Travel Blog

Things You Need to Do Before You Go on a Pre-Travel Checklist

Everybody knows that the final days of a trip can be stressful.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the beach on the weekend or traveling to another country for a month or two; it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the tasks.

This handy checklist was created to help you avoid stress and last-minute rushes.

These are 24 things that you need to do before you travel.

Travel insurance

This is not necessary for most people traveling to another country.

There are many options for travel insurance, but most cover evacuations, emergency medical coverage and cancellation.

To learn more, check out our guide on the best travel insurance.

International driver’s license

While not every country requires an international driver’s license, it is a good idea to have one just in case.

It’s also super easy to obtain an IDL.

You can visit any AAA to get one if you are an American. You will need two passport photos, $15, and you’re good to go.

Get extra passport pages.

Although it may seem obvious, depending on how often you travel, it is important to ensure you have all the pages you need in your passport.

Most countries won’t put a visa on pages other than the visa page. An “amendments” page will not work. This is something we have learned the hard way.

Some countries won’t allow you to enter if your passport expires in the 6 months before your trip.

Get the right visas.

Obvious? Yes.

Often overlooked? You bet.

People have often been turned away from countries every day because they do not have the right visa.

This will force you to flee the country on the next flight available. This could mean that your “little error” could end up costing thousands.

For more information on passports and visas, visit our interview with the founders at Allied Passports. Or go directly to the Allied Passports website.

Take some shots

Before you travel, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor to ensure you have all the prescriptions up-to-date and are fully informed. Also, discuss any medical issues that may arise.

You may need to have certain vaccinations depending on where you’re going. Are you unsure if you require vaccinations before visiting a country or not? This guide is from the CDC.

Book one night in advance

We recommend that you book at least one night of accommodation in advance, depending on your travel style — whether you’re adventurous and spontaneous or structured and planned.

You can find a place to stay if you arrive in a new location and do not have a place to call home. But it will take some effort.

It’s worth booking ahead to ensure a comfortable first night.

You can then explore the area the next morning to find a better spot if you wish.

You can print copies of your accommodation reservation.

While almost every place will accept a digital copy of your reservation via a smartphone or laptop, keeping a hard copy is still a good idea.

You don’t need to worry if there is no internet or cell service.

It is easier to be prepared.

Print copies of your tickets

Digital copies of tickets are not accepted by everyone, just as with hotel reservations.

This has happened to us a lot. We had to buy a new train ticket on the train, even though we had a digital copy and a confirmation number on our phone. It was both frustrating and very expensive.

Don’t let our mistakes guide you.

Make duplicates of your passport.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Duplicating your passport is a good idea for two reasons.

  1. You can always get a duplicate of your passport if you lose it.
  2. Some accommodations might require a copy. Although most places have a copy machine, we did have to locate a place that could make copies for our Airbnb hosts.
  3. Send a copy to a friend/family member.

It is a good idea to let someone know where you are in an emergency.

This will also make it easy for your family to know where you are.

Register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Programme (STEP).

It’s simple and free to join the Smart Traveler Entry Program at the U.S. Department of State Website.

They will assist you if your passport is stolen or lost while traveling or if you have an emergency. You will receive alerts and up-to-date information through this program.

Double-check your dates before making reservations

Like most of the advice in the guide, this tip comes from a mistake.

We made the wrong reservation when we traveled by high-speed train between Rome and Milan.


$150 later, we promised always to double-check the dates

Be sure to check the restrictions for checked and carry-on luggage.

Every airline is unique, so be sure not to get nickeled at the check-in desk, especially if your flight is on a budget airline.

Check the weather conditions at your destination.

You should be able to see the forecast at least 10 working days before you leave for your trip.

You can then decide if you need extra layers or a raincoat.

Make sure to have a survival kit.

This is what it means for us:

  • Neosporin
  • Bandaids
  • Ibuprofen
  • Earplugs
  • Eye mask
  • Sleep aid
  • Headphones
  • Prescription medication
  • Hand sanitizer

Packing cubes are a great idea.

The organization makes packing and traveling much simpler

These packing cubes will keep your belongings organized and from exploding in your room. It makes it much easier to repackage.

Pack a travel adapter

A travel adapter will be required for foreign arrivals, but most airports allow you to plug it in now.

This is a great idea.

Before you leave, charge your electronics.

If you lose your adapter, you will have enough battery.

You can also watch or read a movie on your vehicle’s entertainment system if it doesn’t.

Take some snacks with you to the airport or plane.

There might not be many or even any food options depending on whether you are traveling by bus, train, or plane.

Make sure to pack snacks, so you are satiated until you reach your destination.

We often go to the grocery store to stock up on healthy, affordable options.

Autopay allows you to change your bills.

You don’t need to worry about your bills while on the road if you have an online bill pay system.

If you cannot do so, pay the bill before you leave.

Arrange for your mail to be picked up at the post office or kept there

You can also contact your local post office to hold your mail until your return from your travels if you cannot pick it up with a family member or friend.

This is particularly important if your trip lasts for a long time.

Notify your bank about your destinations

Always remember to do this.

It doesn’t matter if your card is rejected in certain countries, such as most of Europe.

You can’t use the ATM once you enter a country of “high risk” unless your bank has notified you, or you will be immediately shut down.

Before you travel, make a quick call to your bank. You can also notify banks online.

No foreign transaction fees on your credit card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is our favorite travel card.

You can earn points as you travel, and you don’t have to pay any additional fees for currency exchange.

Always keep a small amount of cash on you.

If your ATM card isn’t working, you can still use your cash to exchange it into local currency. In case your credit card is declined, it’s a good idea for you to bring some local currency.

With our Pre-Travel Checklist, Travel worry-free

This checklist should help you feel more relaxed about your next trip. Although it may seem like a simple step, it can help you avoid a lot of stress and frustration.

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