Traveling abroad for vacation is not as simple as hopping on a plane. There is so much to do and prepare before you leave home. Passports, phone numbers, and reservations, oh, my! I decided to help you out by creating this travel abroad checklist so that you can stay focused on your trip and stress just a little less about your vacation. At the end of this list, you will find links that read: “Travel Abroad Checklist.” Please feel free to click on these links to download this checklist as Word Document or a PDF so that you can save it to your phone or print it out.
Keep in mind that this checklist already assumes that you have booked your transportation ticket (plane ticket, train ticket, or car reservation) and have made hotel reservations.
- Most likely you will need a passport to travel abroad. Make sure yours is up-to-date and ready. For information about obtaining a United States passport click here. It takes about 4-6 weeks to receive a passport so apply for one in advance.
- Check for travel warnings. Travel warnings from the United States government can be found here.
- Write down or save in your phone the local emergency numbers and your Embassy’s contact information.
- Contact your cell phone carrier about using your phone overseas.
- Buy travel insurance if needed.
- Contact credit cards and debit cards and inform them of your overseas travel.
- Write down or save in your phone your credit card or debit card contact information in case of a lost or stolen card.
- Print or save copies on your phone of hotel and car reservations.
- Check hotel accommodations: Will you need a swimsuit? Will you need to bring a hair dryer or does the hotel provide one?
- Research the best way to exchange money overseas (obtain before the trip, obtain when you arrive, withdraw from an ATM, cash advance at a bank, traveler’s checks, credit card with no foreign transaction fees, etc.).
- Buy a city map or download an offline map or city guide app on your cell phone.
- Set up tours and museum visits beforehand to get discounts online. A lot of student discount cards can be found online, especially for Europe.
- Budget for your trip by researching costs of food and transportation.
- Download apps that will allow you to communicate with loved ones while traveling overseas when connected to WI-FI (free international text apps, Skype).
- Check for free WI-FI connections in hotels or purchase a month of Boingo which gives you access to 1 million WI-FI hotspots across the world. Prices range from $5-$39.
- Research the destination: What areas are safe or unsafe? What sites do you want to see? What are the laws and customs of the country? What’s the best way to get from the airport or train station to my hotel?
- Create an itinerary, especially for those who are trying to get in a lot of sightseeing. It is also a good idea to send this to loved ones before you leave for your trip.
- Learn basic phrases if traveling to a country that speaks another language.
- Record an “out-of-the-country” voice-mail and set up an automated e-mail response for those who may e-mail you while you are gone.
- Make sure all bills are paid before you leave and that you have already budgeted for bills upon your return.
- Find someone to water your plants, feed or take care of your pets, gather your mail and newspaper, and watch your home and car while you are away.
- Check airline regulations on luggage.
- Buy electrical outlet converters.
- Buy travel-size toiletries.
- Check weather and pack accordingly.
- Make a list of things to pack. If you are a taking a carry-on, Google or Pinterest ways to pack for a long trip in a small bag.
- Inform your employer, friends, and family of your travel dates.
Download as a Word Doc: Traveling Abroad Checklist
Download as a PDF: Traveling Abroad Checklist