Before You Go Abroad – Essential Preparation Checklist

Checklist Travel

Embarking on an international journey is an exciting prospect, but navigating the requirements and ensuring a smooth departure and entry process can be daunting for first-time travelers. This comprehensive checklist is designed to guide you through the essential preparations before your trip, covering everything from passport and visas to health considerations and travel essentials.

1. Passport

– Ensure your passport is current, valid for ten years, and has at least six months’ validity beyond your return date.
– Expedite processing is available for an additional fee, providing quicker results.
– First-time applicants need to visit a passport office with proof of citizenship, proof of identity, and two 2×2-inch photos.

2. Visa

– Determine if your destination requires a visa for entry.
– Contact the country’s embassy, consulate, or your travel provider to inquire about visa requirements.
– Stay updated on visa requirements, as they can change with political events.

3. Vaccines or Immunizations

– Check with the State Department or the Centers for Disease Control for vaccination requirements.
– Contact your local health department for additional information on health recommendations for your destination.

4. International Driver’s License

– Confirm if an international driver’s license is required for legal driving and car rental.
– The American Automobile Association (AAA) can issue this license with a simple application form and immediate issuance.

5. Automobile Insurance

– Inquire with your insurance representative about coverage for driving in a foreign country.
– Check with your credit card company, as some offer travel insurance for overseas trips.
– Bring a copy of your automobile insurance information.

6. Foreign Currency

– Purchase foreign currency through currency services or offices before your trip.
– Use your ATM to withdraw money in the foreign country for a potentially better exchange rate.
– Confirm the withdrawal procedure with your bank ahead of time.

7. Telephone Codes

– Contact your calling card company to obtain access numbers for the countries you’ll be visiting.
– Inform them of your overseas travel to prevent potential issues, such as holds due to suspected theft or loss.


Preparation is the key to a successful international journey, and this checklist serves as a comprehensive guide to ensure you have everything in order before departure. By addressing passport and visa requirements, health considerations, driving documentation, and financial needs, you can embark on your trip with confidence, ready to explore and enjoy new destinations.

Safe travels!

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