Pre-Departure Checklist for Travel

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The Essential Pre-Departure Checklist for Stress-Free Travel

Have you ever been so unprepared for your trip that you realised you had forgotten to organise something essential and then had to frantically do it in the last moment? Hopefully not, but I did. Fortunately, this checklist for travel was born as a result, offering you the chance to truly experience stress-free travel. 

Download the travel checklist print out here for maximum convenience.

I had checked my luggage, passed Customs, and was ready to wait for my flight to Europe. And then that feeling in my gut hit me; you know, the one where something just does not feel right? My subconscious was telling me I had forgot something.

Turns out it was two things: I had forgotten my phone, which had all my contacts, apps,usernames and passwords, and I still hadn’t even sorted out my travel insurance yet (for an 8 month backpacking trip), or any accommodation.

What ensued afterwards taught me that there’s no bigger buzz kill than realising you forgot to do something important when you’re already at the airport, or worse, already at your destination.

The lesson I learnt was that quite a few things are worth organising while you’re still at home. Arranging things before you travel can make the difference between your trip going smoothly, and being a nightmare experience that has you solving mistakes on the road (which you could have easily avoided if you had just planned better).

For this reason, I’ve created a handy pre-departure checklist for travel. This simple list is short and sweet and covers the essentials you need to cover before you travel. The more items you cross off, the more care-free you will be before you depart for your dream holiday!

travel checklist

Don’t leave home until you have checked off this list!

  • Inspect your passport expiration
  • Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date you return home, otherwise you may be denied entry.
  • Check if a Visa is required
  • Certain countries require you to apply for a Visa before you enter. Be sure to apply in advance.
  • See your doctor
  • Visit your doctor at least 6-8 weeks before departure to see if you need any vaccinations. If you use prescription medicine, ask about the laws on traveling with them and stock up before you go.
  • Do your homework on travel insurance
  • Check whether your existing insurance or credit card covers you whilst traveling. If not, purchase insurance – it’s worth it.
  • Contact your bank and credit card providers
  • Advise them where you’ll be traveling and for how long so they don’t suspect fraud. You don’t want to discover your accounts have been frozen while you’re overseas.
  • Critical Bookings
  • Make reservations as early as possible for accommodation, major sights and transport (including rental cars), especially during peak season.
  • International License
  • If you plan on driving, keep in mind that some countries require you to carry an International Driver’s License.
  • Make copies of important travel documents
  • Keep print outs and cloud-based copies of important documents such as your passport, visas, insurance, credit card details, passwords and booking confirmations.
  • Save a list of valuables you’re bringing
  • Make a list of valuables you’re bringing including serial numbers, models and makes. Take photos and save receipts of your items to serve as a record for emergency or insurance reasons. Save them on the cloud.
  • International Roaming
  • Consider your options and the fees associated with international data roaming outside of Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Update your circle
  • Let your family and friends know about your travel plans and contact details in case of an emergency. They’ll be better prepared to help you in an emergency.
  • Update your government:
  • Share your itinerary with your home country’s travel authority in case of an emergency in the area you are traveling to.
  • Tell the airline of any special requirements you have
  • Vegan, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, allergic to something? Make sure the airline is aware of this before your flight.
  • Mail
  • Arrange for your mail to be collected by someone you trust or to be redirected.
  • There’s nothing better than being armed with local information about your destination so you can hit the ground running!
  • Currency
  • Exchange some cash for the currency of your first destination.
  • Confirm flight details and airline restrictions
  • Double-check the departure date and time and confirm what you can bring on the plane and whether your devices will need to be unlocked.
  • Research foreign customs
  • Be aware of culture dress codes and adjust your clothing accordingly.


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Excellent pre-departure checklist! I have already printed it and saved it. It will a great addition to my travel checklist. Your list is very thorough and covers all the important points. Thank you for putting it together and sharing it with your readers!

    1. Glad to hear it, Anna. Nothing better than having that peace of mind before a big trip!

  2. This was an interesting article, some insight that I wasn’t aware of. Thanks.

    1. Great to hear Trent. Hope the checklist helps!

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