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Traveling internationally can be the experience of a lifetime, but to be able to fully embrace and enjoy the experience you need to be fully prepared. Taking the time to prepare and pack carefully will help ensure that you have an hassle-free trip and have everything you need for a getaway you'll never forget.
Whether you're traveling internationally for work or fun, use this travel checklist as you pack up and prepare for your adventure and your final destination.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL PREPARATION
DOCUMENTS AND FINANCES
No travel packing guide would be complete without mentioning the obvious documents you'll need for your trip. The most important of these travel documents being:
- Travel visa
- Plane tickets
- Train tickets
- Hotel confirmations
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of travel insurance
- Vaccination certifications (if required for your destinations)
- A paper map of your destination
**PRO TIP** Make sure to have multiple copies of all of your necessary documents - you should have physical and digital backup versions of your passport, travel visa, and other most important papers. Make photocopies of train tickets, hotel confirmations, travel notes, etc. Take it one step further and take pictures of them all so no matter what, you have your important documents backed up and handy.
1st things 1st - in order to plan your trip accordingly you need an itinerary. A clear itinerary helps you with all aspects of your journey from finding travel and rest accommodations, to finding things to do and finding discounts. In addition, depending on where you travel, immigration or customs officers might want proof of your return visit or your itinerary. Having a paper copy will make the process much easier.
Up to Date Passport and Tickets
You can't get on your international flight without your passport, tickets and up to and date Travel visa. While it's handy to have online copies of your itinerary and your boarding passes, try to print a couple out and have some hard copies to have on hand.
Proof of Travel Insurance
Whether you're a global nomad or a first-time traveler, it pays to have both health and travel insurance for your trip. It won't be worth anything unless you keep proof of both policies with you when you travel, so make sure you bring along so you can contact your insurance providers should anything goes wrong.
Credit Cards and Cash
You'll also want to make sure you've got your necessary credit or debit cards, as well as some cash in the currency you'll need at your destination. Be sure to call your bank to let them know you'll be using your cards overseas. Otherwise, they might put a hold on your account, leaving you in the lurch when it comes time to pay for your hotel room or even some souvenirs.
Get Vaccinated & Pack Your Vaccination Certifications
In addition to getting vaccinated for your own personal safety and the safety of others, depending on where you're traveling, proof of vaccination might be needed. These documents prove you're immunized for the region, and they are sometimes required at security or border checkpoints.
Communication - Phone & Wifi
Make sure to research how you are going to communicate while on your travels:
- Will your phone work where you are going?
- Do you have a SIM card?
- Do you know where to get your SIM card when you touch down?
- Did you make sure to get the best price?
This is very important you don’t want to be in a foreign land with no connection both for safety and peace of mind.
**PRO TIP** Give copies of your passport, paperwork, your itinerary and emergency contact numbers to loved ones - specifically your hotels, the dates you’ll be there, etc. It also helps to set up a couple designated communication days so they know you are OK.
If you take any medications, then it goes without saying that you'll need to bring those along - BUT - remember to pack the prescriptions themselves. Certain medications won't be allowed into a foreign country without a prescription or note from your medical provider. Plus, having the prescription means you can get more of an important medication should you run out during your trip.
Paper Map of Your Destination(s)
Bring along a paper map of your destination(s) so you can review while you are without an internet connection, resting, or just hanging out. Reviewing a paper map in your downtime will help you get more acquainted with the routes you’ll be traveling (and cool stuff to look out for along the way).
Study Local Customs and Know Simple Language
Make sure to get more educated about where you are going and how to behave when you’re there. Learn more about local customs, body language, things to NOT do and do learn basic language skills. Please, thank you, nice to meet you (or their local equivalent). Studying these things online prior, making notes and printing them out will give you plenty of time to review and get more familiar with your destination.
PACKING YOUR BAG
PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS
Some of the first items to include on your international travel checklist 2018 should keep you protected in all types of weather.
Perhaps the most important of all, especially if you're heading to a hot destination, is sunscreen. Although you might be able to grab some sunscreen at your final landing point, it might not be what you're used to. To be safe, bring along a small container of sunscreen. If you're worried about it leaking in your bag, put the sunscreen in a small zippered plastic bag as a safety precaution.
Next up, be sure to bring along an umbrella. Unless you're traveling with a very limited backpack for your trip, an umbrella will easily fit into your suitcase. Snag a small, travel-sized umbrella to save even more space. When you’re out all day exploring the sun can take a toll! A small umbrella is a secret weapon in your travel arsenal. It may seem like overkill but trust - it’s a must!
Another option is to bring along a completely waterproof jacket. There are plenty of jackets that fold up incredibly small, making it a breeze to fit it into even your carry-on bags.
If your travel itinerary is bringing you to a jungle or rainforest location, some insect repellant is a smart item to pack. Small travel packs of insect repellant wipes won't leak or count as liquid at airport security which makes them ideal for your trip.
Sure, you want to travel in style. While that might not mean flip flops for every occasion, you should still bring along a simple rubber pair on your trip. In shared bathrooms, flip flops become a necessity, and they are a nice alternative to closed-toe shoes in hot environments.
Maybe your idea of traveling means leaving behind the beauty routine and going all natural. Or, perhaps you like to look your absolute best when you're globetrotting. Either way, your travel packing checklist will almost certainly include a variety of hygiene and grooming supplies.
