’re traveling to an international country, and I can bet you’re over the moon overjoyed about this new adventure. There’s no more rewarding feeling than booking a trip to unknown destination and creating your own unique memories while you’re out there. There’s always so much to see, marvel over… oh, and the food, can’t forget that.

But, international trips (unlike national ones) often have a stricter checklist that you need to ensure you’ve had a look at before you get to the airport. You want to make sure you have a smooth and stress-free travel experience, and preparing all your essentials in advance can help reduce any hiccups along the way.

1. Passports and other documents

This is probably the most important check-list you need to tick off because… well, you can’t fly without a passport or the necessary documents. Since packing can be stressful at the last minute, packing way in advance is so much better because you can manually check if you have everything beforehand. The worst thing is having misplaced or lost your passport/documents when you’re only some hours away from traveling.

Other supporting documents include;

  • Visa
  • Plane tickets
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Accommodation confirmation
  • Transportation
  • Medical documents
  • Proof of vaccination
  • Your form of communication in the new country i.e wifi and sim card
  • A language app

When you’re traveling internationally, most countries require that your passport isn’t older than 6 months and that you have the right visa type on there. It’s important to note that you research well in advance what the visa rules are for the country you’re heading to. This might vary depending on your nationality and reason for travel. It might also take much longer to get a visa if you’re an American citizen traveling to Russia for instance, so just keep such factors in mind.

Also, it’s important that you store all these documents in one safe place while you travel. It reduces the chances that documents get lost or misplaced. I noticed that whenever I placed all my documents in the same place, it made organizing my trip easier because I know where all my belongings are.

Vaccinations are a must for certain nationalities entering an international country. For example, I needed to get vaccinated against yellow fever when I traveled from South Africa to Italy. It would be a shame to have to cancel your flight because a small action like this one wasn’t taken.

shallow focus photography of people inside of passenger plane

I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, but most international countries don’t have English as their official language. Luckily, most of their tourist destinations have English speaking workers, but it’s just fun to learn a few phrases before you visit the country. When I traveled to Greece, everybody spoke Greek. But, they were very accommodating towards me because they knew I was a tourist. When they noticed I said “thank you” to them in Greek, boy were they impressed. It just shows them you’re interested in their culture and language.

Travel insurance is another must if you want to be safe while you travel. Anything can happen while you plan an international trip such as canceled flights or injury. You want to be protected from any possible changes and be prepared for it all.

Also, keep in mind that your finances need to be planned for in advance. That includes credit and debit cards and cash. You would have to read up on the exchange rate between your currency and that of the country you’re traveling to. I know sometimes the rate can be terrible, so plan for that in advance. Notifying your bank that you’re traveling internationally lets them know not to worry about card theft or fraudulent activities.

2. Find out your airline’s luggage limit

Every airline has its own limitations on hand and check-in luggage’s. You have to research on the size limit your airline puts on any international luggage before packing. The last thing you want to do is remove your belongings at the airport because they’re over the size limit. Most popular airlines actually have all this information on their website which makes it easy for you to quickly scan your size limit.

3. Make reservations in advance

Making reservations well in advance not only cuts down major costs, but you can enjoy some sweet deals that comes along with it. Whenever you book a hotel or flight last minute, the prices are usually ridiculously expensive. So, being a good planner that you are, making reservations months before can save you some money you can certainly use for other activities there.

4. Research on popular places to visit and eat at

Each country has some breath-taking places designed for you to get a feel on its culture and history. Museums and palaces in Europe are some major must-see spots for any tourist. Rome for example has the Colosseum which is a popular tourist area to visit while you’re in the city. Africa on the other hand has amazing safari trips and monuments which tells of the beauty of the continent and how far it has come.

There are also some delicious spots to eat at in every city that you visit, so using certain apps that shows customer reviews and rating can help give you an idea of where to visit next. It sure does help researching in advance rather than hoping to stop at a good spot.

Tip*: Find out the best time to visit the country. Some months are really warm, while others have terrible weather conditions. Depending on when you visit will determine how much you can do and see. If you’re visiting Europe for example, June all the way until August are perfect months to travel because it’s usually hot and you can expect blue skies.

two brown wooden chairs beside the wall

5. Can you drive in that country?

If you’d love to have your own form of transportation, you can easily rent a car wherever you go. But, you might have to apply for a permit because there’s a high chance that the country you’re heading to might not accept your driver’s license. Plus, renting a car can be costly, especially when you consider fuel prices and daily travel.

Your best bet is public transportation depending on where you’re going. The positive of that is that you get to not only socialize with the locals, but you get a feel of what the country is really like.

6. Have documents saved electronically

When possible, having your different documents saved in your phone can save you a lot of worry if something goes missing. That’s not to say that you can’t make extra copies of your documents, but having them saved electronically is another step to protecting yourself.

Make copies of your passport, boarding pass, hotel confirmation, travel insurance and any other important documentation you think is important. It certainly makes everything easier for you while you’re on the go.

7. What do you pack?

Depending on your destination will let you know what you need to pack. That means, if you’re likely going to be doing activities that involve safari’s or hiking, you might want to pack more comfortable and practical clothing. If your destination is an island, then bikini’s and light clothing would be just fine. It really all depends on the country and what activities you would be getting up to.

But, there are always the essentials you can’t forget to take along with you. Check out the following;

flat lay photography of camera, book, and bag

Clothing and accessories

While you travel, you need to feel comfortable and beautiful while you’re out and about. These are some essentials that you need while you’re far away from home.

  • Dresses
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Jeans
  • Light jersey’s
  • Jackets
  • Hats
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Jewelry
  • Underwear
  • Light scarf

Lotions

Lotions and creams are a must in staying hydrated and protecting your skin from external factors. Also, hygiene is important while you travel to ensure you keep yourself looking and smelling nice and fresh. Plus, it really helps kick-start your day the right way.

  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizers
  • Insect repellent
  • Tanning spray
  • Perfume
  • Spray
  • Roll-on
  • Gels and hair spray

Basics

Here are your basics whenever you travel. While I’m sure you already knew to pack these, you might have forgotten a thing or two. I also want to mention that you might want to check some of these items in (or get a travel size) because they wouldn’t be accepted into the aircraft.

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Shaving cream
  • Hair dryer
  • Make-up
  • Wipes
  • First-aid kit
  • Soaps
  • Feminine products
  • Skin creams, scrubs and masks
  • Travel pillows

Entertainment

While you’re traveling, why not keep yourself busy? Books and your laptop are a must just for those few hours you see yourself getting bored. I must warn you though, you might not have much time for entertainment once you land because you’ll be up to so much already.

  • Books
  • Camera
  • Memory sticks and cards
  • Phone and laptop charger
  • Universal plugs
  • Pens

Conclusion

This check-list ensures that you have the smoothest and stress-free journey possible while you travel. Don’t forget, planning a trip way in advance is the best thing to do because it prevents a lot of hiccups that might occur when you do anything last minute. Don’t forget to pack your documents, reserve your accommodation and activities, find popular tourist attractions and have all your other traveling essentials in place. Bon Voyage!

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