As many of us are now booking our international travel online, it is up to us to ensure we have the correct travel documentation. If you use a travel agent they should be directing you to have the correct documents – but ultimately it is still up to you to have the right international travel documents. This travel document checklist will ensure you are prepared for your trip.
A travel document is defined as “an identity document issued by a government or international treaty organization to facilitate the movement of individuals or small groups of persons across international boundaries, such as a passport.” Source: Your Dictionary
But really there are many more different types of travel documents to take when travelling abroad. So let’s look at all the documents required for an overseas trip.
In this List of Travel Documents You Will Learn About
- International travel documents
- Necessary tickets, vouchers, driver’s licence and medical certificates required
- Taking money abroad
- Travel insurance
- Which items to photocopy and where to pack them
- More travel preparation tips
This post by Tips 4 Trips contains affiliate links*. This means I may receive a small commission if you click on these links. Learn more at the bottom of this post.
The Travel Document Checklist
Passport, Visas and Entry Requirements for International Travel
The absolute essential document needed to travel abroad is a VALID passport. That means your passport must have:
- At least six months (this can change according to country) validity from your return date
- Sufficient blank pages to be stamped and visas added
- Your passport name should match your ticket name
- Go to passports.gov.au for more passport tips
- If you are separated, divorced or your children have different surnames than you, take copies of:
- Documentation or letter from the absent parent authorising you to take your child
- Separation, divorce or custody decree papers
- Court order granting guardianship of the child
- Birth certificates
Top Trip Tip: Visit your destination’s country embassy website to ensure you have the correct validity and sufficient amount of blank pages
Whilst on the embassy website check out if a visa is required. Do the visas need to be obtained prior to departure or can they be purchased on arrival?
When obtaining your visa:
- Purchase your visa through the embassy website. DO NOT use another source, as your visa could be fake or at the very least cost you more
- If purchasing your visa on arrival ensure to have the correct currency and the correct amount
- If travelling with kids, check the entry requirements if your child is on a parent’s passport (that is not using their own passport)
Top Trip Tip: Don’t assume visa requirements are the same as pre-2020, many countries have changed their rules and regulations – check before you leave!
Whilst still on the embassy website double-check any further entry requirements.
- Take note of any embargos (countries not recommended for travel)
Whilst you are on the embassy website find out if you need vaccinations like Yellow Fever to either enter your destination or return home. If so you will need to take a copy of your International Certificate of Vaccination.
Now that the world is opening up and learning to live with Covid many countries will require you to be fully vaccinated (some even specifying which vaccines are approved). Make sure you check you meet your destination and transit location requirements.
Some destinations will also require you to continually show proof of your vaccination to enter restaurants and other entertainment venues whilst you are visiting. Some countries make this easier for you by having an App to download, others will require physical paper and ID. So pack your international vaccination certificate with your passport.
Finally, some countries also require you to show proof of a recent negative PCR test. You will need to go to a private clinic and pay for your test to obtain your testing clearance certificate.
Top Trip Tip: To start your research on visas and vaccinations visit your home country’s official travel website eg. Smartraveller in Australia
Tickets, Itineraries, Vouchers and More
Even if you are not travelling internationally you’ve still made bookings, perhaps booked flights and need to be prepared for medical emergencies. You’ll be want to pack these must-have travel documents.
Print all copies of your airline tickets and ensure the names are spelt the same as on your passports. It is always best to have a hard copy of tickets as the internet may be down or your phone may be out of charge as you try to produce them at the check-in counter.
Do the same for any vouchers for accommodation, transfers and tours.
If you are planning to hire a car or motorbike you should obtain an International Driver’s License. Even if the vehicle supplier says, “no license required” you may find that should you be involved in an accident and require medical assistance your travel insurance may refuse payment. You will also need to take your actual driver’s license.
If you have booked or plan to hire a car you will need your driver’s license and if overseas an international driver’s license as well.
Student should take their ID. This will enable you to obtain an entry discount to places like museums and adventure parks or just to prove their age – especially if they look older than they are.
Finally, if you need to pack prescription medication ensure you have a letter from your doctor or the very least a copy of your script showing your need to be bringing in the medication.
I like to pop this list of travel documents into a document wallet* and then into my hand luggage.
I have a detailed post on how to access travel money when overseas HERE. But basically, you need to:
- Take a small amount of the country’s currency you are travelling into
- Take small notes to purchase tickets for trains, buses and taxis needed on arrival
- Ensure you retain enough local currency to pay any departure taxes on leaving the country
- Take a credit or debit card with your own money deposited into the account
- If you take money out on credit you will incur high-interest charges
- Most importantly advise your bank that you are travelling overseas with the country and dates. This will help to ensure your credit card does not get blocked due to sudden international transactions.
- Keep your money safe at all times with RFID safe travel wallets*
Learn all about the different styles of…
Get travel insurance!!!
I’ve mentioned travel insurance several times and I cannot stress this enough – get travel insurance.
No matter how detailed your travel plans are, there is always a chance that something can go wrong. This is why getting travel insurance is essential! Travel insurance can assist you and your family in situations such as a medical emergency, lost or stolen luggage or sudden cancellations to your travel plans.
It is also better to get this sooner rather than later. Travel insurance applies from the moment it is purchased. Therefore if unforeseen circumstances happen and you have to change your travel plans then you are covered.
When you travel as a family make sure you have insurance that will cover you in emergency situations, including medical, travel cancellations and lost or stolen luggage. Learn more in these six reasons why you need travel insurance.
We use Cover More*.
Top Trip Tip: Take the time to compare travel insurance policies to make sure you get a level of coverage that is right for you and your travel party
Earlier I asked you to print three copies of your travel documents tickets and vouchers. You will also want to photocopy your passport, “which pages?” you ask. Just one page of your picture and details. Also a copy of your driver’s license, international license, student card, credit card and travel insurance. I also add in my Australian Medicare Card (as there is reciprocal coverage in some countries) and my private health insurance card.
I place the itinerary in the front pocket of my suitcase; if one is not available place them on the top of your packed luggage. This will help if your airline luggage tag falls off during transit. Airline staff will look for any means of identification and where the bag should be going. The itinerary provides not only a name but also the destination of the bag.
The remaining photocopied travel documents are placed in my suitcase if you have internal pockets in your bag, that’s perfect. You just want somewhere that they are easy to access and stay neat. These are only needed if you lose or have your travel documents stolen.
As you can see there are quite a few different types of documents required to travel, so why not grab a copy of the free printable travel document checklist, so you don’t forget a thing.
Once your different types of travel documents are sorted it’s time to think about checking off your pre-travel checklist.
Get More Travel Planning Tips
- How to Start Planning a Trip
- How to Save for Travel
- How to Research Travel Destinations
- How to Find Accommodation
- How to Book a Trip
- The Must-Have International Travel Documents
- The Pre-Travel Checklist
- The Complete Travel Packing PDF Guide
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