Planning a trip abroad requires you to considering many things, including what documents you will need when traveling. Travelling abroad requires packing all kinds of items – including certain important documents. Without some of these documents, you may not be able to travel. In other cases, they could be handy to have in case of an emergency. Here are just a few of the documents that you may need when travelling abroad, as well as information on how you can obtain them.
Having a passport is the most important document you’ll need when travelling abroad. Without a passport, you won’t be able to leave the country. You may even need it to fly domestically. Beginning in Oct 2020, passports may be required for some travelers who do not have the newest state ID that will be required for flying.
It’s worth applying for a passport several months before you plan to travel if you don’t already have one. The application process can be long and there’s always a chance your passport could get sent back if there are complications (such as an inappropriate photo or section of the DS-11 form that hasn’t been filled out property).
If you’ve already got a passport, always make sure to check the expiry date before flying abroad. Some airlines/ferries won’t allow you to travel with them if you’ve got less than six months less on your passport. Make sure to leave a few months to renew your passport in case of complications.
It is possible to fast-track the passport the application process to a couple weeks, but you’ll have to generally pay a little bit more. DS-11 forms are typically found online or at your local post office. You can find out more information on the passport application process here.
Many countries require you to apply for a visa on entry. There are usually different types of visa available depending on how long you’re travelling for and whether you plan to travel as a tourist or for work. Short-stay tourist visas tend to be cheap, whilst long-stay working visas can be expensive. It’s important that you apply for the right visa as you may be denied entry, fined or even imprisoned for using the wrong visa.
Because every country has its own visa application process, you’ll have to visit the country’s individual visa site for exact information on costs and requirements. Some countries may have stricter requirements that others and you may want to seek help from a professional company when it comes to collecting proof for your visa (some countries require information on flight booking for visa application). Short-term tourist visas can take only a couple days to get confirmed, while the application process may be longer for long-term working visas.
Most visas these days are saved electronically, however it is always worth having a paper copy of your confirmation just as a backup. If you’re working abroad, a paper copy of your working visa could be essential as some employers will refuse to hire you without proof.
Booking confirmation for aspects such as flights, hotels, transfers, car hire and excursions are worth printing off. You may not always need paper documentation, but it can be useful to have just in case of complications (a hotel might be having connection problems or an airport may be having admin issues).
Flight ticket confirmation is something you’ll generally always need evidence of. Many airlines nowadays allow digital copies of your flight – some airlines even have apps that allow you to check in early. It could still be worth printing off paper confirmation just in case your phone has a problem.
At the least create a document on your phone’s notes program with your confirmation numbers easily accessible. It is always useful to also have the address and a phone number for hotels in case there is any delay and you need to contact them.
Travel Insurance Documents
Whilst not compulsory, travel insurance can be worth taking out when going abroad. Most insurance schemes will cover you against flight cancellation and baggage loss, as well as covering medical expenses that you may need abroad. It’s worth shopping around to find the most affordable and comprehensive scheme.
Printing off a paper copy of your travel insurance policy could be important for seeking out medical attention in some countries – certain hospitals may not offer treatment unless you’re able to demonstrate proof that you can pay for it. Some insurers may even allow you to print off a translated document just in case you’re dealing with people that don’t speak English.
We have always had great experiences with World Nomads when traveling abroad. Their travel insurance options are easy to configure and understand.
Medication Prescription Information
If you’re on medication for an illness or condition, a copy of your prescription can be handy to bring. This could include painkillers for chronic conditions, insulin for diabetes or even antihistamines for allergies.
In many countries, you may not be able to seek out this medicine without information of your prescription. You can usually get such information from your doctor or pharmacist. There are sites that may allow you to get translated version of prescriptions, which could make it easier to foreign pharmacists to work out exactly what you need.
Remember to also always have photocopies of your credit cards, passport and other important documents in a separate place than you keep your originals. This will help immensely in case of emergencies or if something is stolen.
You’ll need your driving license if you plan to drive abroad. A driving license/provisional license could also be worth bringing along as a second form of ID (in some countries, hotel staff may take your passport for the duration of your stay, so you don’t want to rely on this as your only form of ID).
While most countries accept a regular driver’s license, some countries may require you to apply for an international driving license – this is worth looking into before you travel.
There are even some countries where you may need to take a test there before you can legally drive. If you’re only travelling for a short period of time, it’s not worth the hassle, but could be useful if you plan to stay longer.
Some countries require you to submit passport photos for things like obtaining local SIM chips for your phone, tickets, applications for travel documents or even to stay in certain hotels. India is notorious for requiring passport photos, so I always recommend that when traveling you carry at least a few 2×2 passport photos along with you.
If you are planning a trip, check out our guide on researching for a trip, travel checklists and more to help get you organized for your next trip abroad.
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1 thought on “7 Documents You Need When Traveling Abroad”
Great list and I second the importance of travel insurance. This year my family and I traveled overseas and I broke my foot on a hike:/ I didn’t have coverage and it was an expensive lesson learned. PS your trip research guide is excellent!