You don’t want to get hassled when transiting from airport to airport or while crossing borders with immigration officer looking for this and that right? So I prepared something that can save your ass of while you are traveling. This would be helpful for you to organize not only yourself but also your stuff.
You can download a checklist at the end of the article for FREE.
Other than your PASSPORT, here are the documents you should bring:
Hard Copy / Photocopy / Cards:
Photocopy Passport/Travel Document. Of course this is given, you need your passport when traveling abroad. It’s easier to replace a lost or stolen passport, vouchers, or rail pass if you have a photocopy of it. It would help you prove that you owned what you lost.
Photo copy of Visa (atleast 4pcs). In India and Indonesia, they would ask for a copy of your passport and Visa overtime you check-in at the hotel/guesthouse. Some countries also require the print screen of email exchanges from Consulates/Embassies.V
Return ticket/fly-out ticket. Most countries will look for your fly out ticket to make sure you won’t stay illegally in their country.
Photos. You love taking #selfie anyway, so bring it on!
- 2 x 2 photos (at least 4pcs). Some countries ask for 2 x 2.
- Passport size photos (at least 4pcs). Most ask for Passport size photo on white background.
- 1 x 1 (optional)
Travel Insurance. Travel Insurance is mandatory when traveling to Schengen states. You don’t want to die on the road because you can’t afford the hospital bill.
Credit Card/Debit Card (to book flights and/or accommodations). Since I told myself not to use credit card anymore. I use BPI ePrepaid card which is like a Debit card. Only Php500 to open. I also have Security Bank’s ATM card which is a Mastercard meaning I can use it to book flights/hotels online. Opening an account only takes 15minutes and you need Php5,000 maintaining balance. I really recommend these two if you love traveling.
ATM Card (that can withdraw from anywhere in the world). I have BPI international ATM card. I always go to my bank to activate it for use anywhere in the world before my trip. I also love the internet and mobile banking of BPI (Nope, BPI didn’t paid me to recommend them. But I hope someday they do.)
Tip: Yes, withdrawing money from abroad would cost you a lot of service charge but this is the safest way I can think of for robbery/thief. Speaking from experience when it was my first time to travel solo abroad I got held up in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and he got my travel money in US$.
Bank Account Statement. They asked for it when I went to India and East Timor. Apparently needed to Georgia too. They wanted to know if you can afford the whole duration of your stay in their country.
Loose international currencies. Most common would be US$, Euros. Have 5s, 10s and 20s I would also pack with me US$100-200 just for safety when ATM doesn’t work.
Tip: Whenever I travel around Southeast Asia, I bring with me different currencies. Before you go, notify your bank and credit card company of your travel, and check exchange rates. I also have a currency exchange app on my phone.
Exit cards. Take care of it as you would take care of your passport. This is usually given on international flights 2-part paper where you write your personal info, address and contact number. You give the first part to the Immigration officer at the arrival and the second part to the Immigration officer during departures.
Trip Itinerary. At least the basic in what country/city are you at this time of the year. Send a copy to you loved ones/friends too. You don’t want to be the next Taken inspiration.
Hotel guesthouse confirmation number/information.
Other IDs. Will be useful to rent car/motorbike instead of giving your passport, hand them another ID instead. (Note: I met some travelers who carry fake IDs with them- fake international driver’s license/student).
Plain white papers (A4/letter size). If you need to write a letter or something. I was asked to write a request letter when I was applying for East Timor visa.
Tourist Map. This is optional.
If you are on medication, please have something prepared even after the duration of your travel time. Have back-up. Have a note of allergies if any. Ask your doctor about this, you don’t want to be in a hospital where you don’t understand a word or two.
Extra tip: Paypal Account. Have a Paypal account, it is easy to have one. Cebu Pacific Air accepts Paypal payments and other online booking websites. Applying for Armenia eVisa also accepts Paypal transaction. And the best thing here is you don’t get charge for additional cost compared to using your credit/card.
Where to pack it:
When it comes to packing, I keep 1 of each photo in my wallet and the rest of the paperwork inside a waterproof envelop inside my backpack. I keep the cards I use most in my wallet, and my back-up debit and in my backpack. If I go on overnight bus/train I keep it all in my small bag which I can carry easily.
As for my passport, I keep it in my small purse more often than I should while backpacking because it seems whenever I need it to book something right away. If I am staying for more than 3 days in a hostel, I keep it in the room or locker provided.
Digital Files / Soft Copy:
Have these always on your laptop/phone/flash drive/email/dropbox ready to pull out anytime:
Copy of your current passport (just the first 2 pages). I would usually have my sister or mom have a copy of this too on their emails.
Tip: Memorize your Passport number by heart (if you can also memorize date of issue and expiration much better)
Copy of Old Passport. Again, just the first 2 pages.
Photos. Passport size and 2 x 2.
E-VISA. Some countries issue e-Visa (India, Armenia, Georgia, etc)
Flight tickets (and boarding passes if possible). I also save the airline, booking number and the time of arrival and departure on my phone calendar. Just so I won’t forget.
Tip: If you are traveling with others, it would be better to have their copies too (you don’t know when you would need it).
Where to store this:
- Send them to your own email account (and to your girlfriend or best friend).
- Store them on a memory stick and take that instead.
- Store them in your choice of online cloud. My girlfriend and I use DropBox.
- Store them on your portable device or laptop. I have a folder on my desktop that says [Travel Documents]
Enjoy your trip! And always be safe!
FREE “Important Travel Document Checklist PDF,” download here: Checklist-of-Travel-Documents.pdf (120 downloads)