Why do you need a travel checklist?

Because there is only so much information can you store in your brain at once.

That’s why.

Whether you are going on vacation or taking off on a long term worldwide travel adventure, your poor head will be whizzing with everything you need to do beforehand so what better way to combat that than to use travel check off list?


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Man overlooking a lake. the ultimate travel checklist for keeping things calm

Ultimate travel checklist for keeping things calm.



Contents show

Going On Vacation Or Backpacking The World. Your Ultimate Travel Checklist


My family and I recently returned for a year-long backpacking trip around the world so I know what you are going through. Here is a handy travel list you can check off one at a time.

So that you don’t have to have a fuzzy head as I did.

Meaning that all you have to worry about on vacation is whether or not to have a glass of red, white or rosé.



(We have tried to keep this travel checklist in some sort of order, but forgive me if I go off on a tangent. It will be because I remembered something super important to tell you!)


The Important Stuff That Needs Crossing Off The Check List First.


1. Passports

  • Ensure everyone’s passports are current and have at least 12 months left on them.



2.  Visa’s

  • Apply early (8 weeks min) for any visas that you may require.


  • If you are travelling to Vietnam know that you get part of the visa at the airport. Ignore any horror stories that people tell you about this. These, along with many other ‘well-intended international travel tips’ are almost always not true. Getting a visa for Vietnam is easy.



3.  Safety

  • Check out any potential threats or warning concerning the country that you’re travelling to.


  • You can download a specific app from your country’s government website. You will find their information thorough and up to date.



4.  Vaccinations


  • 12 weeks before travel, get all of the recommended vaccinations.


  • Make sure you ask for a vaccination passport. This is a handy booklet with a log of which vaccinations you have had; you carry it with you when abroad.


I have to tell you this: We were sold a STACK of recommended vaccinations by our clinic in New Zealand when we told them we were taking our kids’ backpacking around the world for a year.

Had we taken every one the cost would have been $$’s. As it was, we opted only to have the important ones and spent the remaining money on excellent travel insurance.

Do your homework and ask yourself if there is a chance you will get bitten by a wild dog in the middle of Italy.

If the answer is maybe, then get the jabs.


Woman having travel vaccinations. Travel checklist. 30 things you must remember to do

I’m not sure why I am showing you this picture! Just to prove that I did actually pay money for vaccinations!



5.  Travel Insurance


We (well, my husband) scanned the entire internet looking for the best travel insurance and I can safely say (without a doubt) that the best out there is World Nomads.

You won’t find better.

If you do decide to ignore my advice and go with someone else, please make sure that you are covered for dental (I needed a root filling in Thailand) and that your policy covers the excess if you hire a car or a motorbike.

This saved us a fortune in Europe – especially in Ireland, where the waivers would have cost us $$$s.


Would you love to travel more often but could use some tips on how to do it for a lot less?

Then join me & I’ll show you how!




6.  International Driving Licence


We hired a car in Italy for three months and drove it around the whole of Europe. It was amazing. Make sure you apply for your international driving license. 

If you are visiting Thailand and plan to hire a bike (make sure you do, it is so much fun!), either take your bike license before you leave or else risk a $60 fine.

We did the latter and were stopped by the police. It isn’t so bad, they give you the fine but also write out a waiver for the next 21 days. Crazy but true.



Thailand police giving travellers a ticket. Travel checklist number 17. Get your international driving license.

Everyone likes a crime scene shot. Make sure that you apply for your international driving license (bike if you are hiring a bike!) before you leave.



Money Travel Checklist


Currency notes and passports. The ultimate travel checklist

Make sure you have at least $100 worth of local currency – in case of emergencies!



7.  Currency. How to Save a FORTUNE whenever you spend


Using a Wise card to spend money while travelling


While we’re on the subject of money, let’s talk about a HUGE mistake people make when they travel.

It used to be (back in the olden days, that we travellers would buy something called traveller’s cheques whenever we went overseas (remember those? Please say you do).

As the years passed and the introduction of easy-to-get credit cards became more widely available, to make things easier, we would use our credit cards as a way to spend money overseas.

Big Mistake.

For those of you who were like us and did this (and are perhaps still doing this), you will know what I mean when I remind you of that pit of stomach dread when you arrive home to the previous month’s credit card statement.


Inflated commission rates, extra fees, hidden costs…it was a horrible way to spend money abroad.

That all ended when we discovered the WISE card.


Wise card for travllers

The Wise Card is all you need whenever you travel to Ireland


What is Wise?

Wise is an international account for over 50 currencies.

It offers instant, super-cheap money transfer, a card to spend in any currency, bank details to get paid in 30 different countries, multi-currency direct debits, and other revolutionary stuff.

Wise is, on average, 7x cheaper than old-school banks when you send, spend, or withdraw money around the world.


Why do we love using Wise when we travel?


  • Debit card – with the Wise Visa card, you can spend in over 200 countries without hidden fees. Add it to your Apple or Google wallets for convenient use.


