The Must-Have International Travel Document Checklist (with Printable)

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.

passport with boarding pass on the travel document checklist

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The Travel Document Checklist

Passport, Visas and Entry Requirements for International Travel

Passport

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
  • 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.


Passport with visa stamp a necessarl documents to take when traveling abroad

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Visas

Whilst on the embassy website check out if a visa is required.  Do the visas need to be obtained prior to departure or can it be purchased on arrival?


Top Trip Tips
Obtaining Visas

  • 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)


Entry Requirements

Whilst still on the embassy website double check any further entry requirements.

  • Take note of any embargos (countries not recommended for travel)


Top Trip Tip
If there is an embargo you can still visit the country, however, your travel insurance may not cover you.



Tickets, Itineraries, Vouchers and More

E tickets, travel insurance Vaccination certificate, international driver's license and passport on the list travel documents

Preparing Travel Documents

Finally before exiting the embassy website find out if you need vaccinations.  If so you will need to take a copy of your International Certificate of Vaccination.  While we are on the topic of health 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.

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 of 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 assistant your travel insurance may refuse payment.  You will also need to take your actual driver’s license.

If you are a student, take your student ID this will enable you to obtain an entry discount to places like museums and adventure parks.

I like to pop this list of travel documents into a plastic document wallet and then into my hand luggage.


Top Trip Tip
Make three photocopies of all these items, take two sets with you (keep reading to find out where to pack them), give the third set to a reliable family member at home and don’t forget to email a copy to your entire travel party.



Money

A selection of differnt foreign currency notes

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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.

Get travel insurance!!!

I’ve mentioned travel insurance several times and I cannot stress this enough – get travel insurance.

No matter how detailed you 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


Top Trip Tip
Take the time to compare travel insurance policies to make sure you get a level of cover that is right for you and your travel party.



Photocopies

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 the one page of your picture and details.  Also a copy 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 cover 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 stolen) your travel documents.

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.

Grab the FREE Welcome Gift Checklist
Once your different types of travel documents sorted it’s time think about checking off your pre-travel checklist.  Sign up for the e-newsletter to learn when this next travel planning post is published or follow us on Facebook

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Passorts one of the items on the International travel document checklist

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DISCLOSURE:

Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for your travel dream with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.

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