my international travel checklist

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

No matter how detailed you are, you’re bound to forget something. With luck, it’ll be something easily replaceable, like swim trunks or a tooth brush. What you definitely do NOT want to happen, is to rush off in a flurry of excitement, and leave behind an item that could absolutely ruin the best laid plans.

Should I mention Passport?

I’m no longer a novice, and checklist packing has become routine for me, but it wasn’t always so. Every now and again, I’m reminded the hard way, that I should still use one.

Here’s what I do:

First, I go over all of my routines for the day. What is the first thing I do when I wake up, my bathroom ritual, prepping for work, decompressing once I get back home, etc.

Start a list.


work clothes


car keys

cell phone



shower items: soap, shampoo, washcloth, drying towel


razor, shaving gel, after shave

brush teeth

toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash, floss sticks

brush hair, or in my case, beard

lotion body

take vitamins/meds


make a quick tea

fruit, bagel or sandwich, whichever I have available

Return from work:


change of clothing/quick shower

grab laptop

Living room

make a couple of calls

go thru mail

fire up laptop


fix dinner (if didn’t pick up and no leftovers)

straighten up (most times)


brush teeth

floss sticks


cell phone

set alarm

change of clothing

work clothes for next day

Second, all of the things I may need for air travel, international or otherwise, whether I actually need it or not.


Global Access ID

shot records

money (cash)

credit card

boarding pass

over-the-counter meds

emergency contacts list

Last, anything required for accommodations or rentals at my destination.

printed copy of hotel, Airbnb, etc reservation (with address)

printed copy of rental car agreement

Once that’s done, I don’t look at it again, until a day prior to departing, after I’m fully packed. I line thru things that I’ve already visually checked as packed, or that which I don’t require for this particular trip.

Things like:

work clothes

drying towel

food items

alarm clock

shot records


What’s usually left, are items I’m glad I checked for. The things I may have set aside, but haven't been physically packed yet, like paperwork.

Keep in mind this isn't a clothes packing list, that is a different animal all together. I’ll be the first to admit, trying to figure out which clothes, shoes, accessories and how to fit it all into a carry-on, can be a daunting task. It requires another article to come.

Hope this helps.

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