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International Travel Checklist: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

International travel planning can be overwhelming. Between planning, booking, and packing it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. While this is totally understandable, the consequences of these little things can be massive. Here is an international travel checklist to make sure nothing gets forgotten. From socks to travel visas, this list will make sure travelers are always prepared, even in emergencies.


  • If necessary, visa for entry and exit
  • Scan your passport and print 2 copies
    • Email the scanned copy to yourself and a close friend or parent
    • One to carry with you
    • One to leave with a close friend or parent
    • Photocopy your credit/debit card
    • Convert at least a couple hundred USD into the local currency.
    • Create an itinerary with lodging information

Use the above link to determine whether or not a visa is required for your destination. Carry a copy of your passport in your bag and leave the real passport in the safe in the hotel. Leave a copy of your credit/debit card with your passport in the hotel. These are just in case a bag gets stolen or lost. The documents section was placed at the top of this international travel checklist because it is the most important step when traveling abroad. Replacing these when traveling abroad are extremely difficult so it’s always good to have an extra copy.

Credit Card and Phone:

  • Register for an international phone plan
  • Call your credit card company and bank and give them a list of where you’ll be going

International phone plans are not that expensive and can often be cancelled midway through the month long period. In order to save yourself from crazy roaming charges, simply call your cell provider or log in on their website to sign up for the plan that works best for you. It is critical to inform your credit card and company that you’ll be leaving the country. If they suspect unusual behavior they will freeze your account which leaves you stranded in a foreign country without a working method of payment.


  • Check with your doctor to make sure you get the proper vaccinations
  • Make sure you have extra of any prescription medication
  • Write down any allergies in the local language on a card to bring with you
  • For personal comfort:
    • Advil/Tylenol
    • Dayquil/Nyquil
    • Airborne/Emergen-C
    • Benadryl

You can never be too careful when planning for your own personal health, especially if you have any special medical conditions. Many health insurances either have no international coverage, or very limited international coverage. The last four items are purely luxuries to ease the stress and discomfort of lengthy flights and long days of touring a country.

The health, documents, and credit card portions of this international travel checklist are by far the most important. Many of the other items on this list can be replaced while abroad, but these items are critical to staying safe in a foreign country.



  • Check local culture/weather and make sure the clothes you bring are appropriate
  • Appropriate amount of clothes. Some helpful measurements:
    • Pants= Days – 2. With a realistic maximum of 5 pairs.
    • Shirts= Days + 3
    • Underwear= Days + 3
    • Socks= Days + 3
    • Pajamas= Number of weeks
    • Swimsuit = 2 maximum
    • 1 pair of flip flops
    • Maximum 1 pair of shoes in suitcase
    • Toiletries
    • Contact case/solution
    • Toothbrush
    • Glasses and glasses case
    • Nail clippers
    • Sunglasses
    • Toothpaste
    • Shampoo/Conditioner
    • Hairbrush
    • Shaving kit

The amount of clothes is purely an estimate based off personal experience. Typically, this amount of clothing can still fit into a standard carry-on suitcase (especially if you wear your bulkiest items on the plane). The packing list will vary depending on the person and the destination, but this is a good place to start. The electronics and basics portion of the international checklist can, for the most part, be applied to any trip.

22 thoughts on “International Travel Checklist: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself”

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