Your Traveling Abroad Checklist

Daniela Ramos

Traveling abroad soon? Even though I love to wing my travels and not plan too much (I love leaving room for a few surprises!), there are things I always like to make sure to prepare before I leave to make sure my trip is as easy-going as possible.

Whether you’re traveling abroad for the first time or just looking to make your next trip a bit more stress-free than the last, here are some basic things to prepare before you travel.

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Research

The very first thing you must do is RESEARCH. I’m a huge advocate for winging it when traveling, but regardless of whether you prefer to plan your travels to the T or just land at your destination and figure out your next steps as you go, it always pays to at least have a basic idea of what you expect.

Here are some of the things to research before you arrive:

Weather – You’ll want to come prepared and pack the right clothing!

Paperwork and documentation – Do you need a visa? Can you get a visa on arrival and if so, what information will they ask, and how much does it cost? How long are you allowed to stay?

Are there any diseases endemic to the area? It’s always best to take preventive measures when traveling! You don’t want to ruin your trip by catching dengue fever or malaria.

Cost of local items. You don’t need to know the price of every single thing, but it’s always good to get a little idea so you can better plan your budget and avoid getting scammed. Travel blogs and websites like Numbeo are great for this!

Holidays & Festivals – Check if any of your plans fall on a public holiday as you might find limited options on that day. Moreover, make sure to research festivals and important dates – either to join in or to plan accordingly (i.e. I found it almost impossible to move around Sri Lanka when I visited during a major public holiday).

Customs – Something that might be totally normal in your country could be a huge no-no elsewhere, so make sure to read as much as possible about the customs of the country you’re visiting. For instance, in Thailand, touching someone’s head is considered an offense and in Japan, tipping is quite a rude thing to do.

Read, read, read, and try to memorize as much as possible (or even write it down and go over the list of do’s and don’ts on the plane).

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Make a photocopy of your passport

Take one with you and keep it separate from your passport, this will become a life-saver if your passport gets lost or stolen as it will be so much easier to replace it. I as recommend scanning the first page of your passport and e-mailing it to yourself.

Email yourself important information

This includes airline numbers, flight information, a scan of your passport and driver’s license, hotel reservations, etc. Create a folder for all of this information so it’s organized and neat.

Learn some local phrases

It’s always useful to know a few local phrases and words.

Write down important addresses and numbers in a notebook

This way, if your phone runs out of battery, you’ll still be able to access it.

Check your banking information

Make sure your credit and debit cards will still be valid while you’re traveling. Know how much you can spend and leave some room for emergencies. Moreover, check if you have any ATM daily limits.

Let your bank know you’ll be traveling

Speaking of banks, make sure to let your bank know you’ll be traveling abroad. Your bank might block or limit your card if you use it abroad as it might find it suspicious.

Know what voltages and plugs are used in the country you’re visiting

If you’re bringing along your phone, camera, computer, etc, a simple plug adapter will do the trick. If you’re traveling with curling irons, hairdryers, etc, you’ll actually need a voltage converter. I recommend just getting a universal adapter. It comes with a whole lot of options and works in most countries around the world.

Final Checklist:

Passport, tickets, hotel reservation receipts/agreements, credit cards, medications, or prescriptions, addresses, passwords, and any other important information that you may need.

Oh, and don’t forget the most important thing (after your passport, of course!): A sense of adventure and a curious mind.

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The journey has been full of highs and lows of all sorts – of grand adventures, heartbreak, self-discovery, screw ups, and lonely roads. I wouldn’t change any of it. While I’m no longer traveling full-time anymore and I am now based in the wonderland that is Mexico City, you’re more likely to find me in some far-off place than at home. I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction, and I hope my stories inspire you to take the leap and follow your dreams!

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