  • Balances – you can hold and convert money between the 50+ currencies in your Wise wallet. Wise ALWAYS use the real exchange rate to convert your money which makes their service up to 7 times cheaper than traditional banks.


  • Money transfers – send money to over 60 countries at the real exchange rate and low, transparent fees


  • Jars – Money in a jar is kept separately from your balances if you are saving it for something later. You can’t accidentally spend it with your debit card, and you can’t send it or use it to pay Direct Debits. You can open as many jars as you need to organise your money.


Using the Wise card to save money while travelling worldwide


Can the Wise account be used for worldwide travel?


Wise is perfect for anyone living an international life. This includes expats, travellers, freelancers, international students, businesses, and digital nomads.

I can’t speak highly enough about Wise. Check out more about Wise here and start saving money when you travel.

No more knotty credit card bill stomachs!


Would you love to travel more often but could use some tips on how to do it for a lot less?

Then join me & I’ll show you how!





8.  Download These Apps To Make Travel Easier!


  • If you are like us and are always watching your budget (or if you want to keep the kids entertained with a task), get the free Travel Wallet app to keep track of what you are spending.


  • Download your favourite music from Spotify so that you don’t pay data charges to listen to music.


  • You will love the free rome2rio app if you are touring around. Rome2rio gives you every transport option, including the cheapest way to reach your destination.


  • Get a taxi app for your phone! Uber, Pick me and Grab all work really well in Asia, the US and the UK, or if you are travelling in Italy, use It Taxi.


  • Remember, if you need to work remotely (and on any device), you can do so by using tools such as Azure Windows Virtual Desktop and Citrix Virtual desktop. These are the perfect solution for those needing to work anywhere on the road!




Essential Travel Accessories For Your Checklist



People on a plane. Travel checklist. 30 tips to make every vacation or longterm travel adventure, stress free

Just a few well thought of travel essentials can make your trip so much better.



10.  Bags And Shoes


Buy the best travel purse/ flight bag/carry-on bag – whatever you want to call it, that you can afford. You DO NOT want to compromise on this bag; you will take it everywhere with you and it will get a lot of use. 

Don’t pack any more than 2 pairs of shoes. Hard I know, but you will thank me for this tip.

Take one comfortable pair of shoes for walking and for flying. You will be walking alot, especially if you are planning to visit cities where you will be doing lots of sightseeing – in Pompeii or Athens for example.

I bought a pair of Tiosebon shoes and I never had them off (as my kids liked to point out many times) they are good looking, incredibly comfortable and lightweight. You’ll love them.

Along with your travel shoes, take a comfortable pair of sandals that can be dressed up. Remember, you can buy lots of pairs of flipflops for next to nothing if you are travelling to any of the Asian countries.



11.  Travel Clothes


Only fly in comfortable pants. You don’t want to spend twelve hours on a plane squirming in your seat for the sake of looking swish.

If you are going to a beach destination then pack a sarong if nothing else. You will use it on the beach and on the overnight train to block out the light. (See the tip about the electrical tape!)

Unless you are going to somewhere really cold and wet (and it’s wintertime), don’t bother with a coat, instead, pack a good quality rain poncho. These are much more versatile, easier to stuff into your bag and to be honest, are more stylish, and let’s face it – style is everything.

If you are taking a trip to Italy then check out my what to wear in Italy post. You will look and feel every bit Italian. If you are taking a trip to NYC in the winter then check out my what to wear for New York City.


Would you love to travel more often but could use some tips on how to do it for a lot less?

Then join me & I’ll show you how!





For Pinterest!⇓




12.  Keeping You Healthy!


Do not compromise on an excellent travel toothbrush.

Contrary to popular belief you can take your electric (or battery) operated brush on the plane with you. 

If you are unsure, check with your airline but we flew all over the world with ours and we never had any problems.

Buy your sunscreen before you go. Be warned! Sunscreen is extortionate in Asia, Europe (and New Zealand isn’t cheap either).

I only ever recommend the SunBum sunscreen because it is lightweight, great value, it smells nice and I have never burned!

Bug spray. See above and apply the same advice.

Insect repellant is so expensive in Europe and if you plan on travelling to Asia you will be lucky if you can find some. In fact, if you complain of being bitten you will be told to light another joss stick.

When it comes to bug spray, we only ever use this stuff. It is the strongest and lasts for up to 8 hours. When we were in Paris we went through loads of this stuff – be prepared! Paris has some nasty bugs!

If you are unlucky enough to get sunburned then use my cheap apple cider vinegar for sunburn hack. 



Technology Travel Checklist


Boy with a drone watching the sunset. Travel checklist for things that you may need for your vacation

Consider traveling with a drone if your destination is unique and offers you endless footage opportunities.


Would you love to travel more often but could use some tips on how to do it for a lot less?

Then join me & I’ll show you how!




13.  Tech stuff 


If you are travelling to a unique destination that you know will supply you with amazing photo opportunities, consider traveling with a drone. The footage you will capture is breathtaking.

