Think you’re all packed and ready to leave for your international trip? You should probably cross-check using this list of international travel must-haves.
Whether you’re a first-time, occasional, or even seasoned international traveler, it’s quite possible to forget a few essentials. And no, I’m not talking about your toothbrush. We all forget that, and we survive.
As a solo travel junkie, I know I’m never ready for an international trip if I don’t have these 8 items:
The International Travel Checklist: 8 Things You Must Never Forget To Pack
Cash & Credit Cards
The amount of cash you should travel with largely depends on your destination and travel plans, but it’s always a safe bet to have some hard currency with you just in case. If you’re going to a card-friendly country, then $300 to $500 for emergency use should be fine.
The best types of credit cards for international travel are those whose banks don’t charge foreign transaction fees. These fees will pile up as you keep spending, and this can cause a significant increase in your budget.
Electrical outlets come in different shapes and sizes in different parts of the world. You would be doing yourself a huge favor by packing a universal adapter.
Electricity can be unstable in some countries, so it makes sense to carry an adapter that also acts a surge protector. This will protect your devices if there’s any electrical surge.
Apart from your prescribed medications, you should have a small supply of basic medications. The quality of drugs sold abroad can’t be guaranteed, and it might be difficult to even find certain drugs in some countries. A few OTC medicines you might want to take with you include:
- Cough drops or suppressants
- A mild sedative
- Pepto-Bismol or Immodium (for diarrhea)
- Ibuprofen or aspirin (for pain and fever)
- Motion sickness medicine (if you’re the type that gets motion sick)
Don’t forget to pack antihistamines (allergy drugs) if you have any allergies. You should also go with gauze, tissues, and a couple of band-aids for basic first aid.
Copies of All Important Documents
While it’s a given to travel with your important documents—passport, driver’s license, and visa—you should also have two copies of each document. I find it’s safer to keep one copy of each in my carry-on bag and the other in my luggage. Because I always plan for the worst-case scenario, I also take photos of the documents to keep digital copies on my phone.
Imagine being unable to take lovely pictures of the Louvre Museum as souvenirs because your phone’s battery is down. Generally, there are a few things worse than ending up with a dead phone in a strange location. To avoid being in such a situation, take a reliable and durable portable charger along, preferably one that fits comfortably in your pocket.
Reusable Water Bottle
Carry a reusable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated throughout the trip. A reusable bottle will also help you save money as you won’t have to keep buying water. Access to clean, drinkable water might depend on your destination, but there’s usually a workaround in case there’s any issue.
For instance, there are ways to get drinkable water when trekking in Nepal, even though the country’s tap water and river water are generally unsafe to drink. In my case, I visit a teahouse to ask for a refill on my bottle and then filter the water. Another option is a local well in the villages. Be wary of drinking from the taps in hotels when you travel abroad. The water could have been stagnant for weeks or contaminated by the plumbing.
Earplugs or Noise Canceling Headphones
International travel can be a noisy endeavor. You’ll have to deal with traffic noises and loud conversations, especially if you’ll be traveling between cities using trains or buses.
If you’re not the type to appreciate that type of ambience, a pair of earplugs or noise-canceling headphones will come in really handy. You could use your headphones to engage yourself with music or a good movie during your travels.
You want to take a dry towel along, especially if you’re visiting a sunny country. I always have a quick dry towel made of micro-fiber on my person when I’m visiting a hot climate.