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Travel Abroad Checklist: Don’t Forget to Pack These 10 Items

Last Updated on 12/28/2022

When you’re traveling internationally, there are a number of essentials you definitely don’t want to forget to pack. These are the type of items that will come in handy in a number of situations, ones that will be difficult to track down, and those that are specific to you or your family.

To save you the trouble of having to deal with the repercussions of forgetting these items on your trip, we put together this handy dandy travel checklist of the top ten travel essentials you’ll want to remember when traveling abroad–check them out: 

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When you’re traveling anywhere, it’s absolutely critical that you remember to pack any necessary prescription medication, as it can be difficult and time-consuming to get a new prescription in a different place. This is especially true when you’re traveling abroad, where regulations for prescription medications are likely different and you may not even be able to access yours at all. Pack some in your checked bag as well as your carry-on so you have access no matter what happens! We even recommend packing extra dosages of your medications in case you experience a delay in your travels.

In addition to prescriptions, consider packing any over-the-counter medication that you might need as well, such as allergy or pain medication. Again, your destination might not carry the prescription you typically use or you may have to search for a while to find what you need. Avoid the headache –literally– by packing a supply of medication in your first aid kit, which we’ll get to in a minute!

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Other Toiletries

There are some basic types of toiletry items you can usually get in most destinations, even if international. However, if you have any other necessary items that are specific to you, such as glasses or contact lenses, make sure you pack those before your departure. For things like contacts, definitely pack a few extra sets in case you lose or damage one during your international travel. Getting a new set of contact lenses in a foreign country will be time-consuming at best and impossible at worst, and you want to be able to see all of the sites without issue while you’re on your adventure. Definitely worth adding to your travel checklist!

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First Aid Supplies

In addition to prescriptions, a basic first aid kit can really come in handy while traveling –emergency or not! You can either choose to purchase a kit that’s already prepared with the necessities, or just put one together on your own. If you opt for the latter, we recommend taking a look at this list of items to include from the Red Cross. You may not need all of them on an international trip, but you can use your discretion to make sure you’re as prepared as you’d like to be!

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Copies of Travel Documents

Obviously, you’ll need to be sure to pack the necessary travel documents with you when you’re traveling abroad. More often than not, this means your passport and another backup form of ID (if you have it). You may potentially need a visa, depending on where, when, and how long you’re traveling internationally. In addition to your actual original travel documents, however, you’ll also want to make copies to take with you on your trip. That way, if anything happens to your belongings and you find yourself without the originals, you’ll have some proof of identification to get you back into the country.

If you lose your documents, contact the nearest embassy immediately for assistance in replacing them. If your documents are stolen, you should file a police report as well. In either case, having copies of your documentation will make a huge difference in terms of obtaining new identification (and will speed up the process!). If you should need it, you can find your nearest embassy

Another useful tip to add to your packing list is travel insurance. If your passport or other types of travel documents get lost or stolen, causing a delay in your travels, travel insurance could help. Your policy could reimburse you for any out-of-pocket expenses for extra accommodations, meals, and local transportation should you get stuck somewhere due to lost or stolen travel documents.

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A Small, Safe Bag

Speaking of keeping your travel documents safe on your international trip, you’ll want to make sure you pack a small bag with you where you can keep them on the go, in addition to money and credit cards. If the place where you’re staying has a safe, you can always keep some documents and a credit card there, but you’ll want to make sure you have at least one credit card and one form of identification with you when you’re out and about in case you need it. In order to keep your bag as secure as possible, we encourage finding one that is concealable or designed specifically for anti-theft purposes to add to your travel checklist. If you purchase travel insurance, your personal belongings might be covered if lost or stolen.

Pro Tip: For added peace of mind, make sure you add your trip to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to get safety updates on your destination before and during your trip.

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Whenever you travel, wherever you’re going, check and double-check that you’ve brought any and all chargers you’ll need for your electronics. In addition, you’ll want to pack adapters for your chargers so you can use them at your destination. As you may know, power outlets often look different in other countries and the amount of electricity that they emit varies too. If you don’t have an adapter, even if your plug fits into the outlet, you might blow a fuse if you don’t have the appropriate adapter. To make it easy, you can opt for a universal travel adapter that will allow you to plug into most outlets and convert the charge to the right voltage.

Pro Tip: If you’re planning on packing a digital camera to document your trip, we advise adding an extra memory card to your travel checklist in case yours gets full or damaged during your travels! 

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Weather Gear

In most places where you might travel abroad, the weather can be quite unpredictable. No matter what the forecast says, it’s best to be prepared for anything –especially if you’re going on a long trip. To start, make sure you pack appropriate gear for sunny skies. This means sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and any other essentials you typically pack when you know you’ll be out in the sun for a long period of time. On the other hand, you never know when you’ll experience rain during travel either. If you pack a light rain jacket and umbrella, you’ll be covered (literally!) if it does end up raining. Just these few items can make a huge difference in terms of comfortability and budget since you won’t have to buy them with your travel money or credit card.

Pro Tip: If you’re traveling to a destination where extreme conditions are expected, be sure to pack appropriate pieces for that climate! This list just includes the key items you should pack no matter where you’re headed. Always customize your packing list to the climate of your destination and the activities you’ll be participating in.

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Reusable Water Bottle

You’d be surprised by how much money you’ll save if you pack your own reusable water bottle with you. Starting at the airport, where you can bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it up on the other side, and at every point throughout your trip, you can reuse your bottle free of charge as you travel. Also, in many cities, you can fill up your canteen with fresh spring water from fountains on the streets. In Paris, for example, there are public drinking fountains scattered throughout the city where it’s perfectly safe to drink the water. Just make sure you do your research before you fill up to make sure that the water you’re drinking is clean! If there won’t be public drinking fountains where you’re headed, consider packing a portable water filtration system so you can filter your water on the go. These days, you can find really compact and easy-to-use options that’ll come in handy in a variety of situations!

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Laundry Stuff

When traveling for an extended period of time, you may find you accumulate a good amount of dirty laundry. If you pack a big bag, you’ll want to bring a separate collapsible bag for laundry storage, so you can keep the dirty stuff separate while you’re traveling. If you’re packing light and want to do laundry while on-the-go, we recommend packing a travel-size detergent so you can wash in the sink or hit up a laundromat, depending on where you’re headed. 

If you’re traveling on an overseas trip, check out our international travel checklist. It includes more information on luggage, clothing, and toiletry packing tips.

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This one might sound silly to add to your travel checklist…you can buy snacks anywhere, right? But the thing is, we all have our favorite snacks and it’s very possible that you won’t be able to find them at your destination. This is a good tip especially if you have certain food allergies –check out more about traveling and food allergies. Each country –city, even– tends to have its own local snack options, which may or may not appeal to you. Packing snacks is an especially important tip when you have kids in tow. While we definitely encourage you to try out the local cuisine and encourage your kids to do the same, packing your own snacks will ensure you have options in case the local snacks don’t jive with your taste buds.

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Bonus Tip

Of course, we always recommend making sure you have travel insurance before you leave on your trip –it’s the best way you can prepare for travel! You might not have major medical coverage if you travel out of the country, so it’s important to double-check. If you’re ready to protect your trip with travel insurance, get an instant free quote and start comparing plans. If you’re not sure what kind of coverage you need, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to help you!

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