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Most of us have our travel check lists in our heads. That can backfire when things get rushed before departure day and it’s easy to forget something. Here’s an international adventure travel checklist to post prominently in your packing place. Some of these list items are no-brainers, but some are not-so-obvious and could save your trip. We didn’t include any clothing items because they are too destination specific.

The Essentials

  1. Travel documents – Passport and visa (if required). Check passport expiration date to make sure it is valid six months after your return.
  2. Medical documents – You took the shots now pack proof of vaccination.
  3. Photocopies – All important documents i.e. passport, credit cards, plane tickets, contact lists, U.S. embassy address/phone, hotel and local guide’s contact info. Keep in both paper and digitally encrypted form.

Checklist for International Travel

Be Healthy

  1. Prescription medications stored in your carry-on.
  2. Personal medical kit contains band aids, blister remedies, antiseptic, Advil, etc.
  3. Bug spray.
  4. Sunscreen SPF of 30 minimum plus after-sun moisturizer in a small tube.
  5. Extra pairs of prescription glasses.

Money Issues

  1. Tell your credit card company where and when you are traveling. Get updates on your ATM withdrawal limits and check the foreign transaction fees to avoid surprises later.
  2. Obtain some local currency before departing in case of late arrivals so you can get a meal etc.
  3. Write down the local exchange rate and make a list of various transaction amounts in dollars vs. the country’s currency you are visiting.
  4. Carry some dollars or euros, but also have debit and ATM credit cards.
  5. Wear a money belt around your waist for security.


  1. Bring your unlocked cellphone and buy a SIM card in country to avoid huge phone bills.
  2. Spare batteries or a miniature charger such as the Mophie Juice Pack keeps you in the game when the power fails.
  3. Make a cheat sheet of the foreign language you can’t speak. Important dialogue to help you find your way, how to order food, how to find a doctor etc. Or pack a pocket language book.
  4. Guide books. We like Moon for its history, maps and language section. Be wary in China, guidebooks with Dalai Lama references and/or pics get confiscated.
  5. Music is essential on a long flight and trip. Load up your mobile devices with music and movies.


  1. Duct tape is the universal fix-all. Torn shoe, no problem. Wrap some around your water bottle or an old credit card.
  2. Quick drying mini-towels come in compact sizes and are good for after trail, after snorkeling etc.
  3. Ziploc bags for keeping your stuff dry on the trail and storing stuff anytime.
  4. Clothes pins are light and have multiple uses like keeping that window shade pinned.
  5. Swiss army knives are the best multi-taskers we know. Put it in your checked luggage and go multi-task.
  6. Portable flashlights or headlamps are essential in dark places without sidewalks and lights.

Pack and Go

While our International travel check list sounds like your bag will weigh 100 pounds, it’s not that heavy. Be a pack rat and pack smart with the confidence that you’ve checked your list and are ready for international adventure travel.

You’ve got your list, now choose your trip!