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Your Essential To-Do List Before Travelling Abroad

Updated: May 15

Traveling internationally is an adventure best planned ahead of time so prepare your to-do list before travelling abroad.

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Your Essential To-Do List Before Travelling Abroad

Traveling internationally is an adventure best planned ahead of time, and not just when it comes to booking flights and packing. There are a lot of bigger-picture to-do items that could make or break your trip and should be crossed off early on. But most of your preparation should be dedicated to ensuring health, safety, and financial necessities are covered. You’re excited to be heading to that exotic locale for your upcoming vacation, but in order to have a carefree time, it’s wise to invest a bit of time upfront to make sure you’ve covered your bases by preparing your to-do list before travelling abroad. Whether this is your first trip or you’re a seasoned globetrotter, it’s always helpful to have a rundown of what items you may want to pack – you know, a comprehensive international travel checklist. Follow the checklist below to ensure that your finances are in order, you’ve packed appropriately and your travel plans will go off without a hitch.

To-Do List Before Travelling Abroad

Safety First

One of the easiest and most important pre-trip checks is also arguably the most ignored. Travel insurance and State Department alerts can be incredibly important in emergency situations abroad, but many tourists bet they won’t become part of the small percentage of travelers who require evacuation assistance or protection from hotel or flight cancellations.

Double-check that you also have all of the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions.

Also, if you have private medical insurance, as your provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, and you want to add extra coverage, consider supplemental insurance.

Travel Documents

Make sure your passport and any necessary travel visas are up to date. Most countries require a passport to be valid for at least six months after your scheduled return, so make sure you won’t be turned away or delayed at customs because of an old passport.

If you plan to rent a car or drive to your destination, find out whether an International Driver’s License is required. Make a photocopy of the information page of your passport and the visa page(s) for your destinations. Pack them separately from your passport. 

Book your accommodation

If you have a set schedule, feel free to book accommodation for the duration of your trip, but if you are going to be traveling long-term, book just the first few days.

Once you know the dates you’ll be at your destination, there is no real reason not to find a place to stay.


Notify your bank and credit card companies about your travel dates so they don’t deny your purchases, and ask about international ATM fees so you can find out which ones won’t charge you.

As an added bonus, if you’re a forgetful cardholder (or just want to be prepared in case your wallet is stolen) bring an unactivated credit or debit card in case you have to cancel the few you brought with you. It’s a rare occurrence, but it’s an instant buzzkill if it does happen.

Traveler’s checks are no longer universally accepted, and you may have trouble using them in many countries, especially the less developed ones. Instead, use your bank card to withdraw money from ATMs, which can be found in even the most exotic destinations.

Memorize your numeric PIN, as many ATM keypads will not display the numbers and letters we use, or they may be placed differently on the keypad. Generally, your most favorable exchange rate will be through the ATM, although most companies will charge a transaction fee.

Pack appropriately

Other than the necessary electronics, don’t bring valuables with you. Expensive jewelry could attract thieves who are experts at targeting tourists. If you do bring valuables, always travel with them in your carry-on, and keep them locked up in the hotel safe.

Before you leave, empty your wallet of unnecessary items, such as credit cards that you don’t plan to use on your trip.

If you wear prescription glasses, pack an extra pair.

Use closed baggage tags to label each bag. Put your name, address, and phone number both inside and outside your luggage. If you have lots of different types of activities you plan to do, that means you have a fair amount of gear you need to pack into your suitcase.

Keeping everything organized can be a challenge. One of the best things you can do when you packing for any trip, especially one that requires you to pack lots of layers, is to make sure you use packing organisers. Wherever you are headed, you’re going to have a great time! Just make sure you think through your list of activities beforehand so that you’re able to bring everything you need and pick the right luggage. And pack light if you can using this ultimate packing checklist. It always helps with mobility. And remember, you are a traveler. Respect the people and places you go to visit. Respect their customs, tip accordingly, try and learn their language, and truly immerse yourself in the culture. Travel changes us to be better than we were by opening our eyes and giving us newfound respect.

Best of luck! Travel well!

A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.

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