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International trip checklist: Basics and tips

An international trip checklist will ensure you are on time for your trip. Discover a list of 10 essentials you must have.


November 21, 2023

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When it comes to getting your luggage ready for your trip, you will always need a little help, whether you are an expert or not. So, if you are looking for an international trip checklist, you are in the right place. In this article, we will tell you about everything you cannot forget and some extra recommendations.

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Why should I need an international travel checklist?

If you are going to the airport and feel you’re missing something, but you don’t know what it is, you need a checklist. With it, you will take the most important things with you, such as documents, a backpack, cabin luggage, an eSIM card to be connected all the time, and more.

You will find many checklists online, so you might wonder which is the best. Our recommendation is to make a list of the most important things you need. After that, you can check other lists where you will probably find some valuable recommendations.

What to take on a trip abroad?

To know what you should take with you on your international trip, you have to consider the most important things for you, basics like documentation, credit cards, your cellphone, a virtual SIM card, and appropriate clothes depending on the destination country and weather, and other examples we will show you below.

1. Get your travel documents ready

Documents and passports
Do not forget your travel documents. Source: Pexels.

You must remember your travel documents. Even if you are not going to travel right now, ensure you have everything ready. Take some time to:

  • You must have a valid passport
  • You need custody documents if you are traveling with minors.
  • Process the visa requirements in time, depending on the type of trip; some countries require this.
  • Comply with vaccination certificate and protocols (if applicable)
  • Buy travel insurance
  • Create physical or electronic copies of your documents
  • Download boarding passes on your phone
  • Enable bank permissions to use your cards abroad
  • Exchange some currency for local money in cash
  • Prepare your driver’s license
  • Additional information in case of emergency

If you do not meet some of these requirements, you will have to reschedule your trip for another season.

2. Buy your plane ticket

Airplane tickets
You cannot forget your plane tickets! Source: Pixabay

Another thing that you cannot forget is to buy the plane tickets on time. Sometimes, because of their daily activities, some people forget to buy the tickets at the right time and make last-minute purchases, paying double the price.

For this reason, we recommend that you purchase tickets and plan ahead; this will help you to:

  • Choose the best time for the trip
  • Check if the flight will have layovers and how long
  • Be aware of the airline’s baggage policy
  • Consider taxes and fees
  • Choose your seating (first class, premium economy, economy etc.)

This item on the list will help you avoid making the most common mistakes when buying plane tickets.

3. Reserve accommodation

Reserve the accomodation
Submitting a confirmed accommodation reservation is a requisite in some countries. Source: Pexels.

In many countries, submitting a confirmed accommodation reservation is a requirement to enter the country. When you arrive at the migration post at the airport, the authorities will ask you to check where you plan to stay for the time allowed on your travel abroad. Of course, this rule depends on the local laws of each country and depending on your country of origin. So, consider the following items when you make the reservation:

  • The budget you would pay per night
  • The location and type of accommodation
  • Check the services that are included
  • Check if you will have a private or shared bathroom
  • Check if you will have a WiFi connection or need additional options
  • Verify parking in case you rent a vehicle
  • Check the opinions of other travelers about the destination

While in a foreign country, it is not easy to improvise where to sleep and stay, so reservations are essential. On digital platforms such as Skyscanner, Booking, TripAdvisor, Kayak, and Hopper, you will find many options to find accommodation that best suits your needs and budget.

4. Take cash and credit cards with you

Take cash and credit cards
It is very important to take cash and credit cards. Source: Freepik

Traveling abroad with a credit card will always be a good idea to buy or deal with any obstacle. However, you must enable the necessary permissions to carry out international transactions with your credit cards or debit cards before traveling. This may vary among credit card companies. That’s why you should:

  • Notify the bank about your trip abroad
  • Set a spending limit based on your budget
  • Check the bank commissions per transaction
  • Consider the advantages of virtual credit cards
  • Create a travel budget so you don’t go overboard

5. Get your international travel packing list ready

prepare your travel bag with international trip checklist
Get your luggage ready with the things you need. Source: Freepik

This aspect is very relevant because the key is to list what you consider essential. Then, you will have to check it over and over again to note the things that are being left over. While traveling internationally, we often have needs that we can prevent. Shopping while traveling can be costly and difficult to find if we do not know the destination.

To help you with it, we have prepared a travel bag checklist for items you might need each season. We hope this helps you create your list:

Clothes for summer

  • T-shirts
  • Light dresses
  • Shorts
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Underwear
  • Hat or sun hat
  • Light coat
  • Microfiber towel
  • Socks
  • Pajamas
  • Sweater or sweatshirt
  • Leggings

Beach items

  • Beach clothes
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Beach shoes

Winter travel clothing

  • Thermal clothing
  • Thick pants
  • Thermal socks
  • Umbrella
  • Coats according to the cold
  • Wool hats
  • Scarves
  • Gloves

Spring/Fall Travel Clothes

  • Cotton garments
  • Jeans and T-shirts
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Light coat or sweater

As you can see, the clothes checklist depends on the time or season of the year that you plan to travel. Also, the motive of the trip is fundamental too, that is if you travel for tourism, study, work, or business.

