Traveling to other countries is exciting and a lot of fun. Being prepared for your trip is a completely different matter.  Unless you are a seasoned traveler who does this all the time, you are probably going to need a checklist to make sure you have all your ducks in a row and will have everything you need when you leave home.

Documents are the number one concerns you must have in order to enter another country.  You want to roam at will and also know you will be safe before returning home. Make sure you have all the following documents:

Your Passport:

You cannot travel into another country without your passport – period! If you do not have a passport, plan on taking care of this months in advance.  You can visit your local passport office, fill out the needed forms and get your picture taken.  You might want to call ahead of time to make sure you bring any needed documentation that the passport office will require.

Your Visa:

Your visa lets the country you are visiting know what your classification is.  For instance, if you are going as a tourist, then you can only perform tourist activities.  You are not allowed to work and if you do, there are stiff penalties involved.

Your Ticket For Transportation:

You will need your tickets for immigration officials so they will be aware that you will not overstay your visa.  You should be able to get your round trip ticket whether by air, train or ship.  Carriers that travel outside your country should be able to answer any questions regarding what immigration officials will need to see.

Where You Will Be Lodging:

Unless you are visiting a friend or relative, you will need documentation showing what hotel or hotels you will be staying in.  You can request that hotels send you the information via your phone, through your email or through the mail.  If by email, you can easily print out the information.

Don’t Forget Your Travelers’ Checks or Foreign Currency:

Many seasoned travelers prefer to use Travelers’ Checks because they are a great deal more convenient than carrying around foreign currency. There will be times when you will need cash, you can go to a bank and cash in a travelers’ check or use a credit card.

Note on credit cards: There are many banks that will cut off your credit card usage when you first return home.  They believe this is for your protection.  If you only have one credit card, check with your bank and find out their policy.  If you have more than one, use only one so your other card, or cards, will still be active when you return home.

Travelers’ Insurance:

This is critical as it will protect you in so many ways.  Emergency situations, flight incidents, and protecting your personal belongings and these are just a few.  If you are from the EU or EFTA, there are insurance companies that will not insure you unless you have the European Health Insurance Card.

If you are from Europe, you can get a European Health Insurance Card from My EHIC, also known as an E111 Card.  This will cover any medical and health care expenses in the country you are visiting, as long as it accepts EHIC.  As it is accepted in both EU and EFTA countries, you will be able to obtain free medical care or offered a reduced rate for illnesses or injuries that you might sustain.  Your EHIC and travel insurance should go together.

Prescription Medications:

It is highly recommended that you bring just enough of your medications for the period of time you will be traveling.  Make sure you bring any pertinent documentation from your physician.  This should include your health condition which warrants the medications, the name of the drug, and the prescribed dosage.

Only bring absolute musts on your trip.  You do not want to be weighed down by items your really don’t need.  If you have a lucky teddy bear, let him bring you luck from home!