International Travel Checklist for first-time travellers

person putting a passport on bag

Travelling for the first time? Super excited? Then you would want to ensure nothing dampens your spirit and plans so we have this amazing International Travel Checklist ready for you. Go through the blog and keep in mind the following things to make your first travel experience hassle-free.

This blog contains information ranging from the travel essentials you need to carry, type of travel bag you and other essentials that you mustn’t forget.

While the pandemic has dampened everyone’s travel plan, there is no harm in planning for your next international travel beforehand. A travel plan is not just confined to booking your plane tickets or a suite, but it is much more than that.

With international travel now a bygone, newbie travellers would want the international travel checklist more than ever. Planning will be anew and do not miss out even on one step of planning which may have repercussions on your travel plans. Anything and everything is best planned ahead of time.

International Travel Checklist

An international travel checklist is important to have a seamless travel experience. First-time travel can make you nervous, but proper planning months before can save you from a lot of stress. This is where an international travel checklist comes to the rescue of your hassle-free international travel. This is a bigger and a better-planned version of your ‘Things to-do’ list. However, everything needs to be marked.

Make a checklist or get one printed and before you leave the house, make sure all the checkboxes are tick marked. Keep the international travel checklist handy which makes it easier for you to refer.

Before you go on to the checklist, here are some things you to keep in mind before you embark on your first international trip

International Travel Checklist, 4 to 6 months before departure

Needless to say, you will be overwhelmed by the travel options you have. But it is important to zero it down to one, to initiate planning. In the meantime, apply for a passport if you haven’t and check the visa requirements of the country you are planning to travel to. Learning the country’s language for basic communication will do no harm.

Start saving you money for your first trip abroad in order to avoid a budget crunch when you actually travel.

1 to 3 months before departure

You need to optimally utilize this time before your actual travel date. Get the prescription from a doctor, undergo a health check-up at the dentist and other specialist doctors.

You can also inform your employer or in your school about the leaves, you will be taking. Informing your friends and relatives about your first international trip will add to the excitement level. Research about the location you are visiting, its culture and tradition, all the tourist attractions and unexplored places. Utilize this time in gathering all the information about your destination.

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60 days before the departure

After all the ongoing planning and preparation for the trip, it’s time to get your hands on the checklist without any procrastination. Check if your flight ticket is confirmed, the itinerary is in place and enough budget is available. Start buying the things you are yet to buy from the checklist.

1 week before

Do not keep anything to the last minute. Your travel bags and documents should be ready. Make sure to check-off every little thing that you have mentioned in the checklist.

Essential documents

This is the one thing that no traveller can afford to miss. Sans this, your travel plans and experience may shatter. You should ideally start collecting all the required documents since the day you start planning for the trip. A travel document organizer will take half your burden away.

Tip: To be on a safer side, keep photocopies of all the important documents along with you and make sure to have them on your electronic devices as well.

Documents you mustn’t miss taking

person putting a passport on bag
  • Passport/Visa
  • Travel tickets
  • Personal ID card
  • Hard Cash
  • Credit/Debit cards
  • Travel insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Emergency contact numbers and addresses
  • Electronic photos and access to all important documents
  • Hotel contact information
  • Guide book
  • Itinerary and reservation
  • Purchase an international SIM or activate international roaming

An important thing to keep in mind before you set-off for your trip is to check your passport’s validity. Ascertain your passport does not expire while you are travelling or is about to expire.

Some useful passport tips to keep in mind:

It is suggested that when you travel there are at least 6 months left to the expiry of your passport. Different countries have different permissible limits, however, 6 months is a standard duration.


Before you book your tickets, make sure you check the visa requirements of the country. There are countries who have on-arrival visas and countries which require a visa beforehand. Make sure to confirm with your agent or visit the official website of the country so that your plan is not jeopardized.


Going to a new country that too for the first time, you would want to keep extra cash with you. In case of far away ATM’s or tourist places which accept only cash, it will always come to your rescue. Taking debit or credit cards or Forex Card into consideration, ensure to inform your bank that international transactions might take place. This way you will prevent your card from getting blocked.

Travel essentials

Newbies, make sure that you do not forget to pack the most important and basic travel essentials on your first international trip. Otherwise, you will have a really hard time.

Compartmentalizing everything will be easy peasy lemon squeezy for you while travelling. To reduce the volume of clothes you can also use compression sacs or cubes. Folders will help you keep your clothes neat and nice during your entire journey.

Basic Clothing packing list:
  • Sweaters
  • Layered clothes
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Tops and T-shirts
  • Jeans/Pants
  • Belts
  • Socks
  • Comfortable shoes (for walking and hiking)
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuit
  • Raincoat/Umbrella/Poncho
  • Underwear
  • Shades and glasses
  • Accessories
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Toiletry Essentials

Everyone is always in double mind if they should take an extra pair of clothes, but least bothered about the toiletries which you will have to use everyday while on your trip.

