Checklist for traveling abroad

Traveling abroad is one of life’s best experiences, but it is also very labor-intensive. Not only do you need to spend an inordinate amount of time in having to pack (and unpack), you also need to ensure that you are complying to every rule and regulation out there.

Here is an international travel checklist that you can keep handy the next time you are planning for that international getaway:



When you are traveling, living out of your suitcase is pretty much the norm. Therefore, you must keep your bags and suitcase(s) extremely organized. Granted, it can be a challenge to keep a large variety of gear in what is essentially one box, but there are ways in which you can keep things organized without having to spend too much time and energy:

  • Make a checklist: While the task is admittedly boring, it will pay off in terms of you having to spend much less time on the inconveniences of rummaging through your bags time and again later on. Keeping your trip and activities in mind, make a list of all the items you will need, and put them down on a paper.
  • Use packing organizers: Packing organizers help make space-saving compartments in your bags, which will help you store more stuff in a more efficient fashion. It makes unpacking a much simpler task, as know exactly where every item is. You can simply take out your organizers and slide them into your drawers, instead of having to literally unpack and repack.
  • Pack proper clothing: Tempting as it is to pack every single thing you like, it is not something you can afford to do with a limited packing space. The smart thing to do is include a few basics, tops and bottoms that you can easily layer and change around. Additionally, make sure that the clothing you carry are sober and respectful to the culture of your destination.

Pack a Toiletry Bag

Personal care is very important when you are traveling. You must, therefore, have a compact, convenient and most importantly rule-compliant toiletry bag that can help you be at your personal best.

Ideally, your toiletry bag should have two sections, one for your personal items and another for medications and safety items.

The personal item section should have essential toiletries such as toothpaste and toothbrush, mouthwash, a comb and a hairbrush, clips and pins (if applicable), deodorant, conditioner and shampoo, sunscreen, face cleanser, moisturizer, a towel, basic makeup (if applicable), and personal hygiene items.

Beyond these, you should have a medicine bag where you can store your medications (i.e. if you are on any regular medications). Other than that, you should keep some general medicines that can be used in the event of a common (but not critical) issue such as cold, flu, fever, diarrhea, allergies, altitude sickness and the like. You must also include a mini-first aid kit complete with adhesives, gauze and bandages, a thermometer, an antibacterial ointment and a pest repellant. Remember – the goal here is to keep your health-related safety issues covered.

Keep a Compact Carry-On Bag for your Personal Items

Having a carry-on bag is one of the most essential things you can ever have when on a trip abroad. This is primarily because airlines are known to misplace luggage. In the event that it does happen, your carry-on bag will ensure that you are not left stranded and can navigate your way in largely unfamiliar surroundings.

Your carry-on bag is meant to keep your most personal items, and by definition, should include your documents, personal gadgets (like mobiles, laptops, tablets and chargers), and basic toiletries. It is also wise to include an extra outfit (or two) that will prevent you from going through the hassle of rummaging through your luggage.

Organize your Documents:

When traveling abroad, having all your documents in place is extremely essential. Without your documents (or even with incomplete documents), your ideal trip could turn into a bureaucratic nightmare. To prevent that from happening, make sure to maintain a travel document organizer complete with all essential documents.

The documents that you must always have by your side includes:

  • Passport and/or visa: A clear no-brainer, your passport is your ultimate identity when you are in a foreign country. Having a Visa, however, depends upon the rule of your destination country – some countries are visa-free, some require you to make a Visa on-arrival, while others require you to make one in advance. Make sure you have the right Visa that adheres to the rules.
  • Company or Student ID: If you are a student or are traveling on behalf of a company, having an ID card will allow you to avail discounts from travel agencies and help you get the best deals for your time and money.
  • Insurance documents: These come in handy in case of unwanted occurrences. Insurance should include health and travel insurance.
  • Copies: Make sure to have at least two backup copies of all these documents so that you can navigate in case your primary organizer gets misplaced.


Make Yourself Safe and Secure:

In most places, travelers tend to be the most vulnerable group, being prime targets for thieves and pickpockets. Other than being vigilant to keep your belonging safe and tight, you must keep yourself as safe and possible against miscreants whose activities will only serve to cause you unwanted trouble on your otherwise ideal trip. Here are some things you must do:

  • Keep valuables hidden: Nothing brings more unwanted attention than having your valuable belongings out in the open. For instance, don’t wear expensive jewelry out in public; keep them stashed in a safe box or bag.
  • Lock your bags: Locking bags helps provide additional security to your luggage.
  • Keep money stashed in different places: Having cards and money stashed in multiple places (like in pockets and shoes and in hidden wallets) allows you to have backups you can rely on in case your primary purse or wallet does get stolen or misplaces. When storing your cards, make sure that your wallets have RFID protection in order to prevent identity theft.


Prepare Your House:

This may sound very redundant, but when you are going away for a trip abroad (especially for an extended amount to time), keeping and making sure that your home stays in order should be a priority. Here are some things you can do to make sure that your home does not go into disarray while you are gone:

  • Get your mails held: Nothing is more irritating that seeing your house (or the doorway) being filled with your letters and mails. To prevent this from happening, have your local post office hold them, and collect them only once you are back.
  • Pause the newspaper delivery: Ask your newspaper delivery service to hold off on delivering newspapers for the duration of your trip.
  • Arrange for care of your living belongings: Make sure to have a proper home for your pets and plants. Keep your pets in a pet creche and your plants somewhere where they can be watered on a regular basis (like a friend’s house).
  • Arrange your appliances: Make sure that all the appliances you use are switched off, unplugged empty. This is especially applicable for appliances like refrigerators, where food items will perish and rot.
  • Lock all doors and windows: This will help you keep your home safe while you are away.
  • Pay your bills in advance: Paying your bills in advance helps you avoid the hassles of outstanding bills when you come back from your trip.
  • Share your essentials with a trusted one: No matter how safe you keep yourself and your house, there will always be times when you may need someone to help you get out of a sticky situation. To keep on the safe side, make sure to share key things like a copy of your house keys and your itinerary with someone you trust, who can help you in case you need something.