Don’t listen to all of the naysayers who tell you they are illegal. Just do your research. Pick a drone that is suitable for travel, and you will be glad you made the effort.

If you are going to use mobile data and wish to keep your own cell phone number for business etc (remember that when you use a foreign SIM it changes your number!) it may pay to get a  personal hotspot device and load up a SIM card from your provider (eg, AT&T and Tmobile).

This way your whole group will have the use of mobile data using the wifi from the hotspot device.



Get a decent travel plug adapter. I can’t stress enough how much you are going to need one.

The best one on the market (and the one that my husband cherishes with all of his heart) is the BESTEK Travel adapter. It comes with adapters to suit most countries around the world and has 4 built-in USB chargers.

If you are travelling with kids you will know what I mean when I tell you how convenient this is!


  • Get the Google translate app for your phone. Download the language of your chosen country before you leave so that you don’t use valuable data when you are away.


  • Get some travel headphones. Our family all have Beats wired headphones I can guarantee they are super comfortable, block out noise and for the price, are perfect for travel.


  • We have always prefered these wired headphones as we found you don’t have to worry about charging them – especially useful if you have a long flight.


  • Get some plane adapters for your headphones. Some older style planes have the outdated 2 pin jack meaning that to watch the TV you have to use the planes horrid headphones instead of your own.



Things You’d Never Think Of (But Which You Will Thank Me For Including)


view from the window of a plane. Travel check off list



14.  Pack some tea bags

I mean it! There is nothing better than turning up at your destination and knowing that you can have a decent cup of tea while you unpack. What can I say? I’m a Brit.


15.  Multitool

My husband insisted I tell you about this travel tip. You won’t go wrong if you pack this handy multi-tool for emergencies – and let’s face it, there always seems to be one! (Remember though, pack this in your luggage and not your carry on flight bag).


16.  Tape


Take a roll of electrical tape. You may think this is an odd accessory but honestly, we used this tape a LOT.

Taping my sarong to the ceiling of the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in order to block out the light; taping the lids of leaky shampoo bottles down; keeping flapping curtains together. Taping the kid’s mouths together (no, that was a joke). Seriously, you’ll use this tape at least once, I promise.


17. Straps

Pack a  couple of buckle straps in case your luggage breaks. Also handy for strapping extra pairs of shoes (or travel books etc) to the outside of your case when you need extra space.

In my opinion, this one is the best on the market.


18.  Travel Pillow

Invest in a good travel pillow, or else take one of the brilliant Sleep Keepers (which means you have your own lovely pillow with you at all times!) 



19. Bungee Cords

Bungee cords for broken bags or a temporary washing line; again, wouldn’t travel without them.


Would you love to travel more often but could use some tips on how to do it for a lot less?

Then join me & I’ll show you how!





For Pinterest ⇓

International travel checklist. 35 Awesome tips to remember before traveling



Travel Check-Off List For When You Leave The House!



20.  Be Extra Sure!

To do this, Read my getting ready for vacation checklist.  (Sorry, shameless plug!)


21. Turn off Water

Turn the water off so if you get a flood there will be minimal damage.


22.  Unplugs

Turn all plugs off, believe it or not, most devices use electricity even when they are in stand by mode.


23.  Set Your Heating

If you are taking a winter break then turn your heating down to the frost protection setting (don’t turn it off completely – you may come back to frozen pipes and a flooded house).


24.  Mail

Arrange for your mail to be collected or, if travelling for longer than a month, get it diverted to a friends address.


Related Posts That You Will Enjoy!

Ireland travel tips. How to avoid looking like a f*ckin eejit

Christmas in NYC – see it like the movie stars

Having the STD talk with your teenage daughter. How NOT to do it.

Arrive feeling beautiful. 10 Plane essentials that you will never leave behind again.

Airport hacks that travellers don’t like to share

5 Awesome European cities for kids that your family will never forget!


Things To Be Booked In Advance


25.  Transport

Book any public transport that you plan to use in Asia well in advance. Overnight trains and sleeper buses fill up quickly, especially in India.

When booking transport in Asia we only ever use 12GoAsia they are the easiest to use and have the best customer support.


26.  Tours

Book your tours ahead. We were devasted when we turned up to see Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, only to find that we needed to book at least two weeks in advance.


27. Kennels/Cattery

Book the kennel for the dog or cattery for the cat well in advance.



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Infographic of travel checklist.Ultimate International Travel Checklist. 40 Things To Remember!



And Finally…Now That Your Travel Check Off List Is Empty…


Be prepared that coming home is hard. Especially if you have had the time of your life which I’m hoping you do!


Whatever your travel plans involve – going on vacation or backpacking the world I hope you have enjoyed this ultimate travel checklist. 

If there is anything, you would like me to add, please comment below and remember, no matter how organised we believe ourselves to be, a good travel check off list can make or break your trip! 

 Please share this with anyone you think needs to keep calm and carry on travelling!


Would you love to travel more often but could use some tips on how to do it for a lot less?

Then join me & I’ll show you how!





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