The ultimate international travel checklist
If you’re wondering what to pack for traveling abroad, look no further. Here is the ultimate international travel checklist for the young, adventurous traveler.
Traveling is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. But for some people, the stress of packing can diminish the exciting anticipation of before, specially if it is the first time that you are planning a trip.
Luckily, the internet is able to connect travelers from all over the globe so we can share our tips and resources for common travel problems. Finding an international travel checklist online can ease some of the pre-trip stress and make you feel more prepared.
I’ve been traveling abroad consistently for about 5 years, and I’ve done a few trips with Worldpackers. Based on my own travel experiences, and the research I’ve done in the past, I have created my own checklist for international travel.
These essential things to pack for traveling come with me on every single trip I take. So I’m going to share them with the Worldpackers community! Hopefully, this list will help other travelers feel more comfortable when packing to for a trip abroad.
The Ultimate International Travel Checklist
If you’re wondering what to pack for traveling abroad, look no further. This international travel checklist will be sorted into a few categories:
- Travel Essentials
- Other Recommended Items
- COVID-19 Safety
Keep in mind, this list is just my personal preference. You don’t have to stick to the list exactly, and you can add or remove things to suit the country and your travel itinerary.
International Travel Essentials
Here are some of the things you almost always have to pack for a trip abroad.
1. Sturdy Travel Bag
Your travel bag of choice may vary depending on your travel style and how long you’re traveling. But I’ve always loved just a good old fashioned backpack.
You can buy huge ones for months on the road, or an average-sized one for a short trip.
But make sure you get a bag that is comfortable and sturdy, as you’ll depend on it every day while traveling. If you prefer a rolling suitcase, stick with that.
2. Day Bag
Aside from your main backpack, be sure to bring a smaller bag for day trips.
A small backpack or large purse is handy for exploring during the day, and you can also use it as a carry-on bag.
3. Universal Travel Adaptor
Remember that many countries have differently shaped electrical outlets on the wall.
Pick up an adaptor before your trip so you can charge your devices abroad.
If you really love traveling, I recommend getting a universal travel adaptor so you can adjust it to fit any country in the world.
4. Reusable Water Bottle
To save money and eliminate plastic waste while traveling, pack a good-quality, reusable water bottle.
If you’re in a country that doesn’t have safe drinking water, sometimes you have no choice but to buy filtered bottled water.
Or, you can buy a reusable bottle with a built-in filter so you can clean your own water.
5. Passport and Visas
Your passport is one of the most important things to pack while traveling abroad. Make sure it is in date and won’t expire.
Also, be sure to research visa requirements before you leave for your trip.
Most visas are electronic these days, but sometimes you’ll have to mail in your passport to have the visa imprinted.
So don’t leave this until the last minute! (Also make electronic and hard copies of all important documents, just in case).
6. Travel Insurance
It’s always smart to have travel insurance in case you get sick or injured abroad.
Do plenty of research and pick a plan that works for you.
If you are on any medications, talk to your doctor before you go traveling and ensure you have enough to last you throughout your trip.
8. Debit or Credit Card
You’ll need money while traveling, so pack your credit or debit cards for withdrawing foreign cash from ATMs.
Skip transferring money at the airport and do it at a bank in your destination; you’ll get more value for your money as airports often charge high commission rates.
Consider getting a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees so you can save more money while travelling.
International Travel Entertainment
These things will make your life easier while traveling. I couldn’t survive a long plane or bus ride without any entertainment!
It’s always nice to have a good book while traveling. They can be quite heavy and bulky in your bag, however, so try not to bring too many. Or invest in a kindle!
10. Journal and Pen
Journaling is a great way to record memories from your trip.
If you’ve never journaled before, consider trying it out on your next trip abroad. It’s a relaxing way to pass the time, and it helps declutter your mind.
Also, it’s handy to have your own pen for filling out landing cards or immigration forms on planes!
Whether you have a fancy DSLR camera, a compact digital camera, a GoPro, or a decent smartphone, make sure you have some sort of camera to capture the incredible sights you see on your trip.
Pack all the necessary accessories too, such as a carry bag, battery, charger, memory card, and more.
Headphones are one of the most important travel essentials. A podcast or music playlist is great for long travel days, especially if you are a solo traveler.
If you’re staying in a busy city or in a hostel dorm room, consider packing earplugs.
Noises from the street or partying travelers in your hostel can keep you up all night. Earplugs can help block out the noise and give you a good sleep.
Clothing for travelling abroad
Of course, you have to pack clothes for traveling, but clothing preferences will differ from person to person. So aside from the obvious essentials like shirts, shorts, pants, socks, etc., I’ll just list some helpful tips for packing.
14. Comfortable Walking Shoes
Traveling means exploring, which means you’ll probably do lots of walking. Definitely pack your most comfortable pair of shoes for wearing daily.
There’s nothing worse than getting blisters or sore feet from uncomfortable shoes while traveling!
15. Comfortable Clothes
Again, when it comes to traveling, comfort is more important than style.
So whatever clothes you are packing, make sure they are clothes you’ll actually enjoy wearing. You want to focus your attention on the world around you, not on your outfits.
16. One or Two Nice Outfits
Though you want to be comfy 99% of the time, I recommend packing 1 or 2 nice outfits for special occasions.
Whether it’s a party, a nice dinner, or a show, it’s fun to dress up once in a while.
But you want to optimize the space in your luggage, so only pack a few nice outfits and save space for the practical clothing items.
17. Rain Jacket
A good quality rain jacket is definitely a travel essential.
I find umbrellas to be bulky and inconvenient in windy weather. A nice rain jacket can keep you warm and dry on rainy days.
18. Hiking Boots
If you plan on hiking and connecting with nature, invest in a good quality pair of hiking boots. I’ve done a few hikes in sneakers and just wished I had better shoes the whole time.
They do take up a bit of room in your bag, so only pack them if you’re an adventurous traveler who will be hiking in nature. But they’re so worth it!
19. Sun Protection
Even if you’re traveling somewhere cold, it’s important to have sun protection.
A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are great ways to protect your skin from the sun while traveling. Also, consider lip balm with SPF in it.
Other Recommended Items
Here are some other random items that I always recommend to pack for a trip abroad.
20. Travel-Sized Toiletries
It’s up to you whether you’d like to pack your own toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc. or buy it at your destination.
If you only need 30ml or less of each, I recommend packing your own.
But if you’re traveling for a while, it may be easier to just buy it when you arrive overseas.
21. Student ID card
If you’re a student, always travel with your ID card.
Many tours and attractions overseas have student discounts. So flash your ID to save a little extra money!
22. A Few Plastic Bags
This might seem random, but having one or two plastic bags actually comes in handy while traveling.
If you have a wet bathing suit or dirty clothes, it’s much more convenient to store them in a plastic bag until you reach your next destination.
23. Microfiber Towel
A microfiber tower dries quickly and rolls up to be much smaller than a normal towel. So it’s perfect for backpacking with limited space!
24. Luggage Locks
If you’re nervous about pickpockets, pack a luggage lock so you can secure the zipper on your bag.
Most hostel dorm rooms have lockers where you can safely store your belongings, but a luggage lock provides extra security.
Let’s face it, the world has changed a lot in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Traveling safely now means you have to take extra precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
So pack your face mask, hand sanitizer, any other medications or products you may need and consider our Covid-19 recommendations and how to support the travel industry during the pandemic.