International Travel Checklist

Planning details

  • Apply for your passport with all visas well ahead of departure. If you already have one, be sure that it is valid and that your renewal date falls well after you return.
  • Reconfirm your arrival dates via fax or emails to your hotels or other accommodations, especially if they are going to pre-arrange any transportation services.
  • Cancel newspaper deliveries and arrange for the post office to hold mail delivery.
  • Arrange for a sitter, or for boarding.
  • Arrange a house sitter, or someone to water plants and keep an eye on things.

Documents to take with you

  • Keep them handy at all times.
  • This are important in case the country requires return verification.
  • You may also need a an international driver's license.
  • Possibly also pre-purchased foreign currency available at your local bank.
  • Use these for all purchases except tipping or smaller transactions.
  • Include all telephone numbers and addresses for destinations.
  • Important for items such as a laptop so there can be no question of ownership.
  • Have two of everything in case one set gets lost!

Insurance

  • Find out if your medical insurance is valid in other countries in case of an emergency. If not, consider purchasing a travel medical insurance policy.
  • Some automobile insurance coverage is portable to other countries. If your coverage is portable, you can save buying car rental liability insurance.

Important items to pack

  • These should all be clearly marked and in childproof containers.
  • Include salt tablets for arid countries.
  • These should state any allergies or medical conditions.
  • Plain and durable is best.
  • Be familiar with basic terms.
  • Be sure to set it and your watch on local time.
  • Most countries uses 220 volts.
  • Hair dryers, curling irons and electric razors.
  • This comes in handy in case of a blackout.

Items to leave behind

  • Leave a copy with family or a friend
  • Including all pages and photo and all other travel documentation
  • Any cards you will not be using, leave at home.
  • Other than your wedding rings and watch, any other jewelry should be costume.
  • Really, any sharp object that may be mistake as a weapon.

When you arrive at your destination

  • Also check on any future flights, hotels or car rentals.
  • Have enough small currency for tipping and small purchases. Banks normally give the best exchange rate.
  • Register with the Embassy for visits beyond a few days.
  • Know where to go in case of a fire.
  • Call the desk to be sure your phone works.
  • Be sure that they work. Never leave your room key at the front desk.
  • Inquire with hotel staff which sources of public transportation are the most economical and the most reliable.

The world becomes a smaller, friendlier place when more people discover the excitement of international travel.  Whether you are an experienced traveler, or this is your first time out of the country, there are many things you must plan for and consider before catching your flight or taking that extended cruise to South America. The success of your trip will depend on careful planning to be sure that you have exactly what you need for the countries you will be visiting. Part of the fun of traveling to other countries is the planning stage.   You may already be tingling with excitement knowing that you are about to make a dream trip come true.  If you already know something about the people, customs and weather of the country, you have a great head start! By using the checklist below you will be organized and on top of all the important issues.  Then you can then relax and look forward to your trip with confidence.  

Tips

Unlike travel within the United States, you will need a passport (or visa) to enter any new country. Due to heightened security, even crossing the borders into Mexico or Canada has become more complicated. Each country has their own regulations and restrictions with some even requiring immunizations before tourists can enter. You must be prepared for language and monetary differences which can be confusing if you have not done your homework. Americans are not accustomed to making many adjustments when they travel domestically. We sometimes forget that we are no longer protected by our government when we travel outside our borders. A wise traveler will be aware of possible pitfalls and will plan accordingly. Try not to feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the details of international travel. You can avoid the stress of last minute preparations by researching and early planning.