As soothing and exciting as traveling can be, preparing for travel essentials can be as chaotic and stressful especially if it is your first international trip.
Here is a comprehensive list of 25 international travel essential checklist questions to help you guide through that seemingly daunting preparation process.
1. Do I have a passport? Is it still valid?
No international travel essential list is possible without a passport.
If you are travelling overseas for the first time, ensure you have a passport. If you don’t have one yet, apply immediately since the process can take about 4 – 6 weeks.
If you have travelled overseas before, you will certainly be having a passport. All you have to do is check its validity.
Most of the countries require at least 6 month’s validity along with a few blank pages left beyond your stay. If your passport is about to expire soon, it’s better to renew it so that the visa process can begin.
2. Do I need a Visa?
As crucial as the passport, Visa is another travel essential for an overseas trip. Once you have shortlisted your destination, it is important to check its visa requirement as the process can take somewhere around a week to a month. Some countries may even grant you a visa on arrival. It all depends on the country you are from and the country you are going to.
3. Are there any required vaccinations?
Once you have shortlisted your destination, go through the list of recommended travel immunizations for that country to move forward on the travel essentials list.
Talk to your doctor about necessary travel vaccinations. It is important to complete this as soon as possible since it can take a few weeks for immunizations to come into play and build strong immunity.
Also, carry the certificate of vaccinations done as in some cases you may be asked to show them during immigration.
4. Where will I be staying?
Planning ahead makes you a smart traveler. Once your ticket and visa are done, it is a good idea to search through your destination and shortlist hotels/resorts/air-bnbs. Not only will it help you conclude an important part of your packing for vacation but also get you easy availability/early bird discount especially if it is a peak season time.
5. Do I need a guidebook?
While some may say, why buy a guidebook when everything is easily available online, the old school travel essential is still worth the money as it is one of the most comprehensive stores of reliable travel info. From the things you may have googled to the things, you may have forgotten to native emergency numbers to all the hidden cafes and hostels to tipping etiquettes. You will never miss any info especially if your phone dies or is in airplane mode.
6. Do I need an International Driving Permit?
If you are planning to rent a car/bike on your trip, it will be a travel essential to get an international driving permit. The rules differ from country to country so do your research and apply well in time.
7. Should I get Travel Insurance?
Travelling to a new country, far away from home can bring in a lot of what-ifs to the mind which can lead to nervousness. To be on the safer side, it is always better to add insurance to your travel essentials list.
Check with your credit card companies as sometimes it is included and if it is not, opt for a travel insurance that is easy, affordable and hassle-free.
Better safe than sorry.
8. Have I re-confirmed hotel/transport bookings?
It is always better to reconfirm and check all the hotel or regional transport bookings shuttle busses etc. done when packing for vacation. Take printouts and store them in one folder for easy maneuvering through last-minute packing.
9. How will I access local currency?
An important thing to pack for international travel along with credit/cash/debit card is some local currency. You can either get some from your bank or a trusted travel agent or even at the airport although the exchange rates aren’t the best there.
10. Do I need to arrange for house/pet sitting?
If you live alone or are travelling with the whole family make sure your home/pet is taken care of while you are busy packing for vacation. You can either talk to a trusted friend or arrange a professional. Always better than hurrying at the last moment.
11. Have I made copies of all travel essential documents?
Since your departure date is just a week after, it is better to make copies of all important international travel essential documents passport, visa, insurance itineraries, flight tickets, and hotel reservations. Leave this folder with a trusted friend. Also, take pictures of all travel essential documents while making copies and keep them in your google drive or email account. The idea is to have easy access to them in case you somehow lose them.
12. What is my airline carry on and luggage policy?
It is important to be aware of airplane luggage rules when packing for vacation as they are strict and keep changing. It is advisable to go through your airlines' guidelines thoroughly, to see things to pack for international travel in your check-in and cabin bags. Also, keep in mind the weight limit of check-in/cabin bags while packing so as to avoid any excess fees.
13. Do I need a cell phone plan?
An important international travel essential is an apt cell phone plan as the last thing you want to do as you reach your destination country is run and worry about how to get your phone on a working network. You can either get a plan activated on your existing network or take an exclusive international calling card or take a prepaid Sim card with the data/call plan from the airport as soon as you land. Go through all the options while packing for vacation, see which one is the best on the features and lightest on the pocket and choose accordingly.
14. Do I need an International travel charger?
It may not be necessary that the charging ports of your destination country are the same as yours. Always do your research while packing for vacation and invest in a universal travel adapter - international travel essential.
15. Have I packed in the essentials?
Traveling smart requires packing which may not be the most fun thing to do but definitely one of the most important. While wondering things to pack for international travel don’t forget to pack light, add clothes according to the weather, necessary medicines, eye mask, and earplugs.
16. Is there inflight entertainment?
The best way to pass time in a long haul flight after conversations and sleeping is inflight entertainment. Check your flight for their inflight status and also download some backup entertainment on your device or carry a good book to binge-watch on the airport or in case the inflight entertainment isn’t working.
17. Have I refilled my medicines/prescriptions?
While packing for vacation, do not forget to carry travel essential medicines the ones you need in routine and ones for regular ailment such as flu, a stomach infection, fever, etc. Also, carry a prescription of all the medicines that you are carrying in case they decide to check at immigration.
18. Can I check-in for my flight online?
The online check-in usually opens 24 hours before the flight. It is always advisable to do an online check-in as not only you get your favorite seats but you also avoid standing in long queues and save time.
19. Have I weighed in my luggage?
Once you are finishing up packing for vacation, weigh in your luggage again. Keep in mind the luggage limit allowed by your airlines to avoid any extra fee while checking in.
20. Have I checked in all my electronics?
Check-in all your electronics, their battery status, space on memory cards, etc. as the last thing you want is being stuck without electronics and not being able to connect with family or take pictures.
21. Have I packed everything on my packing for the vacation list?
Run through your packing list once, double-checking everything you planned to take with you. From toiletries to makeup to charger – recheck every travel essential item.
22. Have I confirmed my flight status?
Before leaving home, make sure your flight is running on time.
23. Do I have all my travel essential documents?
Another important thing to check before leaving home, check if you have all important documents and their copy if any need arises
24. Have I arranged my ride to the airport?
Make sure you have booked a cab or told you, family and friends, to be ready and reach the airport at least 3 and a half hours before your flight.
25. Do I have enough local/destination currency?
While leaving, make sure you have some local currency in your wallet, since you may need to book a cab, buy water or a local sim card at the airport.