Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.


Well before traveling:

  • Review your schedule to determine events you want to attend before, during and/or after your trip

If you'll be traveling with your children:

If you'll be leaving your children behind:

  • Try to keep your trip as short as feasible - most parents report worrying a lot about their children while they're gone


  • Check the U.S. State Department web site for the latest travel advisories, e.g., regarding swine flu
  • Be aware that most business travelers find returning home to be the most stressful part of their trip
  • Be aware that the stress of traveling apparently results in a high number of heart attacks at airports and on airlines
  • Be prepared to deal with complaints (regarding your absence) from family members you leave behind
  • Make reservations for transportation, lodging, tours, events, etc.
  • Be wary of supposedly great deals
  • If you're considering going on a cruise, check out Insider Cruise Tips
  • Check out Travel Industry Secrets, The Travel Secrets Guide and/or Your Budget Travel Guide
  • If you're a senior citizen, check out Seniors Travel Tips

If you're considering using a travel company:

  • Be very wary of travel clubs
  • Don't sign up on the spot, without thinking about it for a couple of days
  • Check the company's record with the Better Business Bureau
  • Have contract reviewed by lawyer
  • Read the fine print
  • Ask detailed questions
  • If you have doubts, say "no"

If traveling to a foreign country:

  • Determine what immunizations, etc. are required and/or advised - you may have to take them well in advance of travelling and may not be able to get all of them at the same time
  • Determine if you need to have an AIDS/HIV test done
  • Research differences in culture, e.g.:
    • Will you be expected to give gifts to certain people for certain ocassions?
    • Is tipping encouraged?
    • How do people greet each other, e.g., a handshake, bowing

If considering flying on a non-U.S. airline:

  • Be aware that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has reported that, as of June 2011, the following nations' civil aviation authorities don't meet international aviation safety standards: Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Cote D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guyan, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, Kiribati, Nauru, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Serbia and Montenegro, Swaziland, Ukraine, Uruguay, and, Zimbabwe

Well before traveling:

  • Determine if you will need any documents, e.g., passport, visa, immunizations
  • Obtain needed documents, e.g., passport, visa, immunizations
  • While visualizing each step of your trip chronologically, write down actions you will want to do and things you will want to take

If you'll be traveling to a significantly different time zone, to help avoid or minimize jet lag:

Before traveling:

  • Determine your health insurance coverage for the trip
  • Obtain additional health insurance as needed
  • Buy items to take (see TAKE section below)
  • Buy travellers checks
  • Review your finances:
    • Pay bills which will be due while you're gone
    • Note balance in your accounts
    • Determine credit available on your credit cards, lines of credit, etc.
    • Be aware that ATM cards with six digits might be useless in foreign countries
  • Consider taking the herb echinacea - to possibly prevent catching a cold, etc. from the people, especially children, you're visiting
  • Consider taking the herb goldenseal - to boost immune system
  • Ask a neighbor to check your residence daily for:
    • Leaflets on door
    • Newspapers, etc. in front
    • Flooding
    • Indications of burglary, intruders, etc.
  • Obtain maps, e.g., from:
  • Make a list of people you'd like to buy gifts/souvenirs for
  • Make a list of things you'd like to do at each destination



  • Make arrangements for lodging, e.g., hotel, motel, bed & breakfast, hostel
  • Consider swapping houses with someone at your destination (for more info: Home Exchange Academy

If you'll be travelling to an area where malaria is a problem (primarily Africa):

  • Wear long sleeves and pants
  • Use an insect repellent
  • Sleep under a mosquito net soaked in insecticide


Before packing:

  • Determine forecast weather for places you'll be visiting, e.g.,
  • Determine type events (e.g., parties) you'll be attending and attire which will be appropriate
  • Don't take anything you won't need and don't want to lose, e.g., some items in your wallet

While packing:

  • Make a list of the significant contents of each suitcase, etc.

Items to consider packing:

  • Toiletries:
    • Razor
    • Extra blades
    • Shaving cream
    • Shampoo (small container)
    • Soap
    • Other toiletries
  • Prescribed medications (ensure you take an adequate quantity) in the original containers
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-bacterial ointment
  • Bandages
  • Pictures to show
  • Cameras:
    • Still
    • Memory card(s) or film
    • Video
    • Memory card(s) or tape(s)
    • Charged battery(ies)
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Backpack
  • Computer and associated equipment
  • Power strip - to use at airport for your laptop, etc. if there is a shortage of outlets
  • Maps
  • Pillow(s)
  • Blanket(s)
  • Smoke hood - to help you escape from an airplane, hotel room, etc. in the event of a fire
  • Plastic bags for:
    • Trash
    • Dirty clothes
    • Carrying purchases
    • Putting items you use or obtain during the trip and then won't need until trip is over
  • Instructions for getting messages from your answering machine or voice mail remotely
  • Cash and coins
  • Blank checks
  • Credit and ATM cards
  • Traveler's checks

If you're taking kids:

  • Favorite stuffed animals
  • Toys
  • Coloring books
  • Travel games

After packing:

  • Place your name, addresses (home and/or destination), phone numbers (home and/or destination) and itinerary inside your luggage
  • Lock your luggage
  • Don't let any strangers have access to your bags - a terrorist could place a bomb in your bags

Right before traveling:

  • Take out of your wallet anything you won't need and don't want to lose
  • Set your answering machine to the toll saver mode (so it answers after additional rings if it has no new messages)

While traveling:

  • Take pictures and video
  • Buy gifts for famiy, friends, anyone watching your house/pets, and/or, workmates
  • Buy souvenirs
  • Keep a journal/diary/log of your experiences and impressions

To help avoid food-borne and water-borne illnesses:

  • Swim only in chlorinated pools
  • Drink only bottled water
  • Don't use ice cubes
  • Brush your teeth with bottled water
  • Avoid eating undercooked food and vegetables
  • Eat fruit only if you can peel it
  • Avoid roadside stands and street vendors


  1. On June 24th, 2009, Virginia Goetz said:

    Amasingly comprehensive. If there is anything else that a person might want to consider for travel that is not on your list, it has to be very inconsequential or frivolous.
    I’ve travelled a little already and did well in preparing and packing and actual traveling, but it is nice and reassuring to have everything that needs to be considered all in one handy list. Wonderful! Thnx.

  2. On December 14th, 2009, Family Fun Site said:

    I liked your Travel Checklist so well that I added a link to our site:

    Keep up the good work!

  3. On March 17th, 2010, Interrail checklist tips « ? ‚Ä¢ SENSE OF PEACE said:

    […] of stuff. I think it would be a nice start for my very own checklist. There’s a link to this checklist page too, that looks really cool. I’ll link this post in the stuff […]

  4. On June 21st, 2010, Jone said:

    What about a hair-straightener?

  5. On August 11th, 2010, THE TRAVELERS PHILOSOPHY said:

    I think the best way to travel is to be completely unprepared. IT is very fun for me to go to a new country and not have that much resources on me that I can use. The fun part is trying to make it out their with absolutely nothing.

  6. On January 9th, 2011, christi said:

    one thing i did see left out that is VERY important if you are traveling outside your country is you need to check on money conversions and get it converted.
    Also, traveling unprepared can be fun if you do it right and have the time. It is not advised if you have specific reasons for traveling (wedding, family visit etc.). You also definitely cannot go out of the country without a passport, so you do have to have a little preperation.

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