There are many tasks that you will need to preform before your travel departure date. Home owners, renters and parents traveling with kids can all understand the need for a travel checklist. We refer to a checklist before setting off on any trip, whether its a packing list or a to-do task list before departure.

Listed below is a broad version of our personal international travel checklist. These lists will cover the needs of round-trip travelers like homeowners or renters. Of course, if you travel full-time, solo or without kids, you will want to amend the list to suit your needs.

Travel Checklist

Checklist for International and Domestic Travel

2-4 months before departure

  • Get a Bank card that doesn’t charge ATM fees. Start this one early as it can be time consuming.
  • If traveling internationally, find a carrier that covers international roaming
  • Check which of your credit cards charge No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Set up electronic bill pay
  • Find a pet sitter

I also recommend taking a look at the 15 Essential Things to Do before Traveling Abroad List by the Savvy Globetrotter.

1-3 Weeks before departure

  • Hide jewelry, computers, cash and/or other valuable items
  • Arrange for a friend to move your car if your city fines for street sweeping or lack of vehicle movement.
  • If packing a laptop, move files to the desktop for access without WiFi like movies, docs, or spreadsheets
  • Arrange for a neighbor to pick-up your mail and keep an eye out for suspicious activity
  • Arrange for someone to water plants
  • Provide dates of travel to credit card companies.
  • For bills that are not paid electronically, make sure to send advance payment
  • Get enough destination currency to get you to your accommodations or a decent ATM

24-hours pre-travel checklist

  • E-Check In and/or seat upgrade
  • Bottle and freeze extra meat, fruits, and vegetables for soups, green drinks or smoothies for use upon return.
  • Bottle and freeze milk, yogurt, juice for use upon return
  • Make sandwiches and healthy snacks for travel
  • Download YouTube videos
  • Take out the recycling, compost and landfill trash
  • Move your car if your city fines for street sweeping or lack of vehicle movement.
  • If your carrier does not cover International roaming, turn off roaming
  • Test security cameras and point towards access points
  • Lock sheds, washrooms, back houses, etc.
  • Water plants
  • Lock windows

Day of Departure

  • Lock refrigerator ice/water panels
  • Turn off ice cube maker
  • Consider lowering the water heater temperature
  • Set alarms
  • Unplug certain electronics like computers and external hard drives
  • Turn off heat or air conditioning
  • Close curtains or blinds and all doors in the house

Upon Arrival

  • Get a local SIM card
  • Get local currency

Upon Return Home

  • Thaw the milk. I LOVE that I don’t have to go grocery shopping straight after returning home from vacation. If you like milk for breakfast or in coffee, it will be ready with 24-hours and wonderfully cold.

International Travel Checklist

Carry-on Necessities Travel Checklist

We tend to travel fully carry-on or at least mostly carry-on when we travel. If we remember to pack the following items on the ‘General’ list, our travel will go well, at least for the parts we can control.

Carry-on – General

  • Computer or handheld device with downloaded Videos, movies or books
  • Books or eReader
  • Refillable water bottle multiplied by number of travelers
  • Thermos – optional for bringing coffee on the plane and keep water cold in travel
  • Sandwiches and snacks
  • Headphones
  • Hard drives
  • Socks for cold feet or TSA shoe removal requests
  • Cover up, jacket and/or blanket or shawl
  • Travel pillow
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Straws, fork, spoon and cup to avoid plastic onboard.
  • Chemical-free soap and other toiletries for use during air travel
  • Reusable Bags and/or extra folding folding zip-up bag if I need to shift weight at the gates.

Carry-on Bag if traveling with a Toddler / Baby

  • Change of outfits for parents and children
  • Pacifiers (if used), lollipops or such for landing / take-off
  • A dozen small toys tied with ribbon, books, stuffed animals
  • Snacks
  • Books, games or reader
  • Bottle (if used)

Carry-on Bag if traveling with older Kids

  • Change of outfits for parents and children
  • Lollipops, xylitol gum or such for landing / take-off
  • iPad and/or computer with downloaded YouTube Videos, movies or books
  • Books, puzzle books, or eReader
  • Cards
  • Refillable water bottle multiplied by number of travelers
  • Sandwiches and snacks
  • Headphones
  • Media hard drive
  • 2-way or 3-way spliters to allow kids to watch movies at the same time
  • Socks for cold feet or TSA shoe removal requests

Items I Often Forget

  • Corkscrew or beer bottle opener
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suits
  • Hats
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Lipgloss
  • Moisturizer
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Deodorant

Now, I did not include things like phones, cameras or glasses on any of the travel checklists because obviously you wouldn’t forget those items! I probably did leave out something important beyond my usual bottle opener or toothbrush though, so if you see something missing, please let me know in the comments.

Have a wonderful journey! – xo Bar

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