Overseas Travel Checklist – Don’t forget anything ever again

Overseas Travel Checklist

If you have just booked an overseas trip, I must admit, I am slightly jealous. There really is nothing more exciting than heading off to a new country to explore another way of life.  But before travelling overseas there are some things you need to do, so I have prepared this overseas travel checklist for you, so you can spend less time worrying about what you need to do and more time planning the fun things.

If you haven’t booked yet, you may be interested in this article on things to consider before booking an overseas trip.


Overseas Travel Checklist – Don’t forget anything ever again

Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your expected return date.

Apply for your Visa

Some countries require you to apply for a Visa before arrival. Make sure you understand the visa process and the costs involved. Australians can search for Visa requirements per country here. If a Visa is granted on arrival then no action is needed.

Arrange Travel Insurance

Overseas Travel Checklist

Travel insurance is a MUST, you never know what will happen overseas. Travel insurance can cover you from anything from a lost suitcase, theft, a car accident or medical and health issues. Make sure you read your policy so you understand what you are and aren’t covered for.

Did you know? Most insurance policies do not cover you if you are on the back of a moped that someone else is driving? This is something you will probably be doing if you are heading to any Asian country, so check your policy to ensure you are covered. I recommend World Nomads, get a quote here. 

READ – 5 reasons why you need travel insurance!

Visit a Doctor for a Health and vaccine check

If you need a vaccination for the country you are travelling to, now is the time to get it. You can search vaccination requirements on the Travel Doctor website. If still unsure, book an appointment with your local doctor for advice.

If you need regular doses of prescription medication, plan ahead and take the prescription with you as proof of medical authorisation, some countries forbid certain medications.

Car Hire and International Licenses

Overseas Travel Checklist – Don’t forget anything ever again

Booking car hire in advance can save you money. I would also suggest arranging an international license before departing. Although you’ll never be asked for one at the car hire desk, as a foreign driver you’re supposed to carry an international licence. If anything does happen, your travel insurance company may request a copy of your international license so I suggest having a valid one with you.

Plan your itinerary

Overseas Travel Checklist – Don’t forget anything ever again

Look into where you want to go and what you want to do. You don’t need to pre-book everything, but it is a good idea to book your first few nights accommodation and a transfer from the airport.  When planning your itinerary, be realistic. You may want to do and see everything but it isn’t always possible. Sometimes planning to see less will allow for a more enjoyable trip. See my favourite travel resources.

Book Accommodation

Overseas Travel Checklist

You don’t need to book every night, but it is a good idea to pre-book your first couple of nights accommodation. I use Airbnb or Booking.com to search for accommodation. For a list of the best travel planning resources, click here.

Book transport for arrival

If you would like to be prepared, you could book a transfer for your arrival. Or you could simply arrange a taxi once you land. Transfers are generally cheaper but can take longer as you may have to wait for other guests.

Create a travel budget

Many travellers skip the step of creating a travel budget, but as far as I am concerned, it is essential. A travel budget will allow you to plan your trip realistically, so you don’t run out of money or come home with debt. A travel budget will also help set your expectatiosn for the trip. For detailed information about creating a travel budget, click here.

Exchange cash for your arrival

Overseas Travel Checklist

I always like to have some local cash on me for arrival. I generally exchange $100 AUD so I can pay for any on arrival visas or taxis to my accommodation then I exchange the rest of my cash in the country I am travelling too as I find the rates are usually better there. Never exchange cash in the airport, the rates are always the worst!

Notify your bank that you will be travelling overseas

Don’t risk your bank cancelling your credit card because it notices strange transactions. There is nothing worse than being abroad with no access to cash. Simply give your bank a call and let them know when and where you are travelling.

Arrange a travel money card

Travel money cards can save you money on international transaction fees. They allow you to transfer money to the card then convert it to any currency, without fees. Talk to your bank about the card that suits your needs.  If I am going on a long trip I always arrange a travel money card. If I am going on a two-week trip, I usually carry cash.

Scan a copy of all documents

Scan all your travel documents and email them to yourself so you always have access to them, in case you lose the originals.

Know what to pack

Overseas Travel Checklist – Don’t forget anything ever again

Do some research on the country you are flying to so you are prepared for the weather trends and cultural dress code. In certain countries, you will be expected to cover up, so know this before you go so you can pack and dress appropriately. It is also a good idea to do some research on the powerpoint adapters you will need and purchase one before departing.

You may also wish to pack a Lonely Planet Travel Guide. I love reading lonely planet guides when I am in transit, they get me excited for the adventure that is about to begin.

Learn some basic phrases

If you are travelling to a country that speaks another language, I recommend learning some basic phrases before arrival. Hello, thank you, sorry, how much, can I get the bill and where is the bathroom are some good ones to know! You could purchase a phrase book, or download Duo Lingo for free.

Prepare for the flight

Overseas Travel Checklist

Let’s be honest. Everyone dreads long haul flights, but they are essential to get you to your destination. Here are 14 unique ways to keep you amused on your flight, and other tips for flying. With these tips, the flight will fly by.

Make arrangements for home

If you need to arrange a house or pet sitter, now is the time to do so. You may even wish to rent your home through Airbnb to make some extra cash while you are away. When I travelled to Sri Lanka I rented my home through Airbnb and the income covered my entire trip.

Notify friends and family of your plans

You may wish to leave a copy of your itinerary with your friends and family so they know where you will be at all times. It is also a good idea to make a plan for communication. Will you take through Facebook, Whats App? How often should they expect to hear from you?

Keeping in touch with your loved ones is one of my top tips for keeping safe while travelling.

Download a VPN

Overseas Travel Checklist

A VPN is a virtual private network, which is essential for anyone that plans to work while travelling. A VPN help protect your data by creating a private connection between your computer and any website or application. It allows you to change your IP location, encrypt your data, and access apps that are otherwise unavailable. When accessing public wifi networks, which you often do when travelling, anyone on the same network can potentially grab your unencrypted data—goodbye usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers. That is why it is so important. See a guide to using a VPN while travelling.

Download a printable checklist


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4 thoughts on “Overseas Travel Checklist – Don’t forget anything ever again

  • Sarah

    Great tips! However, I find taking money directly out of an ATM when I get to a location is much cheaper than exchanging money. You will have no problem doing this most places – there are ATMs all over airports. Of course you can always read ahead of time to make sure something like that is available!

    • atravellersfootsteps Post author

      Thank you so much for your advice, this is a great idea, especially if you have a travel money card. If I use my normal bank card I can get high international transaction fees which is why I carry cash, but it depends on the bank and country!

  • Hazel

    Excellent ideas to follow for stress free travel! It certainly pays to be organised like this to prevent any mishaps distracting from your hard earned holiday