Toiletries are also of utmost importance and they take up a lot of space in the bag. Please keep in mind that only a small amount of liquid is allowed in the check-in baggage. If possible, find solid versions of toiletries so that there is no hassle during airport security checks.

Not taking an extra pair of clothes will suffice, but taking extra toiletries will definitely save you from an embarrassment.

Toiletries you should carry:
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant/Perfumes
  • Hairbrush
  • Pins
  • Tissues
  • Wet wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • Facewash
  • Sunglasses and glasses
  • Sunscreen
coin purse and make up
  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Face wash
  • Moisturizer and lotion
  • Hygiene products
  • Contact lens, case and liquid
  • Shaving kit
  • Toilet paper
  • Body Soap
  • Razor
  • Tweezers
  • Nail scissors
  • Bath Towel

Going to an unknown location, you need to be doubly sure of having all your toiletries. You never know what you might need when in emergency situations. It is better to keep thighs handy.

Choosing a suitable travel bag

While you are already daydreaming of walking on the beach or clicking a selfie atop a mountain, but poof, the burden of your travel bag just brought you down. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, select the perfect and lightweight travel-friendly bag.

You might want to take the sturdiest bag with you that does not break. But also look for lightweight and easy to carry bags. The sole purpose of travel is to unwind and relax, you would definitely not want your luggage to put a damper on your leisure. Thus, it is important to choose the right travel bag for your international travel that accommodates all your travel essentials. And your travel bag with a warranty will be an add on.

If you plan to travel to more than one destination, make sure to carry a small bag that carries your basic essentials during the short travel time. For this, a shoulder bag or a waist pack should do.

Depending on your travel plans, these are the bags that you can consider:

top view photo of laptop near camera
  • Rolling luggage
  • 4-wheels
  • Duffel bag
  • Wheeled backpack
  • Travel backpack
  • Carry-on

Travel Health kit

With the ongoing pandemic make sure you focus on your health first, do not forget to take along the travel health kit. Take some time out of your planning and jot down the details about local travel information and contact details of local medical facilities in case of any emergency.

Do not forget to buy travel insurance so a medical emergency will not burn a hole in your pocket.

What your travel health kit should include:

  • First aid box
  • Medicines
  • Thermometer
  • Diarrhoea medicines
  • Allergy medicine
  • Sunburn relief
  • Medicines for motion sickness
  • Cold and fever medicine


It is recommended that you get yourself vaccinated at least a month before your travel date. Giving a month’s time will make the vaccine more effective and protect you while you are travelling. In a few countries, a vaccine or proof of yellow fever and polio vaccination is a prerequisite. Do not take it lightly.

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Personal items

It is always a good idea to have a separate checklist of personal items to be carried along, especially in your flight. It is a good practice to have a few pairs of clothes, some toiletries and some money for a seamless airport experience.

Personal Items to take along:

  • Cellphone
  • Charger
  • Travel pillow and eye mask
  • Electric converter and adapters
  • Essential medicines
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Headphones
  • Travel pillow
  • Eye mask
  • Camera
  • Books or magazines
  • Travel games or cards
  • Drinking water (please check the permissible limit)

Home necessities

Apart from travel essentials and the planning that goes behind it, it is a good practice to inform the nearest police station about your travel plan. For this will they keep an eye and prevent any possible burglary.

Do not forget to inform the newspaperman to stop newspaper delivery. If you have pets, place them in a dog shelter or find a caretaker for the time you are travelling. Plants and lawn also need to be cared for while you are away, you can ask for a favour from your neighbour or friend to take care of it while you are away. Pay your bills beforehand so that they aren’t a headache for you.

Ensure to turn off all the electrical appliances and unplug them from an electric source along with turning off the power of the house in order to avoid any mishap.

Doubly check all the locks at doors and windows. Keep your valuables safe and locked. Inform your trusted friend or neighbour about your travel, share the travel itinerary and handover extra house keys.

Newbies need to take care of the following things when travelling for the first time.

Before you leave for your once-in-a-lifetime trip do not forget to get a printout of the checklist so that you can be doubly sure of not missing out on anything.

It is not only the machine that you drive matters, but safety is also of utmost importance. Your choice of tyres decides on how safe you and your family would be. Good tyres are crucial as they help in absorbing road shocks, put up with your car’s weight, guarantee the best of rides even on the worst roads and extreme weather conditions and enhance fuel efficiency.

Post Covid-19 Essentials

Many countries are recovering or at least trying to bring the pandemic under control. While doing that, even though in many countries international travel is halted, there are several who are opening up for international tourism.

Just because travel is allowed, does not mean you should not take precautions. Social distancing and safety are the need of the hour. Despite travel insurance, you would not want to contract Covid-19 while travelling that too after several months of being confined at home. Precautions are needed more than ever now.

Essentials you must carry during your post-pandemic travel:

  • Masks
  • Hand Sanitizers
  • Disinfectant Spray
  • Face Shields
  • Hand Soap
  • Disposable Gloves
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