After this, you will have to prepare basic things, even if you expect to pack light, regardless of whether it is a short or long trip:

Basic items

  • Lip balm
  • Analgesics
  • Grooming and personal care
  • Waterproof backpack
  • Moisturizer
  • Hygienic tissues
  • Keys to the house
  • Travel pillow
  • Earplugs
  • Sleep mask
  • Water bottle
  • Cloth bag
  • Notepad
  • Pen
  • Padlock and key

Electronic equipment

  • Laptop
  • Photographic camera
  • Portable charger
  • Extra battery
  • Universal adapter
  • Unlocked mobile device
  • Headset or handsfree

You may be interested in reading about Spring Break

6. Pick an alternative to have the internet

Holafly home website.
Holafly home website. Source: Holafly.

Connecting to the internet all the time is very important for travelers. Fortunately, nowadays, there are many alternatives to connecting to the internet during your trip. One of them is the international eSIM card with cellular data.

It will provide internet without having to subscribe or sign any contract, as you usually do with a cellular operator. It is easy to get, so you won’t have to worry about paying high prices as you do with international roaming. And you can even top up the eSIM card from specific providers like Holafly.

7. Create a Schedule

International trip checklist will help you to enjoy
Plan your schedule for your trip. Source: Pexels.

Knowing what to see and do on your next trip is one of the best strategies to enjoy your experience entirely, especially when you explore all the available plans and get your tickets with anticipation.

For example, if you travel to the USA, you may wonder what to do in Miami or what to do in New York. You can also wonder about cheap destinations from Spain, including where to travel in October or any other time.

There are many things to do that you cannot pass up, so you must dedicate time to this planning so you can live a remarkable experience!

8. Get travel health insurance and consider using an international driving permit

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, travel insurance, besides helping you to have peace of mind on your trip, is a requirement in some destinations. Countries like Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Paraguay, Israel, the Netherlands, Hungary, France, Greece, and Spain (among others) have this rule. 

Any insurance company offers some coverage for your travels, which usually includes policies against inconveniences such as: 

  • Medical assistance
  • Flight delay or trip cancellation
  • Loss of luggage
  • Civil liability
  • Legal assistance
  • Repatriation

Overall, travel health insurance is a substantial investment that can protect you from various financial risks while traveling. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to give yourself peace of mind and ensure you’re covered in an emergency. 

On the other hand, we have the IDP or international driving permit, an extension of your local permit so you can drive abroad. It does not replace your national driver’s license; you must carry both documents when driving abroad. This gives you the distinct advantage of having additional identification and being able to rent a car at your destination to get around more comfortably.

9. Research the weather and holidays at your destination.

In addition to everything we can control and foresee, in our destination, we will find a climate according to the season for which we can prepare ourselves. Checking what season the country will be in and the expected temperatures and weather will allow you to anticipate some things for your trip: 

  • Pack appropriately: Knowing the weather conditions at your destination will help you pack the right clothes and gear. This will save you from buying new clothes or gear once you arrive.
  • Plan your activities: The weather can also affect your plans for activities. For example, if you plan to hike or bike, you’ll want to do it on a day with good weather. 
  • Avoid crowds: Holidays can cause significant crowds at popular tourist destinations. If you’re traveling during a holiday, it’s essential to research the crowds and book your accommodations and activities in advance.
  • Stay safe: Sometimes, the weather can pose a safety risk. For example, if you’re traveling to an area prone to hurricanes or typhoons, you must be aware of the hurricane season and take precautions to stay safe.

For information on weather and festivities, you can use local official websites, apps, or informative blogs like Holafly for destinations such as Japan, Bali, and Vietnam.

10. Download the information and applications you need

Downloading the data and applications you need before your trip can be a great way to save money, avoid roaming charges, stay organized, be prepared for emergencies, and make your trip more enjoyable.

Some of the primary resources that you can download before you arrive include:

  • Maps and navigation: Download offline maps of your destination without using data. Many great apps are available, such as Google Maps,, and Waze.
  • Translation apps: If you’re traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language, download a translation app to communicate with locals. Many great apps are available, such as Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, and iTranslate.
  • Accommodation and transportation bookings: If you’ve already booked your accommodation and transportation, download the apps for these companies so you can easily access your information and make changes if needed.
  • Currency converters: If you’re traveling to a country with a different currency, download a currency converter app so you can easily access exchange rates. Many great apps are available, such as XE Currency Converter, Currency Converter Plus, and Oanda Currency Converter.

Frequent questions about checklists for international trips

What to take on an international trip?

The first thing you have to get ready are the documents, so you can know whether you meet the requirements or not. It is also important to have your plane tickets, lodging reservation, and backpack ready.

How can I do a luggage checklist?

To create your checklist, make a list of the things you should take and then read it over again. It will help you note what you need and what you don’t need. Consider the luggage politics of the airline, so you avoid having to pay an extra price at the airport.

What clothes should I take on an international trip?

It is recommendable to travel with comfy clothes, but it depends on the time of the year you’re traveling and the weather. If you travel in summer, you will need light clothes, but if you are traveling during winter, you will need comfortable and warm clothes.

What are the must-have things for a trip?

Some of the most important things are your: travel documents, travel insurance, airplane tickets, lodging, luggage, an international eSIM card to have the internet, and more.

Can I have an internet connection in multiple countries?

Yes, one of the most accessible alternatives for tourists is Holafly’s eSIM. You can find data plans for multiple destinations, such as the eSIM for tourists in the UK, Europe, North America, and more!