Grooming and Hygiene Supplies
Unless you're bringing a lot of luggage, or you're very particular about the brands you use, it's worth leaving behind certain items like shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Those items are readily available just about everywhere on the planet, and they are prone to leaking on an international flight thanks to pressure changes. Make sure to bring some zippered plastic bags to avoid a mess and hold some of these smaller containers. Common hygiene and beauty items to pack include:
- Hair Gel
- Hair Spray
- Hairbrush or Comb
- Toothbrush, Toothpaste and Floss
- Lotion & Moisturizer
ITEMS FOR MAXIMUM COMFORT:
Whether you're heading to the jungles of Costa Rica or backpacking through Europe on a budget, there is no need to be uncomfortable. Spontaneity may be part of the fun, but a few key travel packing tips can ensure you're comfortable throughout the trip.
Don't travel without a pair of headphones. Simple earbuds might be sufficient if you're trying to minimize weight or space in your bags, but noise-cancelling headphones can also come in very handy if you'll be working, staying in shared accommodation or spending a lot of time on public transportation.
Eye Mask and Earplugs
Whether you're staying in a five-star hotel overlooking a major city or a backpacker's hostel by the beach, you can't control the sounds in your environment. It can be tough to fall asleep in unfamiliar places while on your travels, especially when you're battling jet lag. Packing an eye mask and a pair of earplugs can make all the difference.
Natural Sleep Aid
Headphones, eye masks, and earplugs are great at helping you unwind and catch some ZZZ’s but the real MVP is a natural sleep aid like melatonin. A natural, gentle sleep aid will help you catch some ZZZ’s no matter what environment you’re in and can also help you avoid the worst of jet lag.
Haven't we all been freezing cold on an airplane, or chilled to the bone on a long train ride? Packing a scarf can help keep you warm and comfy, upgrade your style, and increase your modesty in certain religious buildings. Best of all, it takes up minimal space and weighs almost nothing.
Favorite Hygiene Products
A few points up we mentioned ditching the hygiene products like shampoo and lotion at home and picking some up when you arrive. However, bringing along two ounces or less of your favorite items can make sense. Favorite moisturizer? Favorite face wash? Favorite bar soap? Bring it! Having some comforts from home can make a big difference, and you can’t always find the products or quality you want abroad. Fill up travel-size bottles of two ounces or less so you can have all your favorite items on hand and bring along some zippered plastic bags to hold these smaller containers.
In all my travels I can look back and honestly state there is one underrated thing that made SO MUCH of a difference - wipeys. Just bring them.
Small First Aid Kit
If you're heading to a major city like London or Tokyo, there will be easy access to pharmacies for anything that ails you. However, it's always handy to have a band-aid or two for minor scrapes or just a blister that forms after a day of sightseeing on your feet.
**PRO TIP** If you are traveling to and exploring somewhere remote, hiking or camping make sure to bring a LifeStraw so you ensure you have clean, drinkable water.
If you're traveling internationally, it probably means that you're hungry for new experiences and adventures. Sometimes, you're also just plain hungry! That's why your travel checklist should include some snacks that can stand up to your busy, globetrotting lifestyle.
WOLO Protein bars
It's hard to travel far with perishable items, and liquids aren't typically allowed through airport security. However, you can bring along sealed goods like WOLO protein bars - they won't melt in a hot climate, and they are full of protein so you don't have to worry about missing a meal when you're out and about. Best of all, WOLO bars are packed with antioxidants to help you fight off pesky travel bugs when you're on planes, trains or just feeling the jet lag. Stick a few in your carry-on bag for the journey, and then add a few more to your suitcase to enjoy upon arrival.
It's 2018, so of course, your international travel checklist is going to include some electronic items.
If you're bringing along your smartphone, be sure to pack the charger. If you need a converter or adapter, stash those in your carry-on luggage, so you’re prepared to re-charge when you need it.
Make sure to bring a converter for your destination.
Did you bring your digital camera only to discover that you filled it up with photos on your first week of the trip? Make sure you have a memory card along with you to prove backup for all the photos you want to take.
Battery-Powered Alarm Clock
Sure, you use your phone as your alarm. But in a foreign country, without a charger, and without Internet access, how will you make your early-morning train? A battery-powered alarm clock is a simple answer.
Some additional items to think about bringing that can maximize your comfort and entertainment while you’re traveling internationally might be:
- An e-reader
- An inflatable neck pillow
- Some playing cards to entertain yourself or make some friends
- Hand warmers
Black or Blue Pens
Having a pen on hand is always a good idea, but it becomes even more important when you're traveling. You might need to fill in official documents on the plane or as you're standing in line for customs, so pack one along in a neutral color like black or blue.
Empty Plastic Bags
One of the most helpful travel packing tips you'll ever get is this: Pack empty plastic bags! These bags can store wet clothes after a day at the beach, or they can prevent your clean clothes from stinking when you're heading from one destination to the next. They take up virtually no space, so there is no harm in bringing a few bags along.
From healthy, tasty snacks to noise-canceling headphones, there is plenty to pack when you travel abroad. Having the right supplies on hand and thoroughly can make your trip a little safer, a little more comfortable and a lot more enjoyable.
For more travel tips, tricks, hacks and inspiration like 300 of the Best Travel Bloggers & Instagrams to Follow in 2019 check out the WOLO Travel Blog - the resource for savvy travelers.