To save time in preparation, I’ve compiled this international travel checklist for your next long-distance trip.
FOCUS ON SAFETY FIRST
One of the simplest and most important items on the overseas travel checklist is also arguably the most overlooked. State Department travel insurance and warnings can be incredibly important in overseas emergencies, but numerous tourists feel they won’t be part of the small percentage of travelers who need evacuation support or security from hotel or flight cancellations.
Subscribing to the State Department’s STEP alerts for your destination can help you stay on top of upcoming and current travel restrictions, strikes, and areas of political unrest. Any alerts you receive will tell you ahead of time or not to plan for unforeseen obstacles.
Travel insurance can require a few dollars a day of travel and can cover anything from replacing a broken camera to a medicinal emergency, which can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
PREPARE YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AND CREDIT CARDS
Make sure your passport and any required tourist visas are correct. Some countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months after your scheduled return, so make sure you are not rejected or delayed by customs due to your old passport. Not sure if you need a visa? See this list of each country that requires a visa for Americans.
Keep physical and digital copies of your passport and all your documents in case you lose anything, and provide copies, as well as your itinerary and contact numbers, to family and friends you can communicate with in case of an emergency.
Inform your banks and credit card companies of your travel dates so they don’t refuse your purchases, and ask about international ATM fees so you can know which ones you don’t need. It is always a good idea to draw a few cards in case one of them stops working.
Don’t underestimate how useful photographing your passport on a mobile phone can be. If you need to go to the consulate and report its loss, or you just fill out a customs card and you need your passport number, this will most likely come in handy. an image for you to have an additional digital copy in case your phone is running low or low.
EXPLORE YOUR DESTINATION
Whether you are a travel app connoisseur or someone else from a paperback reference, having a definite source of knowledge about your destination is invaluable. Find out ahead of time about the region you are traveling in to gain insight into important information such as exchange rates, useful phrases, patterns, appropriate clothing, and cultural/legal customs. Better to be prepared so as not to find yourself in a difficult situation.
Sometimes the most important thing you pack is in your smartphone, not your suitcase. Offline maps are your best friend when it comes to travel with limited data or battery. You can find Wi-Fi in many places, but downloading offline maps via Google Maps or CityMaps2Go will allow you to keep track of your GPS without wasting battery life and roaming data.
In-flight entertainment downloads can also save you if your TV malfunctions on long-haul flights. Streaming won’t be available without constant in-flight Wi-Fi (which you never depend on), but you can preload movies and TV shows via Amazon Prime, and Spotify’s music streaming service allows paid users to download tracks for offline use with the push of a button.
Don’t forget a portable charger. Watching a few hours of your favorite TV show will surely drain your battery, and there’s nothing worse than finally finding a Wi-Fi hotspot just to make your phone die.
PACK THESE NECESSARY ITEMS
While the contents of your checked bag will largely depend on the climate you are in, you will need most of your carry-on travel in your carry-on baggage. Get started with this international packaging checklist:
- Passport and visa
- Insurance and identity cards
- Cash, debit, and credit cards
- Pen for filling out customs forms
- Earplugs, eye mask, and sleeping pills
- Electrical converters and adapters suitable for your application
- Sweater/scarf in case the plane is cold
- Cell phone and charger
Think of taking a photo of your packed bag in case it gets lost. That way, airline employees know what to look for and you know what was inside in case you don’t get it back and need to